Everyone loves a parade. And there's something special about the processions of patients that occur on Floor 18 (G18) in the Main Building four times a year -- at Easter, Independence Day, Halloween and Christmas.
"The tradition started here long before I did," says Katherine Beetle, clinical nurse on G18, where most of the patients have had stem cell transplants. "They're immunosuppressed and sometimes very sick, and that can be isolating. The parades offer a chance for them and their families to be creative making and decorating their IV poles. Hopefully it takes their minds off being here."
Reminding patients that they're not alone
Staff from the floor participates in preparations and also during the events. You might see doctors, physical therapists and even staff, patients and caregivers from other floors getting involved with crafts and marching in the parades around the G18 hallway.
"It's not about the holiday or even the prizes as much as it's about the activity that gets all the patients out of their rooms and moving -- and reminded that they're not the only ones going through treatment," says Jan Siler, clinical nurse on G18.
The happiness is contagious
The pole parades, which Beetle has coordinated since 2008, are among many events on the patient floors that nurses and other employees organize. And until a recent gift from the Volunteer Endowment for Patient Support, many of the decorations were purchased from the nurses' own pockets. Beetle says it makes her and her co-workers happy to see the patients happy.
Siler agrees and adds, "It means so much to us to see the excitement. These patients are our heroes."
A longer version of this story originally appeared in Messenger, our bimonthly employee publication.