Hospice Nurse Braves Snowstorm and Treks to Patient's Home Wearing Snowshoes

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When you think of a nurse, you probably think of a friendly face in an unpleasant place. They’re the warmth and soul of doctor’s offices and hospitals everywhere, and can be the difference between life and death.

But what happens when patients can’t get to the hospital? What’s to be done when the weather puts a screeching halt to any conventional visits or care?

Nancy Miller knows, because Nancy Miller takes care of business, no matter what the weather’s like. Miller, a hospice nurse in Michigan, has gotten a lot of attention for her recent heroic efforts to bring comfort to a suffering patient.

The problem was that the roads were in no state to be driven. A blizzard was going on, and most people were staying inside, keeping warm and waiting for the conditions to improve.

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“It’s the third time that they have closed the actual health department due to weather in 23 years,” Miller told WNEM.

“Something I think we have here at hospices is a can-do attitude,” she continued. “If somebody has a need we don’t say ‘no’, we say ‘how we can do that?'”

“We got a call from a hospice patient who really needed to have a nurse visit, and the nurse that took the call, that was working, lives in Brimley, about 20 miles away. So, she called me. She knew I lived fairly close to this patient and asked if I could go over. I said sure, I can do that, and I went outside and realized we had a lot of snow.”

“It was still snowing, it was still windy. It took a good 15 minutes. They needed a nurse there, I left there feeling good that I was able to help them. I think they felt much reassured that I was there.”

Miller doesn’t think her behavior is all that unusual, though, claiming that if she hadn’t gone, someone else could and would have quickly filled her shoes.

“I’m sure that if I couldn’t have done it, our director would have found someone to get a snowmobile out here to get to the patient’s house. This is bittersweet. I love having the attention for hospice and the Chippewa County Health Department, but the patient is the most important person here, I shouldn’t be getting all the attention.”

Despite her protestation, the focus has definitely been on her and her snow-shoeing mission to bring comfort, even in the middle of a blizzard. According to WNEM, she even has a new nickname: Angel in Snowshoes.

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“What happens on Blizzardy Days, the town is shut down, and a patient needs help with care??” the Hospice of the E.U.P. posted on Feb. 25. “Have no fear, Nancy Miller is here…..on her snow shoes!”

“The world is a better place because of people like you. ??Bishop Baraga smiled down on you today. ?”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking