Sparrow Caregiver gives her own shoes to Patients in need

Published: July 6, 2016

Because Ellie Idalski makes a habit of trying to walk a mile in the shoes of her Patients, she also lets the Patients walk in her shoes.

Idalski, a Registered Nurse who works as a Discharge Planner for Sparrow’s Patient Support Services, learned recently that an indigent Patient who was about to be discharged literally had no shoes to wear out of the hospital. Circumstances prevented the woman from returning to her apartment to retrieve her belongings, and she had no family or friends to bring her shoes.

Idalski, who always keeps a spare pair of shoes in her office, asked the Patient what size she wore. Seven, the woman replied. It was, indeed, a lucky number. Idalski also happens to wear size seven. She immediately retrieved her spare shoes and gave them to the Patient.

One of Idalski’s colleagues, Nurse Shelly McGeehan, nominated Idalski for Sparrow’s Caregiver Spotlight honor. The award is given every month to a Sparrow Caregiver who provides extraordinary care, making sure the needs of our Patients always come first.

“This is a great example of how selfless she is,” McGeehan wrote in her nomination.

This wasn’t the first time Idalski gave her shoes to a Patient. Once before in her 25 years at Sparrow she ran into a similar situation.

“That Patient also wore a size 7,” Idalski said with a chuckle.

After that, Idalksi made it a point to keep a spare pair of shoes in her office in case a Patient needed them.

“Unfortunately,” she said, “so many people have nothing because they live in unsafe situations, or they’ve burned their bridges. When I have 20 pair of shoes at home and two in my office, I couldn’t in good conscience turn my back on a Patient in need.”

Idalski said she sees that kind of kindness all around her at Sparrow.

“This is a compassionate group of people. If they see a need and can help, they do. When somebody sends out an email asking for contributions, people always come through.”

Sparrow Nurses are a crucial part of Sparrow’s mission to provide quality, compassionate care to every Patient, every time. Sparrow has received the Magnet Designation for Nursing, the nation’s most prestigious honor for nursing achievement and excellence.

Choose Wisely. Choose Sparrow.