Allyson Scalora is a role model for compassionate care. Many of her most passionate and empathetic moments are when she is sitting with her patients, being present in the moment. Ally makes it her priority to be accountable for her patients. For Ally, this translates into knowing the uniqueness of that person, developing sensitivity to the nuances of nonverbal and verbal messages, having an openness or authenticity in encounters, and being an active listener. To be present, Ally knows that one must be willing to risk the vulnerability that comes with truly knowing another person. Ally cared for a young man who suffered an anoxic brain injury. He was a young lawyer who had his life taken away from him. Ally cared for him for five days. She understood his moods; understood why he acted out. She realized he was frustrated and frightened, and needed the reassurance of an advocate who would speak for him. Ally would advocate for this patient to the MD staff. She would express her concerns for his comfort time and again to the team. She spoke up to have his salem sump switched out for a cortrack. Because this patient was continually biting, the MD team decided he needed a bite block. Again, Ally was proactive in coming to this patient's defense. She explained to the team that his biting and head banging was clearly frustration; a result of him being unable to communicate, almost like he was trapped inside his body. She suggested a mitt and a teething ring. She told the team that this would provide pacification. Low and behold, she was spot on! Ally continued to spend all of her free time in his room. It was clear to her that all he wanted was to have someone present, even if he could not communicate with them, just knowing someone was there was reassuring and comforting to him.
Ally always makes special connections with her patients and their families. They cannot wait to tell me during my rounds how wonderful she is. Just today, I called a patient who was discharged. I asked her if there was anyone she wanted to recognize. Her reply was Allyson because she has a special spirit, a kind of energy, and the patient could sense that.
Ally wrote about a day she had with a patient. Through Ally's eyes, you are able to understand what she offered to this patient emotionally; always being present in the moment. Ally writes, "driving home that evening I was reflecting on my day, thinking about my patient and how much longer she would live. I was comforted by the fact that she allowed herself to be vulnerable and express her feelings when all she had been doing up until that point was putting on a brave face for her family. We learn in nursing school about the importance of being present, although that cannot be taught. Being present, whether it is for a four-hour shift or four 12-hour-shifts, reflects what nursing at its core and is what inspires us to be better care givers. Nursing care is patient centered and our ability to be present is where it all starts. When we initially meet our patients, our attitude and presence are more important than any task or intervention we can provide. If we are not present while caring for our patients then we may miss many pivotal intangible moments: a look, a sigh, a smile. As a nurse, being present brings intrinsic value to our practice. Being present evokes trust, the hallmark of our profession. The nursing process walks us through the objective side of our patients and expert nurses can couple this with perception or our gut feelings to provide well-rounded care. All patients want to receive quality care, but when that care is married with an emotional connection the outcomes are far reaching. When a patient has a positive experience while hospitalized they are likely to harvest feelings, emotions, or truth long after discharge. Being present is not about flow sheets and tasks, it is about our connections and shared humanity, things that make us all similar. When we can turn off our lives at home and attend to our patients with as much presence possible, that is the true art of nursing."
Allyson Scalora will always make herself available to help out on the unit. She is committed to having a trusting relationship and emotional connection with all of her patients. Ally is always involved in many unit-based and hospital-wide committees. She has always viewed this as an opportunity to provide education to her coworkers and implement changes on our unit. She is a CN III. She challenges herself to grow professionally and personally. She speaks without hesitation of how proud she is to be part of this amazing organization and that she looks forward to continued development and learning opportunities in the future.