I came to the University of Virginia as a travel nurse about a year ago. I had spent the previous two years traveling across the country and abroad working in some of the most impressive facilities in the nation and learning from incredible providers and nurses. I have become the clinician I am today because of these exceptional clinicians I have had the opportunity to learn from and work alongside. This has proven true at UVA also. Every day I come to work, I am impressed by the collaboration, teamwork, and talent of the providers and nurses I work with, but one stands out in my mind.
I first met Liz Greene while working an emotionally and physically challenging case. I was assigned to the shock/trauma area of the emergency department and Liz was the charge nurse. She informed me that a critical patient was approximately 20 minutes away, coming by EMS, with respiratory distress. I began getting supplies together and preparing for the patient's arrival. A 60-year-old female in respiratory distress presented, unresponsive with agonal breathing. As we were getting report from EMS and beginning our assessment, she decompensated and we lost her pulse. We were able to stabilize her and the team decided that a CT scan was vital to directing her care and disposition. Although reluctant to move her, we began the daunting task of transporting her to CT. Once we arrived, we moved her onto the table and we lost her pulse again. I made one call to Liz and gave her a list of essential supplies and things I needed and within minutes she arrived. Together, we coordinated a seamless resuscitation and were able to get the CT scan and transport her to the intensive care unit. Liz led the team seamlessly and provided herself as a resource to me during this challenging time. For Liz, this was an ordinary situation and she reacted in the same, consistent manner to provide her team with the support they needed. I remember this particular patient because without her support and coordination of materials, staff, and resources this patient's family would not have had the time to say goodbye. She exemplified the UVA ASPIRE values this night. She demonstrated excellence by anticipating the needs of the staff, allocating resources, and facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration between nursing, providers, respiratory, technicians, and the intensive care unit staff and exemplified professionalism by being immediately present, acting collaboratively, and offering help in every possible way.
Throughout my short year working at UVA, I have witnessed Liz provide excellent care to every patient she meets. She takes ownership of the service and care provided to everyone in the department even when she is not the primary nurse. She is accountable for everything she says and does and assumes responsibility for mistakes and shortcomings even if they are not hers to own. I have watched her remediate and succeed in turning around several situations where patients and family members were unhappy with care provided. I remember a particular situation where a patient was admitted to a general medicine bed, but acutely decompensated prior to transport. The primary nurse for this patient was caught up in a different situation, but Liz jumped in, paged the team, escalated this patient's care, and changed his disposition to the intensive care unit. Not only did she do right by the patient, but she remediated and addressed the concerns of the family who felt that the patient did not receive the care needed in a timely manner. She owned this mistake, apologized to this patient, and gave the family the support they needed at this vulnerable time.
She dedicates herself to lifelong learning and continued excellence. I have worked with many exceptional nurses over my time in healthcare, but never have I met a nurse so dedicated to personal development and in touch with her opportunity for improvement. She is a mentor and has earned my implicit trust. She is unprecedented in her dedication to her practice, her patients, and her team. She exemplifies the UVA ASPIRE values and I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to learn from and work with Liz Greene.