U-M nurse anesthetist helps those in need at work, at home, around the globe
It’s not unusual for Elizabeth Studley to spend the majority of her day helping others.
As a nurse anesthetist at C.S. Mott Children’s and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, as well as Henry Ford Hospital, Studley closely monitors multiple patients each day making sure they are safe, comfortable and relaxed.
Working alongside an anesthesiologist, she administers pain control and relief for people of all ages.
“I try to help patients have a great experience from the moment we meet before surgery until when they wake up in the recovery room,” she says.
Studley’s determination to help others doesn’t diminish when she leaves work. Throughout the year she volunteers at New Directions, an orphanage on an 80-acre campus in Farmington, run by Lutheran Child and Family Service of Michigan. Each holiday season, she encourages co-workers, friends and family to donate to the orphanage so that each of its 200 kids has a great holiday. Since 2008, Studley has raised approximately $35,000 a year in gifts and clothing.
In 2011, Studley was presented with a new challenge: helping 24 18-year-old graduates from the orphanage transition to homes in the Oakman Place apartment complex, built by Lutheran and Family Service to house this community for discounted rates based on their income.
Studley’s task was to get each tenant everything they needed for their first apartment. She went to work soliciting donations from colleagues and received bed sheets, shower curtains, linens, dishes, laundry detergent, toasters, kitchen utensils and furniture for each graduate.
Studley’s volunteer efforts may seem like a lot, but she says she’s doing what makes her happy.
“I used to come home from work thinking ‘that was the best day ever’,” she says. “But that feeling stopped soon after I left the hospital. The normal things like watching TV or going shopping just weren’t fulfilling anymore. I found that fulfillment by continuing to help others.”
That help extends far beyond the borders of Studley’s community. She also organizes medical mission trips to Kenya with Kenyarelief.org and her employers.
Close to 40 U-M and Henry Ford surgeons, pharmacists, nurses, surgical technologist and nurse anesthetists piled into Studley’s house last Sunday to discuss plans for this year’s Africa trip— the third Studley has organized.
The medical team will visit a freestanding clinic in Kenya to provide much-needed medical relief to people in local communities, many who travel for miles to see a physician for the first time in their lives. In three days, the team will see 600-700 patients and perform up to 125 surgeries.
Studley says she’s just happy to have this opportunity to provide aid to others in need.
“When you see what some people are going through, you just feel blessed you’re able to do something to help.”