In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

January 17, 2019

Patient Care Assistant Makes Snow Angel for Hospitalized Patient

By In the Loop

It had been more than 30 years since one Mayo patient had seen snow, and she wondered aloud what it would be like to see a snow angel. Patient care assistant Kirby Rosenberg was happy to oblige.


A bright, clean blanket of snow covered the ground outside Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys Campus one Sunday in December. It was the kind of snowfall that delights kids — and the kid in many adults. When a patient on the third floor Rehabilitation Unit looked out her window and saw the wonderland below, she thought back to the wintery days of her past. It had been so long — more than 30 years — since she'd seen snow. Wouldn't it be something, she mused aloud, to see a snow angel again?

Enter an angel of another kind. When Kirby Rosenberg heard the woman's comment, he had one thought. "I'm thinking, 'I can make this happen,'" Rosenberg, a patient care assistant, tells us. All he needed was some back-up scrubs to change into so he wouldn't spend the rest of his shift all wet.

Kirby RosenbergAfter locating extra scrubs, Rosenberg told the patient's nurse, Corey Ryan, to bring her over to the window for a surprise. He grabbed his coat and hat and enlisted a colleague, Paula Wagner, to come along and document his efforts. The two headed out to the courtyard under the patient's window. Rosenberg caught her eye, waved, then lay down and began moving his arms and legs to create an angel in the snow. "The patient was really excited to see the snow angel," Rosenberg tells us. "She and her husband talked about it until she was discharged." Which made Rosenberg happy, too. "It's really nice to see you can have that kind of impact," he says. "It's very gratifying to bring that joy and happiness to someone."

While Rosenberg's official duties include things like taking people's vitals and escorting them to appointments, it seems he's really in the joy and happiness business. "Kirby's very helpful to everyone, always willing to go above and beyond to make patients feel better and to put a smile on somebody's face," Wagner tells us. He takes time to visit with patients and to find out what they need, and then does what he can to deliver it. He brings cups of ice or reading material, helps find favorite TV channels, wears Vikings and Twins socks to connect with sports fans — and even creates beautiful memories in the snow.

For Rosenberg, it's all about perspective. "The right attitude goes a long way," he tells us. We think the Mayo brothers would approve of that philosophy. They were even on hand — er, foot — to see him make his snow angel. "I was wearing my Mayo brothers socks that day," Rosenberg says, adding that he pulled up his pant legs so Wagner could snap a pic of Will and Charlie checking out his work. "I'm very excited to be part of Mayo," Rosenberg tells us. "I hope to be here forever." (We hope so, too.)

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Tags: Employee Stories, Kirby Rosenberg, Mayo Clinic Hospital, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Paula Wagner, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Saint Marys Campus

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