Elise LaCroix is first and foremost a Veteran who served in one of the toughest combat zones in our nation's history. She brings that personal experience to her passion for caring for her fellow Veterans and caring for the nurses who share our mission of caring for those Veterans. While her "WHY?" in her caring for Veterans may have a little different basis than others, that WHY is a driver for all she does. When she, as a bedside SICU nurse, took on the chair role for our Workforce (Recruitment, Retention & Recognition) Council, I initially worried about limited focus. I admit how wrong I was, and she has excelled in bringing everyone to the table including community-based clinics. While she has mastered the organization of celebration events and works those events throughout an extended day to include the night shift, she always extends her caring to others who contributed. At the end of such a long day, she submitted 7 Shining Lights affirmations for members of the committee who helped and sent the message to all the other council members who contributed.
The caring for other nurses in only eclipsed by her caring for her patients. We have all had those nurses who we love to follow because we know that nurse's patient was cared for and cared about in a special way. I received this from Elise's Assistant Nurse Manager this morning:
"Just this morning, I was providing positive feedback to the night shift RN caring for yesterday's open-heart patient and she replied, "It was not me, it was Elise. She is wonderful in her demeanor with patients and she is top-notch when it comes to critical patients and situations. I love to follow her because I know my patients have been well taken care of!"
That heart patient came to us hypothermic, some difficulty ventilating, and auto-diuressing straight from the OR 800-1000ml/hr. Elise managed to maintain hemodynamic stability with resuscitative fluid management and vasopressor drip titration. She had to re-warm the patient back to a normothermic temperature, which is known to increase the variability of the patient's response to vasopressors. She also identified that there was an air-leak in the ET tube cuff and that the OG tube was in the right main-stem and worked with Respiratory Therapy to correct this situation.
While doing all this work to achieve stability in this very critical patient, Elise began developing a rapport with the family to instill confidence in the SICU nursing team's ability to care for their loved one. This is one example of the level of critical-thinking mixed with compassion that Elise provides to all her patients. To have a following nurse give her all the credit for how great this patient looked when I came in this morning is very high praise."
This is the kind of special nurse Elise is, caring for her professional nursing peers and her fellow Veterans in a way that is demonstrative of the principles embodied in the DAISY Award.