Wanda and Paul Jacobs

It was any other normal Saturday in Novant Health Rowan Medical Center’s inpatient care unit, until Donna Salyer called her husband, Anthony, and asked, “Want to do something fun?”

That week, Salyer had been providing care for Paul Jacobs. Through conversations with him and his wife, Wanda, Salyer discovered that their granddaughter was getting married that coming Saturday.

Wanda Jacobs had elected to stay with her husband because she didn’t want to attend the wedding without him, but had the dress she’d planned to wear to wedding there in her husband’s hospital room. “I went to check up on Mr. Jacobs and then I noticed Mrs. Jacob’s dress hanging there. That’s when I realized we needed to do something special.”

The Jacobs’ son-in-law, Greg Allen, said his daughter is their only granddaughter and that she is very close to her grandparents.  “Since her grandparents would not be attending, my wife and I decided to have the wedding video streamed into his hospital room,” said Allen. “This took a bit of coordination between Rowan Medical Center and our videographer, Brian Bunn Films, located in Matthews, North Carolina.”

Allen said that Salyer was instrumental in getting the video streaming set up for the Jacobs to view. “I know that Nurse Salyer was juggling patient care with the set up and I was amazed with the level of dedication that she displayed,” Allen said.

As a result, the Jacobs were able to see the wedding and reception, and also had time to have a face-to-face conversation with the bride and see her in her wedding gown prior to watching the wedding. Wanda Jacobs showed her granddaughter the dress she had planned to wear to the wedding. Shortly after, Salyer’s husband arrived with cake and flowers. “The staff also created a makeshift table complete with tablecloth from a food tray and made the occasion more special for the patient and his wife during the ceremony,” Allen said.

“I am and will always be grateful for such a highly professional nurse and staff to care for my father-in-law,” he said. “The level of compassion that each of them showed over the situation was as comforting as appreciated.”

Salyer said the experience was “unbelievable.”

“There are really no words that I could think of that would be able to describe it,” Wanda Jacobs said. “We were so surprised and so excited because this is our only granddaughter getting married and we had looked forward to this for at least a year,” she said.

Salyer said their granddaughter was excited and grateful to have her grandparents included in the wedding, even if it was from afar. Salyer admitted that she has no experience using video streaming services, and that they would not be able to do it without registered nurse Connor Bost, a new trainee at the hospital.

“Connor is a new hire who has been training with us, and he’s very tech-savvy,” Salyer said. “He navigated the computer during the event and ensured that they did not miss any important features of the wedding. It was like everyone wanted to pull together and make sure everything was perfect for them.”

Salyer said that she loves helping people, and that she does not do it for any kind of recognition. “I did this for the patient and his wife,” she said. “Our team loved making them feel special, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Salyer has been a nurse since 2008 and joined Novant Health a little over two years ago after switching careers from retail management with a jewelry company. “I decided to change the venue, but I wanted to stay in something where I could bring joy to people,” she said.