Thrive by IU Health

June 29, 2021

Nurse known for her calming effect on transplant patients

IU Health University Hospital

Nurse known for her calming effect on transplant patients

After 40 years working with transplant patients, Susan Young is known for soothing words and middle-of-the night visits.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealth.org

She once earned the nickname “Kitty” and she is known for her famous lime pickles. After 40 years of nursing, Susan Young loves her patients and her patients love her.

She graduated from nurses training at IUPUI at a time when she earned tuition remission with the promise to remain at IU Health for one year.

“That was June 1, 1981 and 40 years later, here I am,” said Young. “I had two older sisters. One was a secretary and one was a teacher. I didn’t want to be either so I carved out my own path.”

She started her career working for 15 years with patients who had infectious diseases. Part of that population was diagnosed with HIV.

“I loved those patients. I’m someone with a heart that goes out to those who are alone,” said Young. “Many of these men had migrated to urban areas and then came back home and were rejected by their families. It spoke to my heart.”

In 1996, when the opportunity presented itself, Young moved to the transplant unit of IU Health University Hospital. She worked with the weekend crew and fell in love seeing the transformation from people who were struggling to then enjoying an improved quality of life.

Young surrounded by coworkers

“Susan is very compassionate and caring,” said Debra Beal a nurse who has worked with Young for several years. “She is very knowledgeable and all the new nurses go to her for advice.”

Beal remembers at one point Young received the nickname, “Kitty.”

The story goes that a fellow nurse was in the room with a patient and she needed help. She couldn’t remember Young’s name but she remembered she liked cats so she yelled out, “Kitty,” “Kitty,” “Kitty.”

She’s also known for her one-of-a-kind lime pickles.

“I’ve had many nights when I couldn’t sleep and Susan will come in the middle of the night to talk to me and bring me some of her homemade lime pickles,” said patient Doreen Lamar. “When I have Susan as a nurse, it’s calm. She knows exactly what I need. She once volunteered to come in earlier for her shift and it threw off her schedule and she didn’t get to see me. I always look forward to the weekend when I can see Susan,” said Lamar.

Married for 23 years to her husband, Harold, Young enjoys gardening, crocheting and crafts.

She also loves spending time with her patients and her co-workers.

“I’ve been blessed with familial relationships with my peers. Over the years, those relationships grow pretty strong,” said Young. “That’s probably one of the biggest reasons I haven’t wanted to find another job. I’ve always been so proud of IU Health and I’ve always said if no one else can figure it out, IU Health can.”

Tags:

Transplant

Related Services

Transplant

If facing end-stage organ failure, a kidney, pancreas, liver, lung, intestine or heart transplant will help you embrace life again.