Nurse rewarded for her kindness, compassion

Nurse takes in patient with special needs

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The relationship between a patient and a nurse usually ends when the shift is over.

For about 10 years, that was the case for Charmaine Wilkins and her special needs patient Brianna.

But a few months ago, that changed.

Brianna's biological mother fell on hard times and talks of her putting the little girl in foster care became a reality.

"I looked at the situation and I didn't want her to go into the system. It's not that I don't trust the system, but I've been working with her for 10 years. I know her like the back of my hand," Wilkins said. "So I thought, could anybody else do what I do? Not that they can't love her, but can they do what I do?"

They couldn't, so Wilkins being led by her compassionate heart, got temporary custody of Brianna.

"I wanted to do it. I wanted to be the one that could give her the care and know that she was getting everything that she needed and not worry in the back of my mind how is she doing or is she OK, is she sick," Wilkins said.

And it's that kind of action that caught the eye of Mandy Martin.

"I don't think many people would do what she has done. A lot of us have thoughts and prayers, but she actually goes into action," Martin said.

She's one of Charmaine's coworkers working with the Niamtu family, providing care for their two boys with special needs.

"She has been the most dedicated, loyal and loving nurse that I've had on my staff. I am in awe of the strength and the power that she has," April Niamtu said.

Wilkins doesn't have much time for herself. She drives to nursing school in Washington, DC, three days a week, takes care of her mother, her niece and Brianna and on Saturdays she goes to the Niamtu house to take care of Joey.

"She's just a wonderful kind person," Martin said.

So she led the charge and reached out to NBC 12 nominating Charmaine for our "Acts of Kindness."

We were happy to help, giving her $300 to do something nice for herself.

"It makes me really really happy, because I do a lot. Sometimes you feel like you're unnoticed, but I know everybody loves and supports me," Wilkins said. "People say, 'how do you do it?' I just do it. I don't put a second thought to it. Everything has to worry about something, and I worry, but I don't let that be a worry. I put it in the Lord's hands and I'm moving on and it always works out for me, no matter what."

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