At age 16, Tina Hayes knew she wanted to go into medicine – she just wasn’t sure if she wanted to work with animal patients or human patients.
A volunteer opportunity with the Hebron-Alden-Greenwood Fire Department was her first shot at helping people in an emergency setting and when she later got into medical studies – instead of veterinary school – she realized how much she liked it.
“I like the interaction with people and helping them,” she said. “I feel like bedside nursing is where I can make the greatest impact.”
Hayes works as a nurse in the emergency department at Advocate Good Shepherd in Harvard. She has been with the hospital for 11 years. She started off floating between departments as needed but eventually stuck to the emergency room and went to nursing school.
“I had been a paramedic since 2001, so critical care and the emergency department was kind of my thing,” she said.
Dawn Moeller, Advocate Good Shepherd’s emergency department manager, nominated Hayes because of the way she interacts with patients, she said.
“I could find a million examples for Tina,” Moeller said. “Most people when they come to hospitals expect quality care. They expect people to be nice. What they wow about is when people go above and beyond in showing kindness and compassion.”
Hayes said the biggest reward in the industry is when patients and their families come back and remember how nurses took care of them in a time of need.
In particular, she dealt with a situation where a woman came to the emergency room one day with her young daughter. The woman was deathly ill and when an aunt came to pick up the child, the girl had one request.
“Don’t let my mommy die,” she said to Hayes.
The woman survived and the girl came back to the hospital during a visit with a card.
“It said I was her mom’s guardian angel,” Hayes said.
Hayes mother, Sharon Parratore, said her husband and she encouraged their daughter to go to school for nursing when they saw how much she enjoyed her work as a volunteer firefighter.
“She is very compassionate,” Parratore said. “She really does care about her patients. I think she empathizes with how they feel. She doesn’t just take care of the symptoms and problems. She makes sure the family is taken care of and when kids are involved, she has a way of soothing them.”