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In her long career in nursing, Colleen Conway-Welch figured out sometimes it's good to bend the rules a bit.
She first realized that early in her career, as she cared for a patient nearing death.
“She had a Yorkshire terrier she just adored,” Conway-Welch recalled. “She just wanted to see that little dog before she died.”
Dogs, however, weren't allowed in the hospital. But that rule interfered with Conway-Welch's idea of how best to care for her patient, so she found a way around it. She brought the dog up to the fire exit in a small basket, allowing a reunion between the dying woman and the dog she wanted to tell goodbye.
“I realized what I did was really the essence of nursing,” Conway-Welch said. “Afterwards, she was peaceful. That's what nurses do. They take care of the needs of patients . . . not only the physical but the psychological and even the spiritual. We address every aspect of care.”
That would be a theme for Conway-Welch throughout her career—advocating for nurses to do more, to learn more, to push boundaries to make sure patients are cared for.