You may think of a friendly face in an unpleasant place when you think of a nurse. They are the warmth and soul of doctor’s offices and hospitals, and the difference between life and death at times. But what happens if patients are unable to reach the hospital? What to do when the weather brings any conventional visits or care a screeching halt? Nancy Miller knows, because Nancy Miller takes care of business, no matter what the weather’s like. Miller, a hospice nurse in Michigan, has gotten a lot of attention for her recent heroic efforts to bring comfort to a suffering patient.
The issue was that the roads were in no state to be driven. A blizzard was going on, and most people were staying inside, keeping warm and waiting for the conditions to improve.
“It’s the third time that they have closed the actual health department due to weather in 23 years,” Miller told WNEM.
“Something I think we have here at hospices is a can-do attitude,” she continued. “If somebody has a need we don’t say ‘no’, we say ‘how we can do that?’”
“We got a call from a hospice patient who really needed to have a nurse visit, and the nurse that took the call, that was working, lives in Brimley, about 20 miles away. So, she called me. She knew I lived fairly close to this patient and asked if I could go over. I said sure, I can do that, and I went outside and realized we had a lot of snow.”
“It was still snowing, it was still windy. It took a good 15 minutes. They needed a nurse there, I left there feeling good that I was able to help them. I think they felt much reassured that I was there.”
Miller doesn’t think her behavior is all that unusual, though, claiming that if she hadn’t gone, someone else could and would have quickly filled her shoes.
“I’m sure that if I couldn’t have done it, our director would have found someone to get a snowmobile out here to get to the patient’s house. This is bittersweet. I love having the attention for hospice and the Chippewa County Health Department, but the patient is the most important person here, I shouldn’t be getting all the attention.”
Despite her efforts, the focus has definitely been on her and her snow-shoeing mission to bring comfort, even in the middle of a blizzard. According to WNEM, she even has a new nickname: Angel in Snowshoes.
“What happens on Blizzardy Days, the town is shut down, and a patient needs help with care??” the Hospice of the E.U.P. posted on Feb. 25. “Have no fear, Nancy Miller is here…..on her snow shoes!”
“The world is a better place because of people like you. ??Bishop Baraga smiled down on you today. ?”