Baylor Scott & White nurses hold surprise graduation celebration for senior who has been in the hospital for months

Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 6:51 PM CDT
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - Nurses at Baylor Scott & White in Temple made sure a graduating senior still had a celebration despite having to miss her high school and college graduation due to an accident which has left her hospitalized for months.

Fran Holmes, 18, was injured in a serious car accident in which the car she was riding in crashed and caught on fire on April 30.

She was taken to Baylor Scott & White in Temple with numerous injuries, including a broken spine, pelvis, leg, tailbone, and fractures to her kidneys and lungs as well as her hip.

Fran’s undergone 12 surgeries and has remained hospitalized, which kept her from attending her high school graduation at Killeen ISD’s Early College High School. She also missed a second ceremony at Central Texas College, where she graduated with an associate degree.

“I wasn’t just missing one graduation, I was missing two and it was making me real upset and depressed,” Fran said.

Her sad disposition was noticed by Dyana Rice, the nursing supervisor for the trauma progressive care unit, and nurse manager Malinda Sykora.

“One of our mobility techs came to me and was concerned about the patient’s mental health and asked me if I could do her a favor and check in on the patient,” Dyana said.

Dyana took Fran outside to talk in the hospital’s healing garden and that’s when the teen opened up about her struggles.

“She talked about missing her graduation which was scheduled to be that night,” Dyana said. “She was very upset that she wasn’t going to be able to attend her graduation with her friends and felt she was kind of letting down her aunt and uncle who had taken her in and had been caring for her.”

Dyana gave Malinda a call on her way home from work and the two hatched a plan.

They immediately went to work planning a surprise graduation party complete with cake, balloons, gifts and drinks.

“I think, as nurses, we treat a diagnosis, but we have to treat the whole patient and understand what they’re going through,” Malinda said. “We wanted to make her feel special and let her know that other people still care about her, and she matters.”

The party went a long way in lifting Fran’s spirits.

“When we rolled out of the room everybody was there and they said ‘surprise!’ It made me feel good and showed that they cared that much to take time out of their day to do something nice for me.”

Fran recently moved from Temple to a rehab facility in Waco, where she’s expected to stay until Sunday.

She plans to enroll in online courses provided by Prairie View A&M in Houston next semester while she relearns how to walk and plans to major in business management.

If she’s walking in time, Fran hopes to attend the Spring semester on campus.

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