Local nurse proves laughter and singing can sometimes be the best medicine

Posted at 9:35 PM, Mar 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-12 23:35:35-04

If you have to have surgery at West Valley Medical Center you might not ever see nurse Tommy Rushton, but chances are you’ll hear him.

“My nickname is the signing nurse,” said Rushton. “I like to sing.”

But it’s more than just singing. Rushton does whatever he needs to keep his patients calm and comfortable and ease their fears before going into surgery.

That’s exactly what he did with Kathy Salfingere when she was headed into surgery and feeling extremely anxious.

“I was right in the room right next to the nurse’s station and I heard a male voice,” said Salfingere.

That voice was Rushton, doing what he always does, telling jokes. 

“We were calling patients for the next day and I said if I had surgery first thing in the morning I would call them the night before and say hey you have to move my surgery later cause I ate tomorrow morning at 6 o’clock so I’m not going to be able to have surgery till 2 in the afternoon,” laughed Rushton.

Instantly Salfingere said she felt less nervous.

"Just even laughing when I heard him at the nurse’s station was just a relief from the anxiety and that kind of thing,” said Salfingere.

But the laughter was just the start of Rushton’s medicine. The next dose was his voice.

“I always ask them if they want me to sing first. i don’t just go and throw it out there and if they don’t want me to I remind them who is giving them their pain meds if they need it,” laughed Rushton. “No, i’m just kidding.”

Rushton said he does his best to give his patients an experience they will never forget in the best possible way.

"If there is no humor in life than there is no life,” said Rushton.

And Salfingere is proof that Rushton is unforgettable.

“I feel like he is just part of the surgery now,” said Salfingere. “He has to be there like the surgeon."