Amy Hutton Beder treasures a vivid childhood memory that embodies both her beloved father, Dr. Daniel Hutton, and her passion for nursing.
“My dad often comforted his patients by holding their hands and spending time with them. One day, when I was with him while he was making rounds, I watched him brush his patient’s teeth. I was a child, and that image has stayed with me,” she said.
Amy often asked to ride alongside her father in his old green Ford Galaxy 500 car and accompany him on his hospital rounds. Dr. Hutton, a Monroe family practice physician for 44 years, checked on his hospitalized patients twice a day. Her father was a major influence from the time Amy was seven years old, she said.
“We had rotary phones back then, and I couldn’t stay on the phone long because Dad was always on call. I still remember him carrying his doctor’s bag, dressed in a suit and cufflinks every time he left our house. He made house calls and spent an hour and a half with each of his patients during their physical exam,” she said. “He was such a giver—he did anything for anybody. He was a humble and kind person. He was my hero. He taught me honesty, hard work, and dedication. My dad is the reason I went into medicine.”
As a child, Amy frequently visited the hospital nurse’s station where she watched the nurses assist her dad. “When I sat at the nurse’s station, I would tell my dad that I wanted to grow up and be just like them. He just smiled.”
Her childhood dream came to fruition. A registered nurse at P&S Surgical Hospital since 2009, Amy has been a nurse for 26 years.
Amy was destined to be a nurse, said Dr. Timothy J. Mickel, a surgeon on staff at P&S.
“Amy is everything a good nurse should be: caring, compassionate and competent. But more than that, she is a true giver — a cheerful giver — and one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. It would have been a great loss to the world had she not chosen nursing as a profession. We are fortunate to have her at P&S.”
Her mother Kathryn is a retired Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, which meant dinner table discussions were peppered with medical jargon during Amy’s childhood. Kathryn advised Amy to “get a good education and a job so she could provide for a family on her own, if necessary.”
Kathryn, now 84, said Amy is like her father. Amy’s father died of Alzheimer’s at the age of 80 in 2016.
“She, like her father, is helpful and thoughtful. She is one of the sweetest people I have ever known. Amy has always been a people person—she always helped people whether she had time for it or not. She is very precious and very lovable. I wish everybody had a daughter like her,” Kathryn said.
Amy eventually had her own children, both of whom she describes as “very smart.” Allie was born in 2001, and Evan was born in 2008. Evan, who was born with Down Syndrome and additional medical complications, also significantly impacted Amy as a person and as a nurse.
“I relied on what my dad taught me, but I think I became even better after having Evan and experiencing first-hand what a patient needs and what the patient’s family needs.”
Evan underwent several surgeries, and Amy was uncertain what his future would hold.
“For the first time, I was on the other end of the medical field. I was the mother, and I was in this vulnerable position. I had to rely on the nurses and the doctors, and that was a scary feeling. When you are handing over your baby, you have to trust them. I saw a completely different side of nursing because I knew what it felt like to be scared. That changed my life in 2008.”
Today, Amy’s nursing philosophy always encompasses the needs of the patient’s family.
“The families of the patients are just as important because they are going to care for the patient at home holistically. If you take care of the family members, they can better take care of the patient. You relieve some of their fears and educate them and build them up so they can do what they need to do at home, and that’s part of nursing.”
The old adage, “it takes a village,” is one Amy firmly believes is true.
“My experiences with Evan have made me depend on people and ask for favors I normally would not ask. I have a slew of friends, neighbors, families, and co-workers in my village,” she said. “P&S is the best place I have ever worked. I am so appreciative of my work family because they have allowed me the flexibility to be a single mom and take care of a child with special needs and a father with Alzheimer’s.”
Amy benefited from observing and receiving similar support as a young child. Her father gave her his undivided attention, a practice she emulates with her patients today.
“Dad always listened to his patients, and when I needed him, he gave me his complete attention. I could call his nurse and say, ‘I need Dad.’ She would say, ‘Absolutely! Come in at 3.’ He would shut his door, sit right across from me and ask, ‘What can I do for you?’ He sat and listened while I cried. I felt special when I was with him. He was my dad, and he was amazing.”
By Laura Clark