When one thinks about nurses in general, "compassion" is the term one believes synonymous. However, occasionally, patients and teammates notice a nurse that stands out among others, one who exhibits a genuine concern for humankind. On behalf of a former patient and the nurses' teammates, I would like to recognize Alison Apple, RN for the DAISY award, not for one single heroic event, but for her relentless effort to demonstrate care to each individual patient that she touches and her devotion to patient-centered care.
The first example I would like to share involved a discharged patient, who had an appointment at the near-by dental clinic following her inpatient stay at CMC. Alison ensured that her appointment at the clinic could be arranged so that a teammate could escort her across campus. Following the dental appointment, Alison sent a teammate to help her travel back across campus to Carolinas Medical Center's main lobby to wait for her ride because she had no form of transportation. The patient began to cry as they traveled back across campus. She shared with the Nursing Assistant (NA) that she had experienced a tooth extraction and was in severe pain and did not know how she was going to obtain the medicine prescribed by the dentist. The NA immediately called Alison. Alison had the NA bring the patient back to our unit. She assessed the patient's pain and noted the patient was to have prescriptions, but no funds to get them filled. Alison quietly gave the NA money from her purse and sent the NA to our MCP campus pharmacy to have them filled for the patient, while she waited with her until her transportation arrived. This display of loving-care and kindness did not just end at discharge from the inpatient unit, but followed the patient through until she left our healthcare environment. Alison's actions were notable according to the others on her nursing team, many of which would not have gone to such lengths if given the same situation. They commented "oh, it's just Alison; she goes above and beyond all the time".
A second example of the everyday kindness exhibited by Alison is noted in a letter written by a former patient. Many times patients present to the acute-care setting in a mental health crisis. Given our current healthcare challenges and diminished resources in the community, many times these patients will stay with CMC for safety until other arrangements for treatment can be obtained. The global stigma surrounding individuals suffering from mental illnesses and drug or alcohol addiction, even in an acute-care setting can unintentionally create an environment that is not conductive of a healing environment. The attached letter confirms the patient's own health related experience, noting it to be extremely scary and surreal from her perspective. The patient goes on to describe how much she appreciated Alison as her nurse and noted that her grace, along with her display of kindness and respect made her feel special and as if she were the only patient Alison was caring for at that moment. The interactions between this patient and Alison proved to be impressionable and textbook of a nurse exhibiting a truly patient-centered, loving environment.
It is with great honor that I share this nurse's story on behalf of her team and former patients. Agreeably, "it's just Alison; she goes above and beyond all the time," never seeking recognition or anything in return. To us, her compassion is exemplary and her commitment to her patients is one that inspires us on a daily basis.