It was a moment so profound it reduced Reese Hosey to tears. Etched in her memory is the recollection of a patient she will never forget.
Flash back a number of years. Hosey, now a physician assistant with KVH Orthopedics, was a nurse working with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gary Bos at a Yakima hospital.
"This was a big case," she says. "The patient was a middle-aged man with bone cancer who was going to have his leg amputated up to his pelvis. I went in to talk to him, just to get to know him better and I listened as he talked about life and his family and how much they meant to him."
As he spoke, tears welled in Hosey's eyes.
"I started crying," she says. "He knew the surgery wasn't going to save him. He was buying time with his family. You come to realize that we're not just treating the patient, we're treating the family.
"The experience is something I will never forget."
The man's devotion to his family resonated deeply with Hosey, the mother of a now 13-year-old son.
She'd grown up in Yakima, an accomplished fastpitch softball player who dreamed of playing with the Tennessee Volunteers, a top tier college team. Then an injury during her junior year at West Valley High took her out of the lineup and sent her on a different path.
A sports trainer took her under wing and she joined the school's sports medicine club. "So I was doing rehab on myself and learning how the body worked," says Hosey, who proudly recalls the success the club had in competition and served as the group's president her senior year.
Intent on a career in a medical-related field, she enrolled at Washington State University to study sports medicine, switched her major a couple of times and eventually settled on nursing.
In nursing school, two things happened: She learned the pain that had plagued her since high school was due to a torn cartilage – and she became pregnant.
The latter would change her life.
Hosey graduated from nursing school determined to find a career that would fit both her passion for helping make people better and her commitment to playing an active, involved role in her son's life.
Besides working with Bos, stints in family medicine, and as an open heart surgery nurse would follow. "I needed balance between family and career because I'm very involved with my son," says Hosey, who went on to become a physician assistant.
It was while working with as a nurse with Bos in Yakima that Hosey met Jim Repsher and Dena Mahre, both physician assistants. When Bos moved to KVH Orthopedics in 2011, Mahre and Repsher followed.
Last April, Hosey joined them on the KVH team. She's as happy as if she'd just scored a winning run in a championship game. "This KVH group is so amazing," says Hosey who works every other week.
Her schedule allows her plenty of time with her son, much of it spent on the baseball field. This year she coached his West Valley Little League Mariners team, the West Valley All-Star team and a team from the West Valley Baseball Club.
"It's been great to find a home here. Being able to find an employer who gives me time to be a mom and a coach is priceless. They are family-oriented and community service based.
"If I'm not at work I'm on the baseball field. I'm passionate about baseball and I'm passionate about orthopedics. I love seeing people get better."