Jody Doebbert couples impeccable care with compassion

May 12, 2019

Jody Doebbert didn’t perform the surgery that saved the life of Kenny Meisch. But it was her intuition and alertness that got him to the operating table just in time.

A registered nurse of 21 years, Doebbert has seen countless patients with a wide variety of diagnoses, developing a keen sense when something is off even when tests say otherwise. So when Kenny was readmitted the Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare La Crosse after a gallbladder removal, she kept tabs on more than the equipment readings.

“When he came back in...the doctors monitored a bleed in his abdomen, Jody kept a close eye on him, and she was the one who noticed something was wrong,” said Kenny’s daughter, Josie Meisch. “Even though his numbers seemed normal, Jody figured out something was gravely wrong because she saw the shift in his personality. Now, many people care for patient symptoms and statistics, but Jody saw past all of the facts and figures and saw a change in my dad’s demeanor. She noticed. Jody alerted the doctors and within an hour and a half Dad had an emergency surgery and doctors had removed a liter and a half of blood from his abdomen. The surgeon said Jody is the reason my dad is alive.”

Josie says her family is forever grateful for Doebbert’s quick thinking, nominating her for outstanding service as part of “Nurses: The Heart of Health Care,” sponsored by the River Valley Media Group.

Doebbert, 40, of Trempealeau, who recently earned a Mayo Clinic Daisy Award after a nomination from Josie, was surprised to earn another honor, saying, “I’m very humbled and amazed. ... It’s still kind of hard to believe.”

Previously employed at Winona Health, Doebbert has been at Mayo Clinic for the past three and a half years, developing an interest in the medical field after taking a nursing assistant course her junior year in high school.

Stationed on the observation floor, Doebbert’s tasks change hourly, from assisting with surgery recovery, giving infusions, starting IVs and performing evaluations on short-stay patients, those requiring observation and treatmen t for a period of less than 24 hours.

The hardest days, Doebbert says, involve tending to severely ailing patients for whom treatment is no longer effective. In those devastating situations, Doebbert says, all you can do is your best.

The qualities that make an outstanding nurse, Doebbert says, are dependability, compassion, empathy, trustworthiness and confidence, though many of her patients would also add humor.

A joker with a bubbly, smiley personality, Doebbert enjoys developing a rapport with patients and their families, finding common interests and having lively conversations while delivering the utmost medical and bedside care.

“Jody ... laughed along with (my dad’s) silly jokes and really got to know his personality,” Josie said in her nomination letter.

Nursing is close to Doebbert’s heart, a profession she will likely continue for another two decades. She loves the feeling of making a difference, which she did for the Meisch family in the most profound way.

“He would have died, if it weren’t for nurse Jody,” Josie said of her father. “My mom was so grateful, cried and hugged Jody, and that’s a really rare thing. My dad asked if she could be a part of our family from now on. I need my dad. I can’t imagine life without him. My sister needs our dad. Our kids need their grandpa. My mom needs her husband. And we are going to have Christmas this year with him, all because Jody cared about him enough to pay attention to every aspect of his care.”