Rachel Butler, a former patient, with Casey Perry

In May, Casey Perry, RN, a clinical nurse on Tower 8AB, reunited with her former patient, Rachel Butler, at Rachel’s nursing school pinning ceremony. The exceptional care experience that Perry provided four years ago inspired Butler to change her major and school to pursue nursing. In a letter to Nurse Director Diane Tsitos, MSN, RN, Butler’s mother Karen describes the impact that Perry had on her daughter and their family.

I wanted you to know how one patient’s experience at Brigham and Women’s Hospital had a profound and life-changing effect! That patient is my daughter Rachel Butler. She would be writing this letter, but she is currently studying for the NCLEX exam.

It was August 11, 2013, a beautiful day on Cape Cod. In about a week, Rachel, was planning to leave for orientation at Keene State College to study health science and compete on the swim team. The day started out as a normal summer day on the Cape, but ended with a terrible accident. While working one of her last lifeguarding shifts, Rachel fell on a wooden stake, causing severe bleeding and internal injuries

An MRI at a local hospital determined that Rachel needed an emergency procedure. Afterwards, the surgeon informed her that she would not be heading off to college in a few days. Rachel was devastated, and so were we. After the surgery that evening, she was transported to BWH.

She arrived at BWH after midnight and was admitted to the Trauma floor. Casey Perry, RN, was working and, as it turned out, would be Rachel’s favorite nurse. Casey was the inspiration behind Rachel’s desire to become a nurse. There was something about Casey that made an everlasting impression on Rachel. Casey is calm, loving, genuine, sincere and capable. Casey had a way about her that helped Rachel to feel relaxed and fearless. She treated Rachel with confidence and respect. From that moment on, Rachel made the decision that she wanted to give back in a way that was given to her.

After being discharged from BWH, Rachel returned home. Orientation was underway at Keene – while Rachel rested. The moment came when she had to make a decision and, after weighing her options, she headed off to Keene. She wanted to meet her roommate, the swimmers and follow her dream to study health science!

Sometime during that year, Rachel decided to look into nursing programs. Simmons was top on the list because of its proximity to Boston hospitals and particularly Brigham and Women’s Hospital. After spending two years at Keene, she was accepted into the nursing program at Simmons. Her first clinical was on Connors 7 – Orthopaedics. I’ll always remember her calling me on the phone that day – her first clinical experience at BWH was like a dream come true!

In May of this year, she was “pinned” under a big white tent at Simmons College. Casey was in the audience that day, but Rachel didn’t know it until after the ceremony. When Rachel recognized Casey in the crowd and gave her a heartfelt embrace, it brought tears to everyone’s eyes … but mostly to Rachel’s. It was as if Rachel had come full circle. On May 19, Rachel graduated. The decision that she made back in 2013 had become a reality. It would be an amazing opportunity for Rachel to give back in the ways that Casey gave to her. They seem to share many of the same qualities – calm, loving, genuine, sincere and capable. In addition to these qualities, Rachel knows what it feels like to be a patient and what kind of care is important and meaningful!

Having Casey at the pinning ceremony meant the world to Rachel and her family.

3 Responses to “Former Patient, Future Nurse”

  1. Karol

    We love you Rachel. Your journey is just beginning and while we miss you you will do amazing things. Love the Brzozowski’s 😘

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  2. Helen E. Ahearn

    Bless these exceptional young women. As nurses this is what we do best, provide competent care with heart.

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  3. Val

    I’m crying!!! No one will ever know what this whole family went through….it’s truly a Miracle….
    God Bless Rachel and the persaverance she has shown throughout her ordeal and her Nursing goal!
    Way to go Rach!! Your an example to all!!

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