A good nurse is one who can care for their patients’ physical ailments, a great nurse is one who can care for their souls. Olivia Neufelder is the latter.
Back in December, we ran a story about how Neufelder calmed a dying patient through song. Now, half a year later, The Today Show has recognized her care for others and given back in a big way.
In October 2017, nurse Olivia Neufelder sang her dying patient’s favorite song to calm her nerves. The story spread like wildfire.
On October 23, 2017, Neufelder’s patient, Margaret Smith was at an impasse. She needed a liver transplant but her body was not healthy enough to receive one.
With no treatment options available to her patient, Neufelder offered Smith emotional comfort. The two developed a close bond over the course of Smith’s treatment, a bond that revolved around music.
“She was just the sweetest,” Neufelder told TODAY. “She used to sing in the choir at her church and [singing] just became kind of our thing. She would sing along with me.”
Neufelder knew Smith’s favorite song was “Dancing in the Sky” by Dani and Lizzy. So, as Smith lay there, that’s what she sang to her. Smith was deeply touched by this, as was her best friend, Crystal Hamilton Roberts.
Smith passed away 2 days later which is when Roberts uploaded the video to Facebook. It has since gone viral, earning more than 50 million total views.
The Today Show caught wind of the story and surprised Neufelder with a private concert.
Somewhere along the line, The Today Show caught wind of the story and decided to surprise Neufelder in the lead-up to National Nurses Day. In May 2018, Sheinelle Jones of TODAY met up with Neufelder at work where she unveiled multiple surprises.
First of all, she had brought Roberts and her daughter, Megan, to the Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee to reunite. They were extremely happy to see Neufelder, both giving her big hugs.
After that, Jones told the 3 of them to follow her into a hospital room where Dani and Lizzy were waiting.
“We wanted to come thank you and tell you how touched we were by how far you went above and beyond,” said Dani. “We can only hope that we would all be in that kind of care.”
Yet that wasn’t all the duo came there for.
“We were thinking that maybe you’d want us to sing the song?” Dani offered.
The group, of course, said “yes” and soon they were listening to their own private concert of “Dancing in the Sky.” As Dani and Lizzy sang, Neufelder, Roberts, Megan, and Jones exchanged hugs and tears as they thought about their dearly departed friend.
A private concert from one of your favorite performers is a once in a lifetime experience yet Neufelder had earned it. Thinking back on her care of Smith, Roberts had this to say:
“Never have I ever [before meeting Neufelder] seen anyone care, show, compassion, love as though that was though that was their mother laying there.”