I can think of at least five times that Devon should have been nominated for this award but the one case that stands out the most in my mind was with a patient I will call “J”.
Unfortunately, J was a 20-year-old drug overdose. She came in with a GCS of 3 after spending a night out with her so-called friends. The story is heartbreaking and too hard to write about. What I want to write about is the extraordinary care that Devon gave to J and her family. I had the honor of taking care of J multiple times on the nightshift after Devon had taken care of her during that day. It was symbiotic how we worked so many days in a row and could just give updates back-and forth. Every night when I would go in to take care of J, her mom would go on and on talking about how wonderful and supportive Devon was that day.
As ICU nurses sometimes you just know deep down when a patient is not going to make it. We knew this about J but the family was in denial. After all, their baby girl was only 20 and she had never really been in any kind of trouble before. Devon went above and beyond every day. She worked with them explaining different tests and procedures, supporting them with every devastating result. Because Devon already knew what the tests were going to show.
As a nurse you have to support the family without giving false hope while at the same time being compassionate enough that they trust you not to “give up” on their loved one. This process, especially with such a young patient, is exhausting. Devon never faltered. She was a rock for that family to stand on. She held J’s mother’s hand as the doctor pronounced her only daughter brain-dead and answered all the troubling questions that come after LifeNet has spoken with the family. Devon cried with them, laughed with them, prayed with them, and made an everlasting positive impression during such a tragic time in this family’s life.
Devon stayed well after her shift was over to offer comfort to the family the night J’s body was to go for harvest. Devon braided the young girl’s hair so she looked more like herself again, even making tiny braids to cut for the family to keep. Devon brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion during this particular case.