“For me, the ‘secret sauce’ is the people that are carrying out our mission – supporting each other and taking it very seriously.”
– Julie Kim, MSN, RN, Chief Nursing Officer
Family Caring for Family
Nursing executive makes a special gift to honor her brother’s COVID-19 caregivers
This time last year, Daniel Kim was preparing to fulfill a promise.
In July 2020, the Chino resident was admitted to Providence St. Jude Medical Center with severe COVID-19 symptoms. Daniel’s lungs ruptured and his condition quickly deteriorated. He was placed in a medically induced coma for five weeks.
Gradually, Daniel began to recover. When he awoke from his coma, he vowed that he would one day be well enough to walk out of the medical center. On December 16, 2020, Daniel used a walker to pass through the front doors — marking the end of a five-and-a-half month stay that would be the longest of any COVID-19 patient treated at Providence St. Jude.
His release was a jubilant event, not only for Daniel and his family, but also for the many caregivers who had followed his progress. Among the many well-wishers that day was his sister, Julie Kim, MSN, RN, chief nursing officer at Providence St. Jude Medical Center.
“I feel very fortunate that he was able to come to us, where my St. Jude family could take care of him,” says Julie.
That deep sense of connection, Daniel explains, was crucial to his beating the odds. “I really got to know the staff members and they made me feel at home,” he says. “I could tell they really care about how well I do.”
Julie, who has been a nurse at Providence St. Jude for more than 18 years, agrees. “My connection to everyone here, and my belief in that family, got even stronger because of the care my brother received.”
Recently, Julie made a generous donation to Providence St. Jude Medical Center to honor the caregivers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, especially those who treated her brother.
With a firsthand understanding of the emotional toll that accompanies their work, she designated a portion of her gift to create a Quiet Room for caregivers to rest between shifts.
This attention to total well-being sets Providence St. Jude apart from other health care facilities. In fact, Daniel cites the spiritual support he received as motivation for his recovery. “One thing I was asked a lot was how I feel emotionally,” he reflects. “There were many staff members and nurses who grabbed my hand and prayed for me. That was a big inspiration for me.”
Today, he’s recovering at home, working to regain his lost strength. He is no longer using a walker. And while he admits it may take some time, he intends to graduate from supplemental oxygen.
“I’m trying not to get sick again,” Daniel says, smiling. “But if I do, I want to be at Providence St. Jude.”
“No more getting sick,” laughs Julie.
“For me, the ‘secret sauce’ is the people that are carrying out our mission — supporting each other and taking it very seriously,” Julie says.
She pauses and looks at her brother with a combination of pride and gratitude.
“That’s how we’re able to become a family and provide that kind of support and care for our patients,” she says. “Because we did it for each other.”
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