Cheryl Fimian was the assigned nurse for the ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) patient in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU). Throughout the day she displayed an incredible amount of care, concern, and compassion for both patient and family members. The patient had a very poor prognosis and when it was suggested that the patient/family endure another procedure, Cheryl rallied for her patient. While discussing the options with the attending, fellow, and ancillary staff, Cheryl questioned the potential risk versus benefit for the patient. She was articulate and professional when she presented her patient’s history and current condition. Regardless of the outcome, she displayed a passion for her patient’s treatment and comfort that is often overlooked. She made the very best of a very stressful and emotional situation. She is the kind of nurse that makes all healthcare workers stand proud.
I had the opportunity to work with Cheryl closely on a case with a very sick ECMO patient. Cheryl was the bedside nurse and I was the ECMO specialist (respiratory therapist). The patient was doing very poorly, and the family was having a difficult time coming to terms with the prognosis. Cheryl showed extraordinary compassion while gently helping to lead the team and family delicately through the withdrawal of care. Including the entire family in the process, she facilitated Mom holding the baby for the first and final time. Despite a gloomy outcome, Cheryl took the situation and made it a bittersweet one for the family. She went above and beyond to care for the patient and family. She exemplifies everything a nurse should be.