Carrie Fraser is an outstanding Surgical Trauma ICU nurse. She balances the technical, fast paced world of ICU with heart-warming compassion. Carrie is excellent at caring for the sickest, most complex trauma and surgical patients. She also manages to orient our new nurses, serve as the STICU representative on the Shared Decision Making Council as well as other hospital committees, and teach nursing education classes. But where she really excels is her compassion. Most of our patients are unable to speak for themselves or participate in their care, so they rely on their loved ones to do this for them. Carrie ensures that loved ones are cared for just as much as patients are. She always provides condition updates, education, and hugs to those that the patient would consider family.
A few months ago a man and his wife were traveling through our area and were rear-ended on the interstate. There was a prolonged extraction. The man suffered a cardiac arrest in the field. EMS was able to resuscitate the man and both were transported to WakeMed. The wife sustained orthopedic injuries and was admitted to 6C to await surgery. The man was taken to the OR emergently where they worked to control his abdominal bleeding. They performed a splenectomy, and controlled the bleeding from his liver. He was brought to the STICU in hemorrhagic shock to be further resuscitated and warmed. He received over 50 units of blood products. As soon as he was stable enough he was transported to CT scan because the trauma scans had not yet been able to be completed. He was found to have an Atlanto-occipital disassociation and brain infarct. This is not a survivable injury.
Carrie assumed care of the patient shortly after the completion of the CT scans. The wife's surgery had been cancelled due to these circumstance, their children had arrived from out of town. Carrie called the nurses on 6C and together they orchestrated a plan that would enable the couple to spend this important time together. The life sustaining machines were pushed to the edges of the small room and the wife's bed brought in beside her husbands'. The rails were lowered between the beds to allow the wife to hold her husband as he was dying. She rolled a cart in the room and placed on it refreshments for the family. When the family was ready, the machines were stopped. The husband/father died at 1941. Carrie remained with them even though her shift was over.
Over the next few days Carrie went to 6C to check on the wife as she had her surgery and in the days after. She developed a relationship with this family that will not be forgotten. Carrie is incredibly skilled at all the ICU "stuff", but what sets her apart is her realization that what she does to save a life is just as important as what she does when a life is ending. Carrie is a remarkable nurse in many ways, but what stands out is her kindness and compassion for her patients and their loved ones.