Finding joy in a time of sadness

Nursing Staff Coordinate Wedding at SMCA

Annie Steinhauser, BSN, RN, IMC RN

Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin nurses united together earlier this year to help one family create lasting memories and turn a time of deep sadness into one covered with joy and togetherness.

The story began with House Supervisor, Laura LeBlanc, BSN, RN, CCRN-CSC, helping direct a Critical Response Team for a patient who presented with extreme shortness of breath and decline. Laura was able to ease the patient’s symptoms and arranged a transfer to the 4 South intensive care unit, where she continued to visit and support the patient and family throughout their stay.

Annie Steinhauser, BSN, RN, was assigned to care for this patient during her final days. When the patient’s son and fiancé informed Annie that they planned to hold an impromptu wedding with 20 guests at his mother’s bedside, Annie sprang into action. With just two-hours notice, Annie helped coordinate a beautiful wedding, complete with decorations for the room.

The nurses and staff watched through the window as the couple exchanged vows in front of family, friends and God. The wedding was officiated by SMCA Chaplain, Rabbi Anna Gray Beroll, who brought the couple a small memento to keep of their wedding day.

As the family left the room following the ceremony, a small reception was waiting for them that Annie had coordinated with Ian Johnston and the rest of the dietary team. Annie was in charge the next day and continued to round on the patient, family and friends to assure they had everything that they needed.  A bereavement cart that provided snacks and drinks for the many visitors was also provided.

During the next few days, Whitney Winters, BSN, RN, supported the family by providing assistance in getting the patient’s affairs in order and also help make funeral arrangements. She provided compassionate support for the patient and family as they said their final goodbyes.  The patient passed away a few days later after the wedding.

United to Serve

The SMCA clinical team demonstrated once again that they provide the very best in delivering quality nursing care and relationship based care, always considering the dignity and respect for each patient.

So many team members on the 4 South team went above and beyond to care for this dying patient, including Kathryn Criner, BSN, RN; Terri Marks, BSN, RN; Lorena Buehler, RN; Daniela Gonzalez, RN; Lane Lachelin, CA.

The patient’s 7th floor nurses were Stephanie Tapley, BSN, RN; Mindy Haynes, RN; Veronica Reed, BSN, RN; Victoria Villarreal, BSN, RN; Alexandra Chaheine, CA;  Sarah Graff, BSN, RN; Ernestine Lee, RN; and Radiology Tech, Tracy Smith and Adrian Alonzo, RRT.