Mission Moments: TMC nurse donates plants for new garden honoring organ donors

JobyJoby Jacob has been groomed in intensive care units the entire span of her 19-year career as a nurse, witnessing countless moments when patients and families experience their most vulnerable times.

“Over the years, I’ve seen the hard decisions family members have had to make,” said Joby, who came to Tucson Medical Center 18 months ago.

Organ donation is not right for every family, but when there is no hope of recovery for the patient, Jacobs said she has observed that organ donation can bring some degree of comfort to both the health care provider and the family. “In a situation where families and loved ones are in unimaginable sorrow, it seems to bring some degree of peace in their heart to have an opportunity to give and make a difference in the life of someone else.”

She recalls one family in Baltimore, in deep mourning when their healthy son was brought into the hospital in a coma after being mugged by a street gang.  She witnessed how hard it was for a mom to lose her son – and yet bravely decide to use his life to help others awaiting life-saving transplants. The family came back every year to the unit – not only to thank the healthcare team, but to share how organ donation had helped lessen the heartache of losing their loved one.

When Joby came to TMC, she became the chair of the Donor Network Committee, which has a focus on ensuring that both the staff and the family are supported and honored in such situations. The idea of the Garden of Life came to materialize, which was dedicated at a ceremony in mid-April. “I wanted a space where family or staff can sit and respect the choices that are being made, and have that time to reflect in a dedicated area,” she said.

Joby spent her own time and donated some of the plants and flowers to make the garden as inviting as possible. She herself doesn’t have a green thumb, but picked out what the nursery told her would be beautiful – yet hardy – stock for the garden.

Flowers hold a special place for Joby because her 7-year-old son has a routine in which he picks a flower along the way for her on their family walks together. “For me, just a simple flower says so much and has so much meaning, especially because it represents love and appreciation. I want that feeling and ambiance for the patio.”

As a professional development specialist, Jacob said she knew that nursing was the right profession for her.  “No matter how mentally, physically and emotionally demanding our job is, every day as a nurse we are given the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. And for that reason, we are blessed.”

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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