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Inspiring Stories

‘Destined To Be a Nurse’: Methodist Jennie Edmundson Nurse Honored for Outstanding Care of Stroke Patient

Published: Sept. 16, 2021

Jeff and Debbie Borden have been in and out of area hospitals since 2006. That’s when Jeff suffered the first of several strokes.

The most recent came on July 6. Jeff woke up from a nap and couldn’t move his entire left side. What followed at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital, his wife of 41 years said, “was literally the best hospital experience that we’ve had.”

 

Debbie and Jeff Borden
Debbie and Jeff Borden

“Call Me Any Time”

Soon after Jeff was admitted to Jennie Edmundson’s medical-surgical unit, the Bordens met his night nurse, Freddy Hug, BSN, RN. It wasn’t long before they found out what a special caregiver they had.

“I was crying so hard,” Debbie recalled of accompanying her husband to another hospital. “And Freddy was asking if he could get me anything. He was concerned about me, and I wasn’t even the patient.” 

Debbie also noted how Hug took plenty of time explaining the treatment plan and answering their questions. But what Hug did when visiting hours ended is something she’ll never forget. 

“I’ve always stayed with Jeff through his strokes,” she said. “I’ve always spent the night at these hospitals. I’d never leave his side. Freddy had to tell me that I had to leave. And I was beside myself. I was sobbing. I was so upset because, if you have a loved one who has gone through everything Jeff has, it’s terrifying to leave them. And Freddy said, ‘You know what? You call me any time at night. I’m here until you can come back in the morning.’”

Debbie’s confidence in Hug grew even more, and her anxiety melted away. 

“In my eyes, that’s a huge deal,” she said. “I’ve never been able to do that with anybody else. Jeff was in good hands. That’s a huge relief off of someone’s heart.”

The moment made a lasting impact on Hug, too.

“Seeing the relief that washed over her when I told her that she could call me, I knew that definitely meant a lot to her,” said Hug, who began working at Jennie Edmundson in the summer of 2020. “Just seeing the vulnerable state that she was in is something that has stuck with me. I have memorable experiences, but that’s one that stands out, and it has really driven my care since that day.”

 

A Career That Almost Wasn’t

Debbie did call to check on Jeff – “literally every hour on the hour the first night, and Freddy was not upset one bit,” she said. And over the next few days, the Bordens got to know Hug better and marveled at his care, especially his knack for calming Jeff during difficult moments. 

“He has such a wonderful way with people, and he’s so mature,” Debbie said. “He’s 24 years old. That’s what blows my mind. He’s 24 years old, and he acts like he’s been a nurse for 20 years.”

Hug is just as surprised by how good a fit nursing is. He describes himself as stumbling into medicine after considering trade school and studying computer science but not really finding his niche. After an ex-girlfriend told him she was studying nursing, he thought, “What if I go to nursing school?”

It was a turning point, sending Hug down the path he had been looking for. His experience with the Bordens only validates that, he said.

“Knowing how much of an impact I had on their lives showed me that stumbling into this profession by accident was one of the best things that ever happened to me,” he said.

 

Debbie and Jeff Borden
Jeff and Debbie Borden

An Emotional Surprise

Before Jeff was discharged, the couple had made up their minds that they wanted to thank Hug for his care. That’s when another staff member mentioned The DAISY Award, which honors nurses for their skill and compassion.

“We immediately looked at each other and said, ‘We’re going to nominate him,’” Debbie said. “There was no hesitation.”

Not long after caring for the Bordens, Hug moved to the Critical Care Unit. That’s where he was surprised last month with The DAISY Award by his coworkers, his girlfriend and the Bordens – joining via an iPad.

“That day on the ICU was very memorable,” Hug said. “I’ll remember it for the rest of my life. I was brought to tears to know that I made the impact I did on their family.”

He added: “I don’t feel like I deserved it. I did everything I could to go above and beyond taking care of that family, but that’s part of the job. I couldn’t have done it without a great team and a great manager. They kind of instilled those values and those skills to me to be given such an award.”

One thing the Bordens and Hug can agree on is that he’s doing what he’s called to do.

“Freddy was destined to be a nurse,” Debbie said. “God makes people to do different things, and I feel like Freddy was put on this Earth to be a nurse.”

Said Hug: “If I do this the rest of my life, then lucky me. I didn’t ever think I could get this lucky.”

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About the Author

Patrick Smith, a content strategist for Methodist Health System, has over a decade of experience writing and editing for newspapers and other publications. He enjoys meeting new people and telling stories that highlight Methodist's mission to deliver The Meaning of Care.

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