Find a heart of gold at Over the Rainbow gift shop

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‘Miss Nancy’ has laughed and cried with thousands of patients, families and team members during her 11 years behind the cash register at the hospital gift shop.

Nancy Bluitt has the kind of welcoming smile that puts people at ease. In her job as cashier at Over the Rainbow gift shop in the Riley Hospital for Children Outpatient Center, she has been an encourager, a jokester and a counselor for thousands of people who have walked through the shop’s doors over the past 11 years.

What do you love about your job? “I love the people, especially the children, and being helpful to the families, because sometimes they’re going through quite a bit. I tell them, come in and talk anytime. I’m here 9 to 5 Monday through Friday. I try to be a comfort to people. I kid and tease, I try to make them smile a little, get their mind off their worries.”

But for those customers who are prone to complain about little things, she sometimes delivers a gentle reprimand: “Can’t you just be happy that you got up this morning? You keep worrying about this little bitty stuff, and you’ll worry yourself to death.”

Family: She has two grown children, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Two of the grandchildren are finishing college, one is about to graduate high school and the youngest will soon start high school. Her great-granddaughter is “3 going on 30.” Nancy is always surrounded by friends and family. Her sister and nephew live next door to her in half a double, and her daughter and granddaughter live on the other side of the double. “We’re all right there together; it makes it really nice.”

How do you keep busy outside of work? “I volunteer with my sister in the spring for the Indiana Golden Gloves to raise money for scholarships, and I’m a 22-year member of the American Legion Auxiliary. We do fundraising and work with homeless and disabled veterans, and we do a lot of projects at the VA Hospital.”

She tries to surround herself with good people and good works, but like anyone, she has problems too. She turns to her faith for comfort: “Without Jesus there would be no me. I talk to him all the time; prayer really helps me, it gives me a little more peace.”

Something people may not know about her: She loves to sing karaoke, and she goes to the casino a few times a year just for kicks.

Know a team member or volunteer who deserves a shout out here? Email with the person’s name, job and hospital location, and I’ll do the rest.

– By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist