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Everyday Heroes 2018: Tori Butur

The job can be saddening, but Butur approaches it with unparalleled compassion

Registered Nurse Tori Butur has been with the Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital Surgical/Oncology unit since 2014.
Registered Nurse Tori Butur has been with the Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital Surgical/Oncology unit since 2014.

Patients at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital who are heading into surgery or hearing their cancer diagnosis said aloud for the first time know the profound impact of Tori Butur’s kind gestures.

Butur, a registered nurse and chemotherapy nurse, has worked in the hospital’s surgical and oncology unit since 2014. The job can be saddening, but Butur approaches it with unparalleled compassion, Oncology and Surgical Unit manager Yvonne Miller said.

“It can be very, very emotionally draining and Tori just does such a wonderful job with her patients,” Miller said.

An aspiring lawyer-turned-nurse, Butur’s life mission has been to help herself by helping others. Having been raised in a Bartlett mobile home, Butur sacrificed the liberties of her youth to get a head start on building a better life for herself, she said.

“My husband was raised in Romania and came here when he was 16, and I grew up in a trailer park in Bartlett,” Butur said. “So we knew what we wanted and didn’t really get to enjoy our youth because we were busy building our life with no help. We both worked full-time jobs throughout college, but everything has made me a better person for it.”

At 12 years old, Butur had dreams of becoming a lawyer – although looking back now, she admits she isn’t sure how she got the idea in her head. One year into her education at Loyola, Butur realized that somewhere between 12 and 18 years old, her dreams had changed.

Her father, a nurse himself, encouraged Butur to go to Truman College for an associate degree in nursing.

“A lot of my aunts were nurses, too,” Butur said. “I was hesitant but didn’t want to waste any time being out of school.”

Her father died the July before her first semester of nursing school.

“Seeing the way nurses cared for him and being with him when he died solidified that I was going to be a nurse,” she said. “That moment, I knew I wanted to touch lives the way the nurses touched my dad’s and my family’s.”

Her work at Good Shepherd Hospital has embodied that kindness, and often is met with gratitude for having gone above and beyond what is expected of her, Miller said.

Butur keeps a book of the hospital’s oncology patients, and some of their more complicated surgical patients. Each year, they’ll receive holiday and birthday cards from the unit.

Once, for a patient’s last round of chemotherapy, Butur had staff and doctors sign a poster-sized card with words of encouragement and positivity.

“Seeing their faces when they walked in and saw the balloons and streamers, and the card on his bedside table just meant so much,” Butur said. “His wife cried and gave me the biggest hug, and they eventually nominated me for a Daisy Award.”

Daisy Awards are given to nurses who have exemplified extraordinary care.

“When she’s here, she is here 100 percent,” Miller said. “She’s here for her patients. She really is. Her patients adore her and the staff adores her and she just makes it pleasant to be here. When she’s here, it’s just nice.”

After work, Butur goes home to her husband and their two children, 4-year-old Khloe and 1-year-old Blaire. But even inside her own house surrounded by her family, Butur is searching for ways to make every happy moment last.

“The most rewarding part of my job is making my patients feel cared for, genuinely,” Butur said. “Because that gives me, as a nurse, so much in return – to know I’m impacting lives in a positive way.”

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