Honoring UF Health Shands Nurses On National Nurses Week

Published: May 1st, 2014

Category: Patient Stories

Patients and staff celebrate National Nurses Week, from May 6-12.

Nurses hold a special place in the hearts of their patients. Throughout a hospital stay, a patient sees his or her nurse more than any other staff member — and often develops a unique bond with them.

Nurses Week

Lexi Henderson (left), the first patient in Florida to receive the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart and the accompanying Freedom Portable Driver, with Lindsay Rollison, ASN, RN (right).

For 17-year-old Lexi Henderson, her nine-month stay at UF Health Shands Hospital helped forge one such bond with nurse Lindsay Rollison, ASN, RN. Lindsay became like a second mother to Lexi, providing her with comfort and friendship at times when Lexi’s family could not be by her side.

In many ways, Lexi is just like any other 17-year-old girl. She loves getting manicures and spending “girl days” with her mother. However, what sets Lindsay apart is a critical health condition: an artificial heart is keeping her alive while she waits for her second heart transplant. To give Lexi a sense of normalcy, Lindsay — after many attempts — obtained clearance to take Lexi out of the unit for a “day pass” to get her nails done.

“It was a big surprise, and I was very excited,” Lexi recalled. “It made me feel special and loved.”

In April, Lexi was discharged to transplant housing, becoming the youngest person in the world to leave and spend the night outside of a hospital with a temporary artificial heart and portable driver. While she awaits her transplant, Lexi returns to UF Health Shands Hospital to receive treatment and to visit Lindsay and the rest of the nurses who cared for her.

Like Lindsay, these nurses tirelessly work to not only care for their patients, but to make sure they feel comfortable and secure throughout their treatment and extending a sense of normalcy during a time of crisis.  It is this devotion to care, safety and efficiency that makes a world of difference to our patients – and prompts them to cherish these special caregivers.

Nurses Week

Lexi Henderson returns to UF Health Shands Hospital to visit Lindsay Rollison, ASN, RN.

National Nurses Week provides UF Health patients and families the opportunity to make a gift in honor of a special caregiver in their lives. For many, it is the perfect way to say thank you to nurses who truly go above and beyond. These gracious donations encourage our nurses to continue their wonderful work, and provide much needed support to advance the discoveries of medicine at UF Health.

In honor of Nurses Week, from May 6-12, we ask that you reflect on how you can honor a nurse who has changed your hospital experience. Any gift – no matter the size – will greatly impact future patients and the care they receive. With your gift, consider leaving a note of thanks to let our UF Health nurses know just how much they are appreciated this Nurses Week.

Together we can honor the nurses of today and improve the health care of tomorrow.