Coleen Kelso
November 2016
University of Virginia Health System
United States




We recently had a 30-year-old patient, S, who was diagnosed with probable TB, came here from Southwest Virginia for a lung biopsy and had a significant preoperative stroke. Because she was on isolation for TB, she could not go to rehab until she had been treated for at least two weeks so she ended up being here for close to a month. S was very down about the whole situation, but particularly sad about having to be away from her 4-year-old son for so long. She was worried that he didn't really understand what was going on with her and that he was scared about her being sick and in the hospital. This is where Coleen came in.
Coleen was caring for S one night shift and S talked about her son and her concerns. Coleen provided moral support and then she went above and beyond and decided to make a laminated, hand illustrated book for S's son, explaining her stay at UVA in words and pictures that a four-year-old could understand. Coleen stayed hours after her shift ended to finish this book to give to the patient for her son. S and her mom and boyfriend, all of whom had been visibly unhappy for days, were all very joyful and thankful. S was brought to tears. It was very clear that this special effort meant a great deal to a family going through an extremely difficult time.
Coleen went above and beyond her standard job requirements to ensure the happiness of her patient and her patient's family, helping a young child understand the hospitalization of his mother in a safe and non-scary way. This was an extraordinary act of kindness, demonstrating extraordinary compassion. Coleen's actions made a significant, positive impact on S's patient experience.