Valerie Hardy-Sprenkle, vice president of patient care services at York Hospital, right, congratulates Vernette Rollison on winning the Charles T. Spurlock Care for the Caregiver Award.
Vernette Rollison, an oncology nurse on 5 Main at York Hospital, recently earned the first Charles T. Spurlock Care for the Caregiver Award. It was presented at the Excellence in Caring and Practice Awards ceremony.
“Working with cancer patients is my mission in life,” said Rollison, who has been a nurse for 40 years. “It took me 20 years to find my place in nursing. Since that time I’ve dedicated my career to helping patients during that small amount of time they have before death.”
The nurse who nominated Rollison praised the veteran for her ability to comfort patients and their families.
“People instinctively trust her,” the nurse wrote in the nomination essay. “During her years on 5 Main, she has provided end-of-life care to so many people. She has patiently and carefully explained the signs and symptoms of approaching death to family members and encouraged them to tell their loved ones just how much they are loved.
“People who never thought they could ever be caregivers have been inspired by her example and encouragement. They then decided to care for their loved ones at home. And, many have written back to say they are so glad they did.”
Rollison is known for going out of her way to help patients and their caregivers. Two years ago, she learned a female cancer patient was struggling with something more than her own diagnosis.
The woman owned a black Labrador which was at the end of its life. She wanted to spend time with the dog before it was euthanized.
“It was arranged so the veterinarian, an assistant and the patient’s son would bring the dog to her room, so she could be there when it was euthanized,” Rollison said.
“I stayed with them while the dog was there. We prayed, cried and allowed the patient to be with the dog during its final moments of life.”
The “Care for the Caregiver” award is bestowed on an individual at York Hospital, who in addition to caring for the patient also demonstrates eight virtues.
Some of the necessary attributes require the person to portray concern and compassion for the caregiver during critical times of illness, use understandable language when explaining the patient’s illness and plan-of-care to the caregiver and show constant support through visits and telephone calls to review and mentor the caregiver.
The award was created by Barb Spurlock in memorial to her husband, Charles (Chuck) T. Spurlock, who died in 2006 at age 53 after a two-year battle with cancer.