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Fresh Air Magazine

Caring that goes both ways

‘Having her as a patient made me a better nurse’

Lavinia Whitt never missed a thing while she was a patient at Rockcastle Regional, but when she left, she was missed by many.

“This one, she’s super,” Lavinia said, pointing to a housekeeping associate who had just entered her room. “We talk every morning.”

Whitt, chatting on the day of her discharge in late summer, couldn’t say enough about the care she received.

A long, complicated health journey landed her at Rockcastle at age 62 unable to breathe on her own.

Over time, she recovered and was weaned from ventilator care, but she will never forget her time at Rockcastle, the friends she made, and the good things she experienced in spite of her circumstances.

“They treat you like you’re family,” she said. “If I just mention something, they’re on it,” she said as she clapped her hands once. “From housekeeping to the RTs to on down the line.”

“Not one person has ever been rude or disrespectful, and I never have to wait. And without a doubt, this is the cleanest hospital I’ve ever been in.”

Katie Sharpe, RN, says the warmth and courtesy Lavinia received as a patient went both ways. “She is so personable. She was interested in the lives of the staff; she didn’t just see us as caregivers.”

She was also inquisitive, a true partner in her own care.

“She wanted to know the ‘why’ behind things, and I felt like having her as a patient made me a better nurse,” Sharpe said.

Indeed, a few days before her discharge, she and her husband Mike, by her side throughout her stay, could be heard methodically asking questions about what to expect in terms of possible respiratory issues once she got home.

That curiosity, Sharpe believes, along with a perpetually positive attitude, helped her heal even as she received a high quality of care from Rockcastle’s health professionals.

Home with Mike in Lexington since August, her condition continues to improve.

Sharpe simultaneously smiles and tears up when she talks about Lavinia.

“She was a big deal down here,” Sharp said. “It’s wonderful to have patients like that who bring you back to your purpose, and bring you joy in taking care of people.”

Respiratory Care Center

Fresh Air Magazine

Fresh Air is a publication of Rockcastle Regional Hospital and Respiratory Care Center

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