Nurse brings back an elf's holiday magic

How one nurse used her clinical skills to bring holiday magic back to her patient’s elf

Joey the elf

Nurses use their clinical skills to save lives, but also to restore magic — just in time for the holidays for one little elf.

Danielle, a nurse in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, learned one of her patients had a holiday magic emergency. Her patient’s elf, Joey, had been touched by a human, removing his magical powers and his ability to move around the hospital room during the night. The patient was devastated.

“We quickly got a team together and performed a ‘magic resuscitation’ with magic dust CPR,” Danielle explained. “Then we used a nasogastric tube to remove the ‘human-touch toxin’ and started IVs to circulate the spirit of Santa.”

Joey the elf is recovering, and the patient is relieved to have his elf back to good health in time for the holidays.

“Nursing provides an opportunity to not only be advocates for our patients’ needs but also to improve outcomes,” Danielle said. “That can be with medication or with emotional support.” When she saw how important the elf was to her patient, Danielle knew spending a little extra time to go above and beyond her clinical responsibilities would ultimately help her patient.

“I think as nurses it’s essential for us to keep in mind kids are still kids despite what they’re going through medically,” Danielle said. “Focusing on the quality of their hospital stay goes hand in hand with the treatment they’re getting.”

As the patient is improving, so is Joey the elf.

“Our nurses demonstrate compassion every day,” said Pam Dotson, senior vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer. “They listen and acknowledge concerns and fears. They provide reassurance and hope. And, sometimes, they restore a little magic to children’s lives.”

At St. Jude, more than 680 nurses work in 34 departments. More than 450 provide direct patient care, working their own magic for their patients. In 2015, St. Jude became a designated Magnet hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, highlighting the exceptional nursing care St. Jude nurses provide to their patients.