Madison Austin shows her delight in one of the hokeypokey parties that nurses bring to her bedside.
There's a lot of partying in one patient's room at St. John's Hospital in Springfield, Ill. And it's all about the hokeypokey.
Twice daily the nurses at St. John's congregate in Madison Austin's room to put their whole selves in, take their whole selves out, then put their whole selves in and shake it all about.
Each year at St. John's Hospital Colleague Service Awards, the Hospital Sisters Health System hospital honors employees who are celebrating milestone anniversaries and names a patient of the year. This year that honor went to 4-year-old Madison, who endeared herself to the nursing staff by inspiring them to have daily hokeypokey parties in her room. The staff has dubbed her the Hokeypokey Queen.
Madison has a birth defect that requires her to consistently use a tracheal tube, which leaves her prone to infections that frequently land her in the hospital, sometimes for a few days, but occasionally up to a month.
She got to know the nursing staff well, and they would frequently find her watching hokeypokey videos on her tablet while in bed. So they decided to boost morale and bring it to her bedside. Since then, several videos of the parties have ended up on YouTube and gone viral on social media.
"It was just this fun simple idea that really took off," said nurse Natalie Serra. "Madison really thrives on the positive attention. It boosted morale among the staff, and it makes everyone happy to do it."