Deepa Patel, Wellstar Shared Services

The wife died in the early afternoon and Patel, with tears in his eyes, whispered in the husband’s ear that his wife was gone.

“It was heartbreaking,” Patel said. She has been a nurse for nine years, but this is the first patient she has seen die.

Patel also had to keep families updated on the condition of their loved ones as pandemic restrictions kept them from being in hospital.

To exploreAtlanta Journal-Constitution Celebrates Nurses for 17th Consecutive Year

Morris said it was “very emotional and difficult” for Patel to deal with the additional paperwork required for COVID deaths, calls and conversations with family.

“She had never had to deal with a deceased patient, let alone COVID. She got special instructions on how to handle and care for the body. Special treatment for the deceased body, which she had never done before in her nursing career,” Morris explained.

Patel said she couldn’t eat when she finally took a lunch break that afternoon; her mind was on the husband. She was soon called back to her room; he died about 45 minutes after his wife.

“I will never forget that day. It touched my heart,” Patel said. “At the end of my shift, I felt like they were my loved ones.”

Morris said Patel “gave every ounce of herself to her two patients this change. The two would never know her name.

In her job, Patel visits three Wellstar hospitals, providing nursing care when needed. “I love almost everything about my job,” she said. “I like being at the patient’s bedside. I like to be with people. It’s good to connect with them. When someone from my team asks me if I’m coming back, it’s a wonderful thing for me. It makes me happy.”

For more content like this, sign up for the Pulse newsletter here.

Learn more about the nurses honored at this year’s ceremony:

Shannan Browning, Piedmont Healthcare

Lauren DePietro, Wellstar Kennestone Hospital

Sarah Harper, Wellstar Cobb Hospital

Rose Horton, Emory Healthcare

Damar Lewis, Northside Hospital Duluth

Gina Papa, Clarkston Community Health Center

Andrew Perea, Permanent Kaiser

Cherish Ramirez, Piedmont Healthcare

Julie Singleton, Northeast Georgia Health System

Denise Ray, Piedmont Healthcare: Nurse Leader Award


DEEPA PATEL

Age: 38

Actual job: floating nurse with Wellstar Shared Services

Years of experience: 7

Nursing education: associate degree in nursing, Ohio University.

Family info: Originally from India, Patel is the daughter of a doctor. She grew up watching her father take care of people and she wanted to do something similar. However, there were no opportunities in India, so she immigrated to the United States and graduated from Ohio nursing school. Her father is now retired and her parents live with her and her family. “He was the motivation for me to become a nurse, and it’s in high demand here,” Patel said.

Legend

Nurse Deepa Patel and her daughters, Nandani Patel, left, and Radhika Patel. Photo courtesy of Deepa Patel

1 credit

Nurse Deepa Patel and her daughters, Nandani Patel, left, and Radhika Patel.  Photo courtesy of Deepa Patel

1 credit

callout arrowLegend

Nurse Deepa Patel and her daughters, Nandani Patel, left, and Radhika Patel. Photo courtesy of Deepa Patel

1 credit

1 credit

Richard F. Gandhi