Video: One nurse uses her final days to offer a lesson to students

Martha Keochareon received her nursing degree from Holyoke Community College in South Hadley, Mass. Twenty years later, Martha placed a call to the college. She was dying of cancer, and she had a proposal.

Martha wanted to use her experience with cancer as a way to strengthen the future of nursing. So she volunteered to be examined by nursing students from her alma mater in her final days. They were encouraged to ask questions about pancreatic cancer, pain management and her full range of emotions as she prepared for death. This would allow students to step outside the classroom and experience care for a terminal patient in a very real and illuminating way.

Watch a clip about this inspiring nurse below. You can also find a more detailed account of her story here, in an article by the New York Times.

We’d love to hear from you! Please share your thoughts on Martha’s unwavering dedication to nursing in the comments below.

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3 Responses to Video: One nurse uses her final days to offer a lesson to students

  1. Susan Bagnoli

    death & dying should be part of the of the curriculum. I was an LPN for 35 yrs. & loved caring for hospice pts but because I was an LPN I could not work for a hospice outside of a hospital or nursing is so rewarding to be able to give care to a dying pt. & their family.

    • LauraLaura

      End of life and beginning of life nursing are times that you impact people on the deepest level and what you do is never forgotten!

  2. LauraLaura

    This is a wonderful thing she is doing. I find most nursing programs now are more time spent in the classroom and less clinical time. I could not fill in where I went to school as it no longer exists! I went to PHiladelphia General Hospital. It was a 3 year diploma school in a 1500 bed facility run by the city for the indigent population. We spent countless hours in the clinical arena. The scholastic portion of our learning was some classroom time but quite a bit of the book learning was left to us to do on our own. I utilized the University of Penn Medical library to teach myself from Medical texts. I give this dear woman a great deal of credit for sharing her experiences at the end of her life to enrich the students whose lives she impacted. I have no doubt it will make them better nurses and they will never forget her or what she taught them. I worked ER , ICU, then L&D and then Perinatal Nursing as well as being certified as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner as well as certification in Inpatient Obstetrics. I was an NRP instructor as well as an educator in caring for the critically ill OB patient. Hands on education is a necessity and more nurses should follow the lead this dear woman provided for students. God bless each and every one entering this noble profession! Never stop learning, there is always something more you can learn!