October 25, 2021

TNAA Travel Nurse Plans Wedding for Patient

hospital wedding bouqet made from plastic spoons and coffee filters

CVICU travel nurse

Life as a traveler takes you down many winding roads, and ICU travel nurse Ally Ferguson has found love along the way. She met her now-husband Zane on their first assignment in Dallas in 2015. But this year, she’s helping others secure their love.

Ally and Zane are both healthcare travelers and TNAA ambassadors. They’ve been on assignments in Idaho since January 2021, which brought Ally the opportunity to be in one patient’s life at just the right time.

Dale Thompson was supposed to marry his love, Ginnie Dawson, in early August. However, a hospital stay postponed their matrimony, and Dale found himself in Ally’s care.

“He ended up in our hospital, and he had been saying for several days, ‘I just want to get married,’” Ally remembered. “That was my first day with him, and I said, ‘Well, let’s see what we can do to get you married!’”

From TNAA travel nurse to wedding planner

So, Ally took on her first gig as a wedding planner. She went through the proper hospital channels to get the wedding approved, coordinated with Ginnie to get her at the hospital with the wedding license, and found an ordained minister to officiate the wedding.

“Then, we could say the words, do the thing, and celebrate a little bit,” Ally joked.

Next, Ally went to work on the decorations, “because no wedding is complete without a bouquet, a veil, and a bowtie.” She crafted a bouquet from coffee filters and plastic spoons, a daisy chain from printer paper, a bowtie from PPE equipment, and a veil from a bouffant hair net. All that was left to do then was to get the wedding party ready for the ceremony.

“We got Dale cleaned up, and he was sitting up so proud. It was the best thing ever,” Ally recalled. “I got his bowtie on, and that made him sit up even straighter. It was precious.”

Ally loved helping put a smile on her patient’s face, but it was the moment his bride-to-be walked in that Ally will never forget.

Wedding music played in the hospital unit’s hallways as Ginnie, dressed in her gown of yellow PPE and hair net veil, walked into Dale’s room.

“The second she walked in, his face just lit up,” Ally said. “It was like he was a whole different person. He was ecstatic just to see her.”

Ally had Dale’s family tuned-in on a video call, and her coworkers on the unit eagerly played the part of wedding guests. Soon, Dale and Ginnie were official.

Acts of kindness have a big impact

The whole hospital felt the love that day. Dale’s hospital wedding was the uplift healthcare workers needed in the middle of the pandemic. For travel nurse (and now wedding planner) Ally, connecting personally with Dale and helping make his wedding happen was just the boost she needed.

“I wear an N-95, a hair cover, and a gown. There are very few things [a patient] can tell different from person to person, and it’s just anonymous, I guess is the best way to put it,” Ally explained. “For Dale, I was like, ‘Let’s see what we can do to bring a little brightness to your life.’ When you look at the same four walls for days on end and the same anonymous people every day, it’s just lonely.”

Ally reminds other healthcare workers who are going through a hard time during the pandemic that this will pass and to make the most out of the opportunities to brighten a patient’s day.

“Sometimes you’re presented with an opportunity, and it’s unconventional, or it’s not something you would normally do in a hospital or just in general. But having the opportunity to be able to make that happen and go through the proper channels to make that happen was just amazing,” she said.

It’s the kindnesses we share in day-to-day life – whether they are small or big, planned or impromptu – that make the most significant differences. 

TNAA’s #bethegood campaign

Ally’s story is part of TNAA’s #bethegood campaign. We want to amplify the stories we hear of how you are making a difference in the lives around you through #bethegood.

Nominate yourself or someone you know by tagging #bethegood and @travelnurseacrossamerica on Instagram and tell us how the patient care of a healthcare worker you know (or are) is bringing to light the good our world needs to see more.