Remarkable Moment: Changing a patient’s outlook with a snip and a shave

December 02, 2021
remarkable moments v6

A patient at New Hanover Regional Medical Center had been receiving care for four weeks when he learned that he would need two more weeks of care. His hair was long, his beard was bushy and his attitude was prickly.

Amy Hewett, now NHRMC Behavioral Health Hospital manager, met with the patient and asked what would make him feel better. He explained that, in the weeks before he was hospitalized, he hadn’t seen his barber due to COVID concerns. Now, after four weeks in the hospital, he felt “disgusting.”

Once she heard this, Amy offered to cut his hair. Skeptically, he asked, “Would you really?”

Amy said she would bring her clippers in the next day. While she is not a professional, she told him she has experience cutting her children’s hair. She also has cut hair for about a dozen patients during her nursing career.

The patient agreed to the haircut, and his demeanor changed instantly. The evening nurse reported that the patient told her how excited he was to get his hair cut.

As promised, Amy brought in the clippers the next day. Tears welled up in the patient's eyes when she walked into his room. “I can’t believe you’re really going to do this,” he said.

The patient could not sit upright for long periods of time, so it took about two hours for Amy to cut 12 inches off his hair, wash it, trim his beard and shave his neck.

For Amy, it was time well spent.

“You feel so much better when your hair is cut and washed,” she said.

The patient was excited to see his wife that evening. “I can’t wait to surprise her,” he told Amy. “She might want to take me on a date.”

Amy’s kindness embodies the Novant Health mission of improving the health of our communities, one person at a time. By treating her customer with kindness, patience, empathy and respect, she also exemplifies compassion, one of Novant Health’s core values.

Thank you for going above and beyond to make this patient’s stay remarkable, Amy!