Learning to be thankful for the smallest of blessings



Angioe Web

Riley nurse Angie Brouse sees the good in people during difficult times.

By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist, mgilmer1@iuhealth.org

Angie Brouse sees a lot of hard things in her job as a nurse on the pediatric intensive care unit at Riley Hospital for Children. But what she takes away from her experience is something you might not expect.

“My job regularly shows me that there is good in the world,” Brouse said. “Despite the hard or sad situations we encounter in the PICU, there are always people who want to help our patients and their families.”

Whether they be doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, techs, paramedics, transport teams, therapists (occupational, physical, art, music, child life), PSAs or members of the patients’ communities, they all come together to support patients and their families during their time at Riley, she said.

“It’s really refreshing and inspiring to see so many people work together to provide love and care for a group of people experiencing a time of struggle.”

Brouse didn’t always know she wanted to be a nurse, but she did know she wanted to work with children. She earned an education degree in college and worked as a high school Spanish teacher for three years in Winchester, Indiana.

But she wasn’t completely satisfied. She went back to school and got her nursing degree, then set her sights on Riley, where she has worked for three years, including time as a tech.

She’s not an official translator, but her Spanish comes in handy with some patients and their families, allowing her to communicate in a way that provides a level of comfort in a stressful situation.

“In the PICU, there can be really scary situations for families and children,” she said, whether it’s a life-threatening disease, a chronic illness or a serious accident.

Brouse said her patients and their families have taught her that we are all braver and stronger than we realize when faced with tough situations.

“They have also taught me that it is acceptable to take things one day at a time and to be thankful for the smallest of blessings.”

Away from Riley, Brouse likes to work out and try different restaurants. She is rediscovering her love for photography and also enjoys traveling, remembering a study-abroad trip to Spain as “the most fun I’ve had in my life.”

On her best days and her worst days, Brouse is thankful for her faithful companion waiting at home after work. Her rescue dog, Lucy, is part Labrador, part Australian Shepherd and all love.

“She’s a good pal to come home to,” the nurse said.