My husband had colorectal cancer surgery at Ronald Reagan UCLA following 2 months of neoadjuvant radiation and chemotherapy and 10 weeks of "wait and heal". By that surgery date, my husband and I, as well as our entire family, were anxious with anticipation and concern. After the 9 and a ½ hour surgery, I was escorted into the main PACU unit to sit by his side and receive information and reassurance from the excellent nursing staff and physicians. When I returned the next morning, my husband had been moved to TRU East; described as a temporary inpatient recovery unit, as the hospital was full. Funny, it was the unit we grew to love over the next 4 days.
As I was welcomed to stay in his room from early morning caregiver rounds to the evening, I observed that my husband received skillful, compassionate care from all levels of clinical staff and physicians. The one RN that really stood out as our angel of care was Eunha. I have a background as an RN in the OR and now management and could quickly see that Eunha loved her job. She not only provided skill in IV and medication care and pain management, but she was also an excellent communicator.
From the first day Eunha cared for my husband, she recognized the unspoken signs that he is modest and very private. She made every effort to preserve his privacy by offering to him to bathe himself and educated him in self-catheter care and told him to let her know if he needed assistance. She was sure to always cover him with a second gown when changing gowns or walking. She always covered him during his ileostomy care, only exposing what was necessary. It gave him dignity and self-control. When he didn't have an appetite, she encouraged him to name what sounded good to eat (within his diet) and contacted the dietary department herself on his behalf. She helped build his self-esteem in a very difficult time, stating how great he was doing and what a model patient he was. She expressed such pride in him that it made him strive to meet her expectations. Her encouragement always pulled him out of low moments. She always had a smile, asked about him and his interests and joined our family stories. When we asked if our grandkids could visit, she excitedly told us we could occupy the "family room" behind the nurses' station and have as much fun as we liked in there. That brightened my husband's entire outlook and helped remove the stigma of his extra "baggage". She contacted his doctor whenever he had a question or needed an order. After being assigned to my husband's care the first day, she went out of her way the next 2 days to check on him and provide care and encouragement even when she was assigned other patients. I observed her teamwork to assist the other caregivers in my husband's care and make herself available to assist. When he had his urinary catheter removed and experienced urinary incontinence followed by retention, she sensed that he was anxious and reassured him that it was a normal setback and that, with his positive attitude, he could get through this temporary issue.
When we asked Eunha what she liked most about her job, she said it was the people: the patients she cared for, the team of people she worked with, the outstanding physicians that led the care plan, and the pride she has in working for the best hospital. For these reasons and many more, my husband and I and our entire family believe that Eunha is a true DAISY Nurse.