March 2021
Beau
Whetsel
,
RN
Trauma ICU
Orlando Regional Medical Center

 

 

 

Beau continued to engage the family in conversation that allowed the family to express their gratitude for the patient, invited stories to be told, and validated their expression of love for the patient.

Beau works in the Trauma ICU on 4N at ORMC. I had the extreme pleasure of working with him on a very complex and challenging case that really made me appreciate his compassion, skill, and understanding. We spent about 4 hours together throughout his shift as he took care of a patient with a C2 spinal injury that severed the spinal cord. The patient was ventilator-dependent, and presser-dependent. However, the patient was awake and able to respond to basic questions by blinking his eyes, though it was uncertain how much the patient was able to recall or remember. The patient's wife at bedside happened to be a retired RN who spent her career as an Emergency Department RN. As I spent time working with Beau and observing Beau, I couldn't help but notice that he truly exemplified the Orlando Health Way throughout the day as he cared for this patient and his wife and family.

As clinicians, we sometimes have difficulty caring for our own family members without slipping into our roles as clinicians. This was no exception for the patient's wife who was well versed in critical care! I witnessed how strong Beau's relationship was with the patient's spouse, assuring her and putting her at ease by the care Beau provided with the patient and his spouse. Beau was very thorough and innovative, and together he and the patient's wife came up with a plan of care that would provide the patient with dignity, autonomy, comfort, and meaningful in the moment interventions as the family determine to transition to comfort care and hospice services in ICU. Throughout the day, I did not witness the patient's wife slipping into being a nurse for her husband. Beau's assurance enabled her to let that role reside with Beau.

The patient's wife wanted to have a time together when the patient might be able to meaningfully interact with them when the patient's two daughters would arrive. Beau took that desire and ran a marathon! Beau collaborated with speech therapy in an effort to facilitate the patient to use a special device to track the patient's eye movements to specific words and emotions displayed on a video screen. The device would then put a voice to those words and emotions. By using this device, it was hoped that the patient and family would be able to communicate together prior to the planned removal of the ET tube. While the device wasn't able to be calibrated to the patient's eye movements, the speech therapy team was able to facilitate a similar experience using handheld signs for the patient to see and engage.

Beau engaged the entire team and united everyone between the family, speech therapy, Integrative services, and spiritual care to provide exceptional care and end-of-life support for this patient and his family. His singular mission was to honor this patient fully. He provided superior communication at the bedside with the patient and family for everything he was doing, and why, before he did it. He verbalized the actions tying them back to the patient's and family's expressed wishes for the plan of care. He guided everything so thoroughly that the patient's wife was able to engage the clinical team as a family member, and not from her nursing experience.

In a separate conversation I had with the patient's wife, she expressed how comfortable she was with Beau taking care of them; his thoroughness, his compassion, and how he coordinated everything so that the patient's dignity and comfort would be maintained throughout the withdrawal process.

During the withdrawal process, Beau continued to provide assurance with the family regarding the patient's comfort which the family acknowledged and could see. Beau provided the family with the necessary balance of privacy and presence to support the family. When the patient died, his wife hugged Beau and expressed her gratitude for the high level of care and support that he provided them. Beau continued to engage the family in conversation that allowed the family to express their gratitude for the patient, invited stories to be told, and validated their expression of love for the patient.

It was beautiful for me as a chaplain to see how peaceful the family was throughout the day as Beau continued to provide care and support. His passion for nursing was exemplified in the little details of providing comfort. He earned the trust of his team, not just the patient and family. He treated that patient and family as if they were the only ones he was caring for that day and provided a level of expertise that assured them that they were truly cared for.

I had the opportunity to talk with Beau 1:1 during the day while all of this was in process. His care was visibly selfless as he reflected with me regarding the level of emotional energy invested with, not just this patient, but other similar patients in the recent past. And he shared with me how he replenishes himself after difficult cases like this one.

Beau is an exemplary nurse, and it is a privilege to write this nomination because he deserves to be recognized for this level of commitment to his patients, their families, and the Orlando Health Way.