October 24, 2019

'The heartbeat of the hospital': Behind the viral photo of a nurse recovering from a hard day

Daily Briefing

    When Laura McIntyre posted a Facebook tribute earlier this month to her twin sister, Caty Nixon, a labor and delivery nurse, McIntyre didn't expect the post to go viral—but the tribute has racked up over 219,000 likes and 129,000 shares.

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    'Thanks for all that you do'

    The photo, which McIntyre took in July and posted on Oct. 10, shows Nixon crying on a chair in McIntyre's house while wearing her blue scrubs after delivering a stillborn baby.

    "She's gonna kill me for this pic, but can we just give it up for nurses for a minute?" McIntyre wrote in the post. "Caty just wrapped up her fourth shift in a row. That's around 53+ hours in four days. That's not including the 1.5 hours she's in the car each day. She usually doesn't get a chance to eat lunch or even drink much water. (& she has to dress like a blueberry.. I mean, come on). She is so good at what she does that she often forgets how to take care of herself while she's taking care of her patients."

    McIntyre closed the post by saying, "Caty (& all other nurses)—you are SPECIAL. You bless your patients and their families more than you will ever know. Thank you for all that you do."

    In response to the post, Nixon told ABC's "Good Morning America" that she doesn't like "being in the spotlight" but added that she was moved by the tribute. Nixon said, "I love that Laura wrote a tribute to not only me—but to all nurses—for our passion and dedication, even through the roughest days."

    Nixon said her job is full of highs and lows. "The best part of nursing is making connections with people, being the calm in the storm, being their cheerleader when they need encouragement, and being the shoulder to cry on when they are hurting," she said. "The worst, though, is knowing that even when you've done everything you can for someone, we're not able to change the outcome (for fetal loss, poor prognosis, etc.); always feeling like you have to be strong for your patient—when on the inside, you are falling apart."

    McIntyre said nurses deserve every bit of recognition they can get. "They are the heartbeat of the hospital, and they are truly angels on earth," she said (Hein, Fox News, 10/16; Brown, Good Morning America, ABC, 10/15).

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