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Sochi, Twizzling, and Nursing – How to be a Champion!

March 11, 2014


Guest Blogger: Pat Bennett, Director, Southeast – Kronos Incorporated

Twizzle –  a multirotational one-foot turn in figure skating. The twizzle is most commonly seen in ice dancing, where it appears in a number of compulsory dances and is a required element of step sequences in the short dance, original dance and free dance. …

The story of American ice-dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White fascinates me.  Put together by their mothers at age nine, they’ve bonded, practiced through laughs and tears, and practically lived life together for the past seventeen years.  According to USA Today, Meryl was so shy when they first started practicing together their coach had to place a sticker on Charlie’s forehead so she would have some place to look.  That fact alone makes their performance even more incredible as they both stared down pressure this week in front of millions of viewers worldwide.

While I’m not particularly an ice-dancing fan, I found myself awed by the synchronicity, beauty, and athleticism of the dancing on ice.  It was truly wonderful to watch.

I’m sure the past seventeen years of practicing and competing for Davis and White were fraught with good times and bad.  Not only must the physical toll have been taxing, but the emotional strain of preparing one’s self mentally for such high level competition requires self-discipline and emotional strength that only true champions exude.  Couple that with the fact that until the judging system changed in the mid- 2000’s, the Americans didn’t even have a gold medal as an achievable goal.

As a result of their stringent preparation, great coaching, and unwavering support, Davis and White accomplished a first for any American ice-dancer – Olympic gold medals.

So, you might ask, how does this compare with healthcare?  Just over nineteen months ago, my wife Cynthia, burst fractured her L1 vertebrae.   It doesn’t matter how the accident happened (let’s just say jumping 40 feet into an Arkansas lake isn’t advisable) so much as the treatment we received from the incredible nurses who helped us and were there for us throughout the ordeal – from Arkansas to Tennessee.  While the care Cynthia received from all of the nursing staff was great, one nurse stood out.    She was our own gold medalist.  At Cynthia’s lowest moment in Neuro ICU, after a restless and nauseating night when her NG tube had to be reinserted, Kelsey swooped in and did her own little twizzle.  Her many years of education and preparation, married with her compassion and work ethic, created an atmosphere that was the turning point in Cynthia’s recovery.  Within the first two hour of Kelsey’s performance (otherwise known as a shift), Cynthia was bathed, sitting in a chair, walking, and was more back to her normal, optimistic self than since the accident.  To this day, when we reminisce on the care we received, Kelsey is always the nurse we remember fondly.

I doubt that Kelsey remembers us today.  She’s encountered countless patients with even more serious injuries than what Cynthia had.  And I’m sure she’s performed in the same stellar manner with her other patients as what she did with Cynthia.  That’s what champions do – no matter what the circumstance, no matter how tired they might be, and regardless of the situation, they perform.  And they perform to the best of their ability under pressure.

And while Kelsey might not remember us, we’ll always remember her, just like Meryl Davis and Charlie White will be remembered for years to come.  Why?  Because they are all champions!

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