UMC ICU nurses talk about personal experience with Giffords

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- They're the ones who watched over Gabrielle Giffords, providing care and support.

The trauma nurses working in the ICU at University Medical Center talked about the personal moments they shared with the congresswoman.

Caring for shooting victims, or a surge of multiple patients, is nothing new for trauma ICU nurses.

What they take away from their job, the most valuable memories, are those of personal connections.  Like the ones they made with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

For Angelique Tadeo it was music.

"It was Mana, a Mexican rock band I just love, and so does she apparently and so it was nice I got to bring in a CD for her and we listened to it every night," said Tadeo.

Tracy Culbert says she developed a special bond with Giffords.  In a photo, Culbert can be seen sitting beside the congresswoman on the plane ride to a Houston rehabilitation center.

Culbert says Giffords had touched her necklace, which held a charm in memory of Culbert's deceased father.

"My dad passed away about three years ago and this is a fingerprint impression of his thumb," said Culbert.  "And she reached in to pull me forward to hug me and I said, 'Gabby you're going to make me cry.'  And she patted my back like it's OK."

The nurses say they were touched by the experience of watching over the patients and their families.

However one visitor made a huge impact, President Barack Obama.

"He spoke with Mr. Barber quite a bit as well as Michelle and they spoke with the family and I got a hug.  So it was great," said Culbert.

Sharing stories, interests, and aiding Giffords on her road to recovery, the nurses say they feel incredibly grateful to be a part of it all.

All five nurses play a role at various times of Giffords' stay at University Medical Center.

On the day of the shooting one nurse says she was on a plane headed back to town when she heard the false report that Giffords was dead.