Kudos to the Ascension Via Christi caregivers who went to Michigan to help

On April 25, more than a dozen Ascension Via Christi caregivers from Wichita and Pittsburg, Kansas flew to Michigan to lend a hand to their Ascension Michigan teammates battling a variant-driven statewide surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

While most have now returned, the bedside caregivers' appreciation for their assistance is being shared throughout Ascension.

"I can't express enough how much myself and our team appreciate the extra help sent from other Ascension facilities," wrote Timothy Deuby, RN, in a recent note to Karen Springer, Ascension executive vice president and chief nursing executive.

Deuby, who serves as a critical care clinical nurse manager at Ascension Providence Hospital in Novi, Michigan, noted the contributions of one in particular as she was preparing to wrap up her assignment: Austin Wilkerson, a patient care tech who works on MICU at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis.

"She is helping us in the ICU and has been an absolute pleasure to work with!" wrote Deuby. "Her first day here, she jumped right in and has since been such an amazing support for the nursing staff.

"If you will, please share with her leadership team how Austin envelopes the values of Ascension within her care for our patients and our associates. She has treated each of us as if we are her own family! Austin shared her aspiration to be a respiratory therapist and I have no doubt in my mind that she will succeed and provide that breath of relief everyday as she has for us in this short amount of time."

Springer, who met Wilkerson when she rounded on Deuby's unit, responded that she was "truly emotionally impacted" by the care being provided and was excited about the future of Nursing throughout Ascension as "we have proven our strength and resilience."

"I have no doubt the future is bright and we have so much we can do together," she wrote, concluding with a promise to share Deuby's praise of Wilkerson with her leadership team, which she did.

While the positive impression made by Wilkerson and her fellow volunteers came as no surprise to Carla Yost, system chief nursing officer for Ascension Kansas, it was heart-warming to hear.

"I am so proud of all our nurses' and other caregivers' contributions each and every day of the year," says Yost. "Still, there is nothing more gratifying than hearing such high praise for a member of our team.

"Thanks, Austin, and everyone who volunteered to help our Michigan family for representing Ascension Kansas so well and being the living embodiment of our healing ministry."