ICU nurse reconnects with former patient as colleagues

Local News

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Today is National Nurses Day, a chance to thank those who help take care of us and we have a fun story to celebrate.  

A patient turned co-worker. A Mayo Clinic ICU nurse reunites with a former patient who also works at Mayo more than a year after being admitted.

First News at Nine’s Leeann Stapleton shares their story.

A year and a half ago Briunna Wells went to the emergency room at Mayo Clinic.

“I just wasn’t feeling good and I had expected to just get some steroids or some medication or if it was an infection, some kind of antibiotic to be treated and go home,” said Wells.

Instead of home, Wells went to the ICU. But Wells was admitted, doctors told her she’d ruptured her airway and had pneumonia.

At the time she was a first-year nursing student.

Sara Matthieu, one of the ICU nurses, told her not to worry.

“I probably reminded her six or seven times that she was not going to fail out of nursing school, and it was going to be okay,” said Matthieu.

Now, Briunna is in her senior year, working at Mayo Clinic. A chance meeting.

“My goal is to get to know who my nurses,” said Wells.

 At a gym class reunited the nurse and the once-worried nursing student.

“When I realized that wasn’t talking only about my unit, but she was talking about me and she was talking about nurses who are my friends who I’ve worked with for a long time it becomes very humbling and it gives you a sense of I guess I’m also in the right profession,” said Matthieu.

Having gone through that experience and the care she received, solidified Briunna’s future.

Wells said, “I felt like it was a sign I needed, I felt you know it was God’s way of telling me you know this what I need to do. This is my purpose in life.”

The pair say they will be friends forever.

In Eau Claire, Leeann Stapleton, First News at Nine.

Wells graduates from nursing school in the fall.  Sara Matthiew and the other ICU nurses say they’re proud of her accomplishments.

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