Elaine Beardsley

Elaine Beardsley, RN, BSN, CPEN

Emergency Department
Seattle Children's
Seattle, Washington
United States
Elaine’s amazing contributions appear with a consistency and frequency that make the extraordinary seem ordinary.

The rapid pace, prioritization of length of stay, and intervention-heavy nature of emergency care often leave emergency department staff overshadowed in recognition for nursing exceptionalism. Families aptly focus on the chaotic stressors at hand, rather than the relative performance of or rapport with the heroes helping to mitigate them. As a fellow ED nurse, I am writing to recognize the work of Elaine Beardsley, whose extraordinary efforts in our emergency department consistently improve the experiences and outcomes of health care ordeals for both those seeking emergency care and those delivering it. Elaine’s amazing contributions appear with a consistency and frequency that make the extraordinary seem ordinary.
As a clinical nurse specialist, Elaine is in a unique position to impact patient experience directly at the bedside and indirectly by buoying nursing staff. She contributes at all levels, from administrative decisions to hospital design to clinical pathways to direct patient care. While meeting her clerical duties to review cases, author care pathways, and educate staff, Elaine usually remains in the ED. Her proximity allows her to keep an eye on our tracking board and identify potentially complex physiological or social cases. She often anticipates the need for her support and joins the fray without prompting; she is always reachable, if not already present.
Elaine is a graceful educator, able to lead our nurses to conclusions in real-time practice rather than telling them what to do. Her calm, encouraging delivery creates an effective, safe learning space no matter the setting. It may be easier to teach in a quiet classroom, but Elaine prioritizes the kinesthetic learning most effective for her adult audience. For example, she recently walked a nurse through the setup of our new rapid infuser during an active resuscitation. This approach ensured not only that the patient received the rapid intervention they needed, but also that the nurse gained confidence in the skill for future cases.
Elaine is a morale wizard, able to inspire confidence in nursing staff and families for their contributions in even the direst scenarios. Better than anyone I’ve met, Elaine can identify and share genuine praise. In a stressful profession, often marred by isolated negative events outweighing the countless positive ones, Elaine always emphasizes positive achievement. Her ability to perform thorough, objective root-cause analyses fosters an environment in which employees feel safe and supported in reporting errors, concerns, and near-misses to improve patient safety.
My individual experiences of her excellence are too numerous and varied to fully recount in this small text field and I believe all of my coworkers would vouch similarly. Elaine has been by my side to advocate my largely unacknowledged findings of anisocoria in a patient with a possible shunt infection, prepare precautionary doses of intubation meds and mannitol, rush the patient to CT and the OR, and then navigate the debriefs and efeedbacks of the impediments we faced. She and I have resuscitated a septic patient as a trio with an attending doctor, coolly and efficiently performing the work of a half-dozen staff while warmly coaching the patient through his ordeal. She later updated me on his status to ensure I knew how our efforts had impacted his care. I have watched her stop on her way out the door, bag in hand, coat on, to guide a family through their child’s resuscitation because she noticed that everyone else was busy with the direct care. She has encouraged me to pursue research initiatives to fill gaps in our evidence-based practice model and introduced me to individuals and resources to facilitate my pursuits. These are just a few examples among dozens in the two years I’ve had the pleasure to practice alongside Elaine.
Her exceptional nature inspires excellence in all of those with whom she interacts, and thus, her positive impact on patient care is magnified far beyond her direct reach. Elaine exemplifies the ideals of the nursing profession as an inquisitive, compassionate role model.