Deanna Davenport

Deanna Davenport, RN

Inpatient Spinal Cord Injury Unit
VA Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center
Houston, Texas
United States

Ms. Davenport was nominated by several colleagues as well as her spouse!

Husband Writes:

"My wife has worked very hard to be where she is right now. Our son was born in 2000 with Spina Bifida, Hydrocephalus, and Diabetes Insipidus. We have been in & out of hospitals his whole life. My wife made the observation that there were good nurses, and there were bad nurses, or maybe burnt-out nurses. She decided to go to nursing school to be one of those that would do right by the patient. He was her inspiration for her every move. She not only went back to school, she started as a CNA, then went to LVN, then went to RN, and she is currently pursuing her MSN. She is truly amazing.

She started with the VA in 2008 in Shreveport, LA (where we are from) in Mental Health but she really wanted to be in Spinal Cord Injury. There was not an SCI unit in Shreveport, so she applied with Houston and was hired. We moved to Houston in 2011 and she has been in SCI ever since. Many of her patients have complimented her on her nursing skills of going "above and beyond" and have even told her manager.

I am so proud to be her husband & the rest of our family is so proud of all her accomplishments. Our son is her biggest cheerleader and her rock for her aspirations & goals. She exemplifies everything this award is for. TRUST - she is reliable. She does not call in unless absolutely necessary, and if she says she will do something, she will not only do it but go above & beyond. RESPECT - she has a huge respect for veterans, and even if she doesn't agree with a patient, she respects their values and treats them accordingly. EXCELLENCE - she is always striving to be better, that is why she has always advanced. She says "learning never stops, there will always be things to be learned, there is never a point where you can know everything, every day is an opportunity to learn." COMPASSION - she accepts everyone for who they are and she has the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met or known. COMMITMENT - she is deeply committed to her passion of nursing and making an impact on the profession."

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Former Co-Worker writes:

"Dee was one the hardest working staff on the unit. She was personable and got along with everybody. She dealt superbly with the psychiatric patients and was compassionate; however, she could be firm when required. We all had assigned duties, but if Dee saw a staff struggling with their work she would jump in to help. I miss her as a person and co-worker."

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Co-Worker Writes:

"Deanna's patient's love her because she cares for them with a smile, she has a great sense of humor, and always goes the extra mile for them. She always brightens up the day for the rest of the staff too with her ability to make us laugh."

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Former Co-Worker Writes:

"Creating space for health and healing is sometimes difficult on busy Spinal Cord Injury Units, but Deanna Davenport is just the nurse who can do it. Deanna has an immediate family member with a spinal cord problem, so her compassion for the veterans comes from understanding exactly what challenges they face and obstacles they must overcome.

Her expertise with Spinal Cord Injury nursing helps all veterans, and because of her watchful eyes she can prevent people from going into Autonomic Dysreflexia. Autonomic Dysrelexia (AD) is a life threatening crisis, and because she can "see AD from across the room", is why her patients hardly ever experience that complication, and if they do she is able to intervene quickly and regain control of a crisis situation with ease.

Also, because she has a background in psychiatric and mental health nursing, her care is holistic and patient centered. She is able to help new and old injuries talk about what they are facing and what comes next. She is a patient advocate and a part of the team in SCI.

I recall a very specific patient we will call Mr. E. Mr E was a double amputee with colostomy, abdominal wounds, and other serious complications of extended paralysis and illness. Mr E was slowly dying on the SCI unit. He would come to VA vomiting uncontrollably and needing pain interventions and good nursing care. But, he would be resistive to care, preferring people to leave him alone and leave him in peace. Many times he would not allow a nurse to come and bathe him. But Deanna had a special way. How do I know? Well, he told me how Deanna would go to his bedside and through her presence would help him ease into a place of peace and trust. She would bathe him and change his dressing and just be with this forgotten Vietnam Veteran. She helped him to go home to heaven with the compassionate spirit of Jean Watson and the steadfastness of Florence Nightingale, always lighting the lamp to be a ray of hope, even in his darkest hours. Mr. E will live on, forever in Deanna's memory, and in mine.

For me, I appreciate her extension of love to Mr. E and the other spinal cord patients who need to lean in the arms of a good nurse. I promise you, of many times she has simply been the voice in the darkness leading the way for those who can not see, and guiding those who can no longer walk alone."