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Inspiring Stories

Jennie Edmundson Nurse Takes Lead To Help Patient Receive Improved Vision Of Life

Published: Dec. 31, 2021

Some individuals are lucky to have 20/20 vision, while others need corrective lenses.

A patient at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital needed glasses, but the pair she had included only one arm hanging on by a piece of tape. A nurse at Jennie Edmundson took it upon herself to initiate a plan to help the patient receive a new pair of glasses so she could see the world as it should be.

 

Plans for a New Pair

Kathy Vorthmann, RN, noticed that one of her patients, Jodie Feltner, could see better while wearing glasses, but the pair she had was quite damaged and barely stayed on her face.

Jodie didn’t have a different pair with her and said she would have to ask her son to look in storage for an alternative pair.

The nurse proceeded to ask if Jodie saw a local eye doctor, and she informed Vorthmann that she visited Bob Wahl from Wahl Optical in Council Bluffs.

Vorthmann put a call in to Wahl to explain the situation and ask for his assistance. The eye doctor told her that he’d provide a new pair of glasses for $50.

After Vorthmann shared the good news, Jodie said that she didn’t have any money with her and needed to make arrangements for her son to retrieve her checkbook, but Vorthmann told her to hold that thought.

The quick-witted nurse decided to reach out to Dee Wicks, a social worker at Jennie Edmundson, to see if the Methodist Jennie Edmundson Foundation would help with the cost of the glasses. After a quick ask, Wicks delivered the message that the foundation would have no problem footing the bill.

 

So Many Choices

Vorthmann decided to use a day off to make a trip to Wahl Optical. Upon her arrival, the optometrist led her into a room with many different styles of frames. Much to her surprise, Vorthmann was instructed to pick out as many frames as she liked and would be able to take them back to the hospital to have Jodie choose the pair she liked best.

“I’d rather have somebody get something a little bit nicer and that they’re proud of wearing as opposed to something that I’m just trying to get rid of that they’re not even going to wear,” Wahl said.

With the assistance of another employee at Wahl Optical, Vorthmann picked out nine frames ranging in color and style. One problem Vorthmann discovered was that Jodie needed bifocals, which would require a measurement of her eye. Wahl’s assistant volunteered to go back to the hospital with her to take the measurement.

“They were so kind and wonderful,” Vorthmann said. “They took time out of their day to help out.”

Wahl didn’t think of it as a disruption and was glad that he could assist.

“We’ve been in business since 1937,” Wahl said. “I feel like I owe Council Bluffs a lot, and I try to pay back as much as I can.”

Vorthmann returned to the hospital to meet with Jodie so she could try on the glasses. She was shocked at the selection that Vorthmann had retrieved and picked out a pair with pale pink frames with roses on them that were pink and burgundy.

 

The Delivery

The glasses were scheduled to be ready on a Monday afternoon, but they weren’t quite finished before Jodie was discharged. Once again, Vorthmann had a plan.

The nurse made the hour trip to Atlantic Specialty Care in Atlantic, Iowa, where Jodie was transported to start physical therapy.

Vorthmann saw Jodie’s face light up when she entered the room for the special delivery.

“These are exactly right,” Jodie said after trying them on.

“She loved them and was so appreciative,” Vorthmann said. “Now she can see!”

 

Treating Patients Like Family

Vorthmann’s execution of obtaining a new pair of glasses didn’t go unnoticed.

“She definitely went above and beyond, and I’ll never forget her,” Jodie said. “I’m so glad that I met the staff there because they changed my world around, and I’ll appreciate it forever.”

“With all the burnout and short staffing, it’s really cool that our nurses still go that extra mile and do things like that, that truly make a patient feel like they’re the only one they are taking care of,” said Katie Hagedorn, DNP, RN, Jennie Edmundson’s progressive care director.

Even though his interaction with Vorthmann was brief, Wahl was impacted by her actions.

“I don’t know how to get her some brownie points, but I’ve never met a nurse that would do that,” Wahl said. “I’m really impressed with people who do stuff like that.”

Individualized care is something that Vorthmann strives to achieve with each of her patients.

“I always think of my patients as part of my family, and I treat them the way I would want my mom or grandmother taken care of,” she said. “You just want to do your very best and do anything you can to help them.”

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About the Author

Anthony Robinson, a content strategist for Methodist Health System, recently joined the marketing team after spending over five years as a college athletics public relations professional. He enjoys being able to use his writing ability to tell compelling stories that embody The Meaning of Care

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