In the Hands of an Angel

Extraordinary Healer®, Extraordinary Healers Vol. 12, Volume 12, Issue 1


From left: Jitsuda Sitthi-Amorn, M.D., and Lauren H. McMurry, B.S.N., RN PHOTOS BY ST. JUDE CHILDREN'S RESEARCH HOSPITAL / PETER BARTA

Most of the world slows down at night. Banks are closed. Stores are closed. Families share dinner. Children are tucked in. It is time to rest.

Unfortunately, life does not work that way for children with cancer. It does not work that way when they have to spend their nights in hospital beds, getting intensive chemotherapy and suffering from notorious side effects — fever, pain, vomiting. Parents are also worried and tired. It is not an easy task to watch your child suffer.

Lauren McMurry is my co-worker. When I first met her, she was a night nurse in the bone marrow transplant unit at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I was a pediatric oncology hospitalist, fresh out of fellowship. After working with Lauren for a month, I knew I had met a true angel.

Lauren is talented. Her clinical assessments are always spot on. She usually gets assigned one of the sickest patients on the floor — we all know that she can handle them. I am always comfortable that my patients are in good hands whenever I see her. She is also a very good resource for her fellow nurses, especially those at the beginning of their careers. Lauren knows what to do and how to do it well. She is always willing to help out during busy times.

Lauren is caring. Not only she does she make sure her patients get the right treatment, but she always makes sure they are comfortable. Sometimes, small details matter — for example, timing of antiemetics before medicine is due and timing of pain medications before activities. Lauren always gets these small details right. It feels like she is taking care of the children as if they were her own.

Her talent and devotion do not go unnoticed. She is well loved among her co-workers and patients. When I see that Lauren is on, I am happy. I know that, although my patients are sick and suffering, they are in the best hands. They have a true angel on their side. I know that the parents feel the same way, too. I would like to nominate Lauren McMurry for the Extraordinary Healer® Award because she is a true angel.