June 2016
Neuroscience Stepdown
UC Irvine Medical Center
United States




Christina is an amazing nurse every shift. She always goes above and beyond to not only complete the necessary nursing tasks, but also to care for the patient and patient's family with a level of compassion that is inspiring. One particular experience sticks out, and perfectly exemplifies her "super nurse" qualities. We had a long-term patient on our unit whose wife insisted that we do absolutely everything we could to treat her husband. For all intents and purposes, the patient was unable to make decisions regarding his own care. Despite several conversations regarding the limitations of medicine and us running out of treatment options, his wife remained adamant that the patient remain a full code and that we hit him with every intervention we could. Over the months, our interventions became less and less effective and he grew more and more ill. All of us on the floor could see that we were prolonging a life that had dwindling quality, but the family was having a hard time believing that we could not improve his condition.
The day that Christina took over this patient's care, she walked in and knew that he was decompensating. Christina sat down with the patient's wife and, with calm assurance and empathy, discussed the honest condition of the patient. She gently laid out what his body was going through, and his poor prognosis. Because of this conversation, the wife finally decided to make the patient a DNR and soon after, moved him to comfort care only. This was, for obvious reasons, a very emotional decision for her and for the family. As soon as it was determined that he was comfort care, the team rushed in and began to enter orders faster than you could push the "refresh" button in Quest.
Christina was running to and from the medication room, trying to fulfill the orders and keep the patient within the ordered parameters (even though these were changing constantly). In the midst of the marathon, Christina somehow also managed to remain strong in a room full of grieving family members who were coming and going in groups of 4 or 5. At any given moment, she was juggling orders while also somehow sitting down to put an arm around a family member and offer comforting words. Christina's actions during that shift demonstrate why every nurse needs to undergo palliative care education. She made the process of helping this patient pass a beautiful and therapeutic one for the patient and for the family. Her ability to remain steady and fulfill the task-oriented portion of her nursing duties, while surrounded by acutely grieving family members, is incredible. Christina is truly an exemplary nurse, and an inspiration.