Champion Caregivers: ICU Patient Praises Nurses in her Recovery


Former patient Ellen Sozzi found strength from her nurses motivation during recovery.

One of Ellen Sozzi’s last memories on July 1 is being admitted to the Roseview ICU for surgery. Her next one: Waking up from a medically induced coma in August.

Champion Caregivers: ICU Patient Praises Nurses in her Recovery
Ellen Sozzi, with registered nurse Crystal Heyer (left) and respiratory therapist Jeannette Copeland-Keep (right), was a patient in the Roseview ICU for several weeks. She credits her recovery to the motivation from her ICU nurses.

“My kids and grandkids told me I woke up a couple of times in July but I don’t remember,” Ellen explains. “When I woke up for good in August, I thought it was the first time I woke up.”

Despite being intubated, and on-and-off a ventilator and a tracheotomy, nurses encouraged Ellen to get up and start walking to avoid getting bed sores and cramps, and to help aid in her recovery. She thought she had been walking the whole time during her stay, not realizing that when the nurses asked in August, it was the first time she had since the surgery.

“When I woke up there was a lady telling me that she was getting me up in the chair and I was thinking, ‘Oh I must have been doing this all along,’ but my legs felt like lead weights,” she explains.

Ellen says she didn’t know how she was going to get up and moving that afternoon but she did. With support and encouragement from her nurses and family combined with her own inner strength, Ellen started walking — her first big step toward recovery.

And Ellen’s nurses were right there with her throughout the journey — from surgery to those weeks of unconsciousness to her first steps and ultimately the green light to go home. Ellen is grateful to the ICU nurses for everything they did to aide in her recovery. And although she can’t remember the nurses names, she can see their faces as clear as day in her mind.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for them,” she says. “The nurses were very positive and kept me motivated — they’d tell me that I looked great or that I didn’t belong in the ICU and if it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have gotten out of bed.”

It is because of the dedication and passion from the expert nurses in the ICU that Amy McCombs, Director of Nursing, Critical Care, who leads a talented group of ICU nurses, was selected to receive a 2015 American Association of Critical-Care Nurse Circle of Excellence Award. 

Her gratitude is palpable. “Keep up the good work. God bless and onward and upward.”