Nurse steps in for clergy at time of patient’s greatest need
Althea “Brownie” Brown, RN
Althea “Brownie” Brown is used to going the second mile for her patients. A licensed vocational nurse on unit 1100 at East Campus, caring for patients in rehabilitation, she has for years helped to stock a clothes closet to provide for patients in need. For one woman on her unit, though, she went the third, even the fourth mile.
Three weeks into the woman’s hospital stay, she learned that her husband, who had cared for her while she had been bedridden, had passed away. Of course the woman wanted to attend the graveside service, to be held at a military cemetery. She didn’t have suitable clothes, so Ms. Brown asked nurse manager Sarah Booty to bring a nice dress for the woman to wear. And Ms. Brown agreed to ride along in the ambulance, since a licensed nurse is required when an in-patient leaves the hospital.
But her mission of mercy wasn’t yet completed. A military honor guard arrived at the cemetery, but no member of the clergy showed up. So Ms. Brown asked a member of the honor guard if he could find a Bible. “If I’d taken my car and not been in the ambulance, I would have had mine,” she remarks. He ran to his car and didn’t find a Bible, but did find a poem. Brownie improvised the service, reading the poem and praying with the family and friends. Afterward, “we just hugged each other,” Ms. Brown recalls. A month after the patient was discharged, she was still thanking Ms. Brown for her kindness.
Althea “Brownie” Brown has been a licensed vocational nurse at Loma Linda for 37 years. She often leads morning devotionals with the staff. And, she says, “I pray with my patients all the time”—even at the time of deepest need.
By Marilyn Thomsen