Alena Agatep, RN, (right), an open-heart nurse who treated Linette, with her supervisor, Lisa Seldon, RN, director of the intensive care unit where patients go after heart surgery.

In November 2007, Linette Iloh, then 17, was admitted to Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital for open-heart surgery – something she never expected. Now, 10 years later, she is graduating from nursing school, all because of the compassionate nurses who cared for her.

At the time of her surgery, Linette was studying to become a lawyer at Coppin State University in Baltimore on a full softball scholarship. After discovering that she had pericarditis, an enlarged heart, a specialist referred her to the skilled heart care team at Washington Adventist Hospital for open-heart surgery.

She says this experience changed her life because of two nurses who were particularly comforting during a tough time.

“I had two of the best nurses,” Linette, now 27, told ABC News.

She remembers the nurses praying with her before her surgery and that one nurse was holding her hand after the anesthesia wore off.

One of those nurses was Alena Agatep, RN, an open-heart nurse who has worked at Washington Adventist Hospital treating heart surgery patients for more than 20 years.

“As a nurse, when you wake up and come into work every day, you often don’t realize that you can really make a difference in somebody’s life. When I heard about Linette becoming a nurse, it reminded me that the simple things we do for patients each day can really change a person’s life,” said Alena Agatep.

Alena said she was inspired to pursue nursing due to her desire to help people heal and to act as a role model for fellow nurses and patients.

Now, Linette will go on to spread the kind of compassionate care that made a difference to her as patient. She graduated Tuesday with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Bowie State University.

“Its patients like Linette who keep me motivated. It is an incredible opportunity to help them heal not just physically, but also spiritually and mentally,” added Alena.

Want to hear from more grateful patients like Linette? Check out this story from our latest magazine.

Source: ABC News