A picture-perfect nurse

Amanda Cundiff, R.N., creates joyful memories for a Norton Healthcare maternity patient.

Amanda Cundiff, R.N., a labor and delivery nurse at Norton Hospital, has been taking photos for over 14 years. She enjoys being behind the camera to creatively capture moments that people will recall and treasure. Not long ago, Amanda saw an opportunity to use her photography skills to help a patient.

Chautauqua Henderson, an expectant mother, had been sent to the hospital following a maternity appointment and would have to stay until her delivery. The mom-to-be was disappointed about having to cancel her carefully planned maternity photo shoot.

“I thought I had plenty of time, but you know, babies and pregnancy, you just never know what’s going to happen,” Chautauqua said.

When Amanda learned about Chautauqua missing out on making a special memory, a lightbulb went off in her head. She wondered, “Would she be open to me taking her maternity pictures?”

Amanda ran the idea past her leadership team and the patient’s doctor before finally asking Chautauqua.

“At first she said, ‘Are you sure? How much?’ and I told her I’m not asking for money,” Amanda said.

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She told Chautauqua, “I think my heart needs this and your heart needs this too. We’ll have fun and get you out of your room.”

So that’s exactly what they did. Amanda took Chautauqua to the hospital’s Family Comfort Garden and to the rooftop of the parking garage to snap some very special photos.

“We had so much fun! In the pictures we took, her IV was still in. I think that kind of spoke volumes [about] her pregnancy journey,” Amanda said.

When Amanda presented the finished photos, the parents were overwhelmed with joy.

“It just meant so much — for it to be my first time experiencing this, being stuck in the hospital for weeks, not being prepared for the moment,” Chautauqua said. “To have someone think about us, to capture this special moment, a moment that I wouldn’t ever get back again, it truly, truly meant the world.”

Chautauqua gave birth to a sweet baby girl — Tenley — a few days after the photo shoot.

“I like to make people happy and make people smile,” Amanda said. “It was just something nice that I knew I could offer somebody who was hurting to make their day and their time at Norton Healthcare better.”

Emily A. Lyons, R.N., nurse manager at Norton Hospital, was not surprised that Amanda went above and beyond to help.

“Amanda would give you the shirt off her back if she knew you needed it,” Emily said. “That’s just who she is.”

Amanda feels honored to be recognized. But true to her nature, she said, “To me it’s not a big deal. I would have done it for anybody.”

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