Bethany Anderson, Northside Hospital Gwinnett

She goes the extra mile to help patients with clothes, wheelchair

Nurse Bethany Anderson said she will do nearly anything to improve her patients’ lives.

While at work at Northside Hospital Gwinnett, she’s called her husband — Gwinnett County firefighter Austin Anderson — more than once and asked him to sort through his clothes and bring some of them to the hospital for a patient without any extras.

“You do what you can for your patients, Anderson said.

“Being at the bedside can be difficult, but it can also be very rewarding when you have these particular patients and you feel like you are able to help them,” she added.

That’s why Anderson was presented with an AJC Nurse Excellence Award on Tuesday. About 800 nurses were nominated, with 10 being honored.

Anderson, 29, has been a nurse since 2016. She decided on her career choice as a teenager and earned her nursing degree from Gwinnett Technical College. The Andersons live in Snellville.

Last year, one of her patients needed a wheelchair. An autoimmune disease had caused severe muscle weakness, and the patient couldn’t walk.

Because he didn’t have health insurance or the money to pay for a wheelchair, however, he had to stay in the hospital, service coordinator Abigail Markham said.

“He was in tears as he had no money to pay for one and no family to assist,” she said.

Hospital services found a nonprofit that would sell him a wheelchair for $25 — money he had — but it would cost $75 to have it delivered. That was money he did not have.

“He literally had nobody to help him,” Anderson said. “Nobody could pick it up for him. He had no family here.”

Anderson called her husband, who agreed to pick up the wheelchair and bring it to the hospital. However, those plans fell through because the patient had no ID and could not get the wheelchair without one.

On to Plan B. Anderson and her husband purchased the recommended wheelchair from Amazon Prime for $125 and had it delivered to the hospital the next day.

As the patient was set up for discharge and arranged to leave, the wheelchair showed up in his room, said Markham, who nominated Anderson for the award.

“The patient was in tears and disbelief, stating he could not believe the hospital was so kind as to provide him with a wheelchair,” she said. “He stated his faith in humanity had been restored again.”

Anderson, who never told him where the wheelchair came from, said “she wanted to make a small difference in this patient’s life after being dealt a rough hand.”

“When you do get those patients who are so appreciative, those are the ones who make you remember why you do (nursing),” Anderson said. “They are the ones who really need your help.”

Read about the other winners