I walked into a room with its lights glaring and television blaring, a room where a man I had never met before would take his final breath two hours later. The attending nurse kindly dimmed the lights and turned off the television. I sat down next to him. I felt panic. I felt sadness, and I felt peace. This individual would have passed without me knowing, yet I was there with him; he wouldn’t be alone.
The No One Dies Alone (NODA) chapter at Jefferson launched in May, 2016. It launched as a vision in which students of Thomas Jefferson University would volunteer their time to offer their compassionate companionship to dying individuals who would otherwise be alone. Our chapter’s mission originated in Eugene, Oregon back in 2001 after a nurse, Sandra Clarke, CCRN, was unable to offer her dying patient the companionship he had requested and she felt he deserved. She fought vigilantly for her vision, and now over 300 programs exist nationwide with Sandra’s vision at their core; Jefferson is proudly home to one more – the only student volunteer chapter about which we are aware.
Jefferson’s highly interprofessional and supportive community allowed for students to oversee NODA’s growth, development, and success. As student volunteers, we come together from all professions to offer compassionate care to individuals in need. Our service offers respite to our hard-working nurses who want to see their patients receive the best care possible, and to the families who cannot be present. While our primary goal is offering our supportive presence to those who are dying who would otherwise be alone, our program is truly special, and our service extends far beyond any mission statement ever could.
DeCleene, Hannah and Kukulich, Patrick
"Reflections from the Bedsides of Dying Patients,"
Collaborative Healthcare: Interprofessional Practice, Education and Evaluation (JCIPE): Vol. 7
, Article 5.
Available at: https://jdc.jefferson.edu/jcipe/vol7/iss2/5