Cara Brindley

Cara Brindley, RN, BSN

OB/GYN/GYN Oncology
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
United States

Cara is a Clinical Nurse II on Silverstein 7 a diverse women's health unit inclusive of multiple specialties. This unit can be challenging for nurses, both emotionally and physically as we provide care across the continuum to women experiencing devastating diagnosis, complex treatments and life changing events. Cara is an inspirational nurse who exemplifies the qualities of compassionate Patient Centered Care. Cara possesses qualities that make her skilled clinician and an empathetic caregiver. One example occurred during a recent change of shift handoff. It was change of shift and Cara's patient was complaining of chest pain, waiting for a STAT heparin drip and vomiting. The medical team was rushing around in the hallway preparing to whisk the patient off to a scan. Upon entering the room, I expected to find an understandably chaotic scene. Instead, what I found was a confident and knowledgeable nurse at the patient's bedside, comforting the patient and thoroughly explaining everything as it was happening. At the same time, Cara was searching for a pulse by Doppler, instructing her new orientee on how to program an infusion pump and collecting vital signs. There must have been one hundred thoughts going through her head at this moment, but with her comforting and quietly self-assured demeanor, Cara had the situation under control. This situation is a perfect illustration of how Cara strives to put the patient first. Her maturing clinical skills and knowledge recognize the acuity of an emergency situation, but Cara never loses sight of the patient's needs and consistently provides compassionate and holistic care to her patients. Her commitment to patient education is apparent in her everyday practice and she strives to provide information to her patients in a truly accessible manner. I could see in the aforementioned scene that Cara was skillfully educating her patient on the situation without overwhelming or scaring her. As the doctor came to examine the patient, Cara was making jokes to make the patient laugh and feel comfortable. The patient was quickly transferred to another unit and as she was getting on the stretcher, the patient expressed how she was disappointed she had to leave Cara. She had only been this patient's nurse for approximately twenty minutes and in that twenty minutes Cara worked tirelessly to ensure the patient's stable condition and timely administration of medication and transport to the scan. This type of care is not unusual for Cara who is consistently patient centered in her approach. Cara's excellence does not stop at the bedside, she is passionately dedicated to Patient Safety and Patient Education. Cara routinely identifies opportunities for improved patient care and follows through with creating solutions. Several months ago, Cara was caring for a patient who was acutely ill as well as obese. This patient was extremely fearful of using the ceiling lift to be moved. Cara knew something had to be done so she contacted the safe patient handling experts and found some alternate ways to use the ceiling lift that were both safe and comfortable for this patient. Cara then, without being asked, began in-servicing staff on how to use these safe patient handling items to move this patient in a way that she was comfortable with. Cara now serves as the Safe Patient Handling Committee Representative for Silverstein 7 and continues to be a resource for staff and share her knowledge on this important topic. Cara is an active member of the Patient Education and Health Literacy Committee. Cara has worked with this interdepartmental committee to update the hospitals online patient education documents for content and reading level. Cara has worked on the Silverstein 7 unit to update the units Patient Education Library routinely checks that information is up to date and available to our patients. During a recent backorder of Lovenox Patient Education Kits, Cara worked with the pharmaceutical company to keep patients and staff up to date when kits became available. Cara also was instrumental in bringing the Lovenox teaching video to patient's televisions. Cara is thorough in her practice and sets her fellow nurses up for a good day. She anticipates patient care needs and provides thorough education regarding diagnosis, medications and plan of care. Cara utilizes the interdisciplinary forum of Care Coordination Rounds to put in place resources needed to provide excellent patient experiences which extend beyond discharge from the hospital. Cara is a role model to her colleagues and demonstrates authentic leadership of the nursing professional practice model "Care, Innovate, Lead". Cara is skilled clinician, a patient advocate and a valued team member. It is with high regards that we nominate Cara for this well-deserved honor.