WOODSTOCK – Marengo resident Bethany Monahan knew she wanted psychiatric care to be her emphasis as soon as she began the rotation in nursing school.
“[For] many, it’s the last thing they want to do,” Monahan said. “There’s a place for those that have a passion for it.”
Monahan works as a psychiatric nurse in Centegra Hospital – Woodstock’s emergency room, and the family of a patient for whom she cared for nominated her for the Everyday Hero award.
“I don’t feel like a hero; it’s more just doing my job,” Monahan said.
She added that her patients are the true heroes because of the difficulties they face on a daily basis.
Woodstock resident Cathy Carlton met Monahan while her son, Jeff, was in Monahan’s care. Jeff, then 28, was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder in the fall of 2016. He needed to be hospitalized to keep himself safe, Carlton said.
Monahan took time to talk with both Jeff and his family during his lengthy hospitalizations.
“Her [Monahan’s] empathy, her caring was always very apparent, and she saw him as a real person – she saw beyond his illness,” Carlton said. “As a mother, it brought me great comfort that others saw the good in him.”
Jeff died in August 2017, and Monahan reached out to the Carlton family to tell them how much of an impact he had on the hospital staff. She also wrote the Carltons a poem in Jeff’s memory.
“[Monahan] is our nurse hero and an angel to the mentally ill,” Carlton said.
Monahan said she loves everything about her job, but losing patients is the most difficult part. She receives patients as they’re in crisis in the emergency room and listens to whatever they have to say.
“They’re people just like everybody else ... struggle with things not everyone understands,” Monahan said. “My heart goes out to them.”
Stephanie Spjuth is a patient navigator on the crisis team at Centegra Hospital – Woodstock who works with Monahan. Spjuth answers the crisis line and admits patients into the unit.
“Having her introduced into the environment has been amazing for the crisis team and the patients,” Spjuth said. “She brings in the peace our patients need, and she’s also able to interact with doctors in a different way.”
Spjuth said she knows that the patients she refers to Monahan will be in good hands and feels like the emergency room would be lost without her.
A DonorDrive.com page attributed to the Carlton family was started to raise money for funding of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation in Jeff’s memory. The foundation funds scientific research to understand and treat brain and behavior disorders, including everything from addiction to schizophrenia.
It had raised almost $14,000 to date.