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‘Not in the manual': Local nurse goes above and beyond for local family through heartbeat printout

As the Senecal family sat in the hospital, their loved one in hospice care, a simple act by a caring nurse would become a treasured memento and a forever bond.
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Posted at 5:08 PM, May 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-13 08:37:01-04

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As the Senecal family sat in the hospital, their loved one in hospice care, a simple act by a caring nurse would become a treasured memento and a forever bond.

In March, Mary Sibley was admitted to Swedish Medical Center after her cancer had returned and spread. Mary's husband and daughter were there with her through it all.

“We literally slept there for 17 days and nights,” daughter Julia said.

One of the nurse coordinators on that hospital floor was Claire Schneider.

“I was just her nurse. I just cared very deeply about them. She was a wonderful, wonderful woman,” Claire said.

Early on, the family and nurse developed a close connection, as Claire involved both Julia and Mary’s husband Tom in her care and decision making. She checked in on the family, delivered "comfort trays" to them, and more.

“She wanted to make sure that we were taken care of, and that things would go as easy as possible for us,” Tom said.

“She expanded the comfort care beyond just mom and to our whole family,” Julia explained.

Local nurse goes above and beyond for local family through heartbeat printout

Claire bought flowers for Mary the day she entered Hospice care.

“I don't think that comes with, you know, the nursing manual,” Tom said. “I don't think they learned that. I think that's just Claire.”

But this nurse’s ultimate act of kindness and compassion came in Mary’s final days.

“I knew we had a copy of her heartbeat. So I cut out the strip, and I folded it up and put it into a lab tube,” Claire said.

It was a small piece of paper with two EKG lines printed on it.

“This was her heartbeat when she was first admitted,” Julia said. “’I’ve never actually opened it (until now). So it's yeah. It's pretty wild to see mom immortalized like this.”

“To have the presence of mind to do that,” Tom said, wiping away tears. “That just meant the world to me.”

Mary passed away on April 13.

Shortly after, the Senecals nominated Claire for a national nursing award - the Daisy Award.

“For just nurses who go above and beyond in showing their care and compassion for their patients,” Julia explained.

“It’s been a dream of mine for a long time. I think it's a dream of every nurse, is to win the Daisy Award for sure,” Claire said.

Tom was there at Swedish as Claire was surprised as the winner of that award.

“I really think I was put on this earth to be a nurse. And I think a lot of people don't get to feel their purpose. And I feel like this kind of validates my purpose a little bit” Claire said.

Her purpose in kindness and compassion, showcased through a printout on a little strip of paper.

“That'll stay with us forever,” Tom said.

Swedish Medical Center reached out to Denver7 with this story as a way to showcase the actions of nurses during National Nurses Week, which is May 6 through 12.


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