A quilt that changed a life

Next year around 100 University of Auckland students will start their journey to become nurses. Head of Nursing Sandie McCarthy shares one of her most rewarding moments.

Offering compassion and kindness when people need it most has been an incredibly rewarding career for Sandie McCarthy.

The Head of Nursing at the University of Auckland says one memory of caring for a patient will be with her forever.

The patient had advanced cancer and was in severe pain, which couldn’t be fully alleviated by medication. Sandie came up with an idea to help the patient feel more comfortable.

“Her pain seemed both physical and emotional. Over many night shifts I sat with her and started to sew a quilt, something I’d never done before,” she says.

“This act of solidarity and compassion seemed to bring her peace and she was able to open up to me about the emotional turmoil she was experiencing. While she watched me sew, she told me the quilt would be her memorial; and it was. She died shortly after I finished it and her story is woven into its fabric.

“The quilt has been on my bed ever since and it is a constant reminder of the importance of patiently listening and the personal acts that make this job life-changing.”

Next year around 100 University of Auckland students will start their journey to become nurses.

For some students the costs associated with a nursing degree can make it unobtainable without the support of a scholarship. Support from alumni and donors helps provide these students with the opportunity to study their chosen career.

With Christmas fast approaching this is a particularly poignant time of the year for nurses. For many people who are in hospital for Christmas, it is nurses that help make their day a little brighter.

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