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Nurses go beyond call of duty during holiday season

Nurses’ charitable pursuits outside their workplaces are part of an array of recent heartwarming holiday stories on the Internet. Included in recent accounts of nurses lending a helping hand is the story of an Illinois nurse assisting a patient in continuing his holiday lights tradition. In a Dec. 18 article (and accompanying video report) at, hospice nurse Kathy Henderson was lauded for helping her East Moline hospice patient, Fred Anders, decorate his home with more than 30,000 lights — a tradition he has maintained for several years.

According to the report, Henderson has cared for Anders for more than a year. Anders, who has cardiovascular disease, suffered from a stroke last year and has had mobility issues since. Anders and his wife Loretta decorate their home with lights every year. With no children of their own, the Anderses put up the lights for neighborhood children to enjoy. “All the little kids just love it,” Loretta Anders said in the video.

Since Anders’ health issues kept him from decorating, staffers from Unity Point – Trinity Hospice, including Henderson, made it happen. “I’ve been looking forward to it to be able to do something to help him feel better, and get him in the mood for Christmas,” Henderson said in the article.

Henderson said despite everything Anders’ has endured the last year, he still has a positive attitude, according to the article.

To read more and see the video, visit

In a Dec. 18 article, nurses at Nexus Health System, The Woodlands, Texas, were in the spotlight for helping a patient execute his toy drive tradition. Patient Wes Greenwood has been a donor to the KHOU Secret Santa Toy Drive for 20 years, but continuing the tradition this year was in jeopardy because of Greenwood’s extended hospital stay. Greenwood, 70, who suffered a spinal cord injury in 1984, has been in the hospital for the last 15 months. When the nurses heard about Greenwood’s special Christmas project, they decided to help. “We did not want for him to miss a year of donating,” Nexus Health System nurse Anne Langenheim de la Rosa said in the article.

All Nexus Health System locations have been collecting toys for Greenwood to donate for weeks. “There are already plans for next year,” said Nexus Health System CEO Judith Butryn in the article. “I hope that we have created a precedent and I hope we have created a tradition that goes on forever and ever.”

To read more about the toy drive, visit

In an online story out of Southport, England, Kath Higgins, head of nursing for planned care at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, is giving up Christmas at home to help care for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, according to an article on the Liverpool Echo website.

Higgins, who holds the rank of major and is a member of the Army Reserves with the Queen Alexander Royal Army Nursing Corps and a member of the 207 Field Hospital, will be in post as a nursing officer near the Sierra Leone capital, Freetown, just before Christmas and may be there for up to four months. “Local doctors and nurses in Sierra Leone are particularly at risk from infection because they are treating people who already have Ebola,” Higgins said in the article. “Our field hospital’s role is to treat healthcare staff and aid workers who become ill through their work.”

Reaction to her departure has been mixed, she said in the article. “A number of people are quite jealous and said ‘I so envy you’ but others think I need my head testing,” Higgins said. “I’m confident I’ll be fine. The Army is very good at making sure their people are kept safe and properly trained for the challenges they face, both in terms of their own ability and resources they’re given.”

Higgins’ husband Andrew is combat medical technician and warrant officer in the Army Reserves and recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan, according to the article.

To read more about Higgins, visit

By | 2014-12-22T00:00:00-05:00 December 22nd, 2014|Categories: National|0 Comments

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