IU Health Arnett Hospital

Nurse United Husband and Wife One Last Time

Patient Story

When the weather prevented her patient from seeing his wife for what may have been a final time, a nurse at IU Health Arnett Hospital went above and beyond to help them make a connection.

She arrived for her 6 p.m.-6:30 a.m. shift during one of the coldest nights of the year. The weather would get worse as the night went on but Rachel Creighton had no idea how that weather would affect her work in the progressive care unit at IU Health Arnett Hospital.

“He said he was going to die that night,” said Creighton. She was checking on one of her patients, a man in his 70s who had originally come to the hospital after a fall in his home. He had been on her unit for about three days and had seen his wife a couple of times.

“It was nasty out. When I drove to work it took me about an extra half hour. The snow was coming down hard,” said Creighton, who has been a nurse for IU Health for three years. “I looked at him and started asking him questions and if there was anything I could do for him,” said Creighton of her patient. “He said he wanted to see his wife’s face one last time.” By now, the snowstorm had closed I-65 and the patient lived in Monticello – about 40 minutes north.

Creighton’s brain began to work in overdrive. She lost her father Weldon Hudson about a year and half ago and she knew the depth of her patient’s final wishes.

“There was almost no way to get his wife here safely so at that point we decided we could use our phones – if we could get to his wife, they could FaceTime,” said Creighton. She called her sister-in-law, Angelique Creighton a nurse at IU Health White County Hospital and her brother-in-law Matt Creighton. They live close enough to the patient’s home that they were able to connect the patient’s wife to her husband by phone.

“They talked for about an hour. I peeked in a couple of times to check on him. I wanted to give them their privacy,” said Creighton, 37. “His wife assured him – ‘if it’s your time to go see God tonight then I will take care of the family.’” The patient passed just a few days later.

The patient’s wife told hospital administrators that Creighton’s kindness meant the world to her and that there was no way she could ever repay her. Creighton was recently presented with a Daisy Award - an international program that rewards and celebrates the skillful compassionate care nurses provide every day.

“I just can’t say enough about Rachel. She is the definition of patient-focused and a team player. She always has the very best attitude and her work ethic is unparalleled,” said her supervisor Brandon Carwile. “She approaches her patients with the fullest heart, genuinely just wanting to give the very best of herself to make these patients feel better. Not only is she a fantastic team player who is always eager to help, she is also the type of nurse you would definitely want your family to receive care from.”

People who know Creighton say the act of kindness is not unusual. She once brought a distraught patient a gift, and flowers on her birthday to help cheer her up. It’s something she said she learned from her mother, Connie Hudson, also a nurse at IU Health Arnett.

“I never thought she would be a nurse. She likes sports and excels in gymnastics. The reason she has become a compassionate caregiver is because I told her to open her mind and learn from older nurses and be a sponge and soak up all their knowledge. Don't be afraid to ask questions,” said Connie Hudson. “I think some of her compassion comes from having very loving grandparents and she saw them give of there time but always gave with love also losing my husband and her dad 18 months ago puts your life in a different light. I am very proud and honored to call her my daughter.”

After graduating from Twin Lakes High School in Monticello, IN. Creighton went to UINDY where she joined the dive team and studied athletic training and sports administration. She got a coaching endorsement and has spent years coaching gymnastics. She later attended massage school and also worked for more than 10 years in the business office at IU Health White Memorial Hospital. She is married to Andy Creighton. Together they have four children.

“Nursing was something I always wanted to do, but after I got married and started a family, I put it on the back burner,” said Creighton. “I have a close family and I’ve spent a lot of time with my mom and two aunts who all went to nursing school together. Seeing how hard they worked to get that education made me appreciate what it takes to be a nurse,” said Creighton. “I still remember when my mom did homecare and when the patients didn’t have many family members she went out of her way to help them smile, to bring hope. She’s always done a little extra for her patients – like providing ice cream and cake for a couple’s anniversary. Her acts of kindness have pushed me to be my best.”

-- By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.

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