BRYAN, Texas — Nurse Amy Way, an R.N. working in palliative care, has spent her entire life in Bryan-College Station, and St. Joseph’s Bryan hospital has been a major part of her story.
She was born at the former Bryan city hospital downtown, and her son was born right where she currently works.
“And I have worked several places, longest probably as a hospice nurse for Hospice Brazos Valley, and I’ve also worked as a school nurse at my kids’ school," said Way.
Way has seen people in every state and stage of life, and she’s never wavered from wanting to serve patients. Palliative care, or the treating of patients with life threatening diseases such as cancer, is what gives her the most joy and purpose.
“We get to be intimately involved with patients and what their illness is, and what they understand about it," she said. "They don’t always know everything about it, so we help fill in those gaps.”
Especially with a reduced workforce available, and coming out of the height of the pandemic, St. Joseph's leadership says that the work that nurses do is important. Often the public doesn’t realize all that a hospital nurse does.
“Your nurse is your advocate," said Brandy Lapaglia, director of nursing support with St. Joseph Health. "They’re the person who makes sure that all of the other parts of your care are coordinated... making sure that each part of the care follows the plan that we have in place so that we have optimized the scenario that you’re in to get you healthy again.”
These past two years have presented especially unique challenges for Way and her coworkers, sometimes having to be the one to sit at a patient’s bedside as they succumbed to COVID-19 in isolation.
This job is not for the timid, Way says. It’s for the lion-hearted.
"[It's about] putting yourself in the patient’s shoes and their situation, about what emotions they're going through," Way said. "Just being there for them... knowing that this could be one of the hardest moments of their life.”