Gail Hettrick

Gail Hettrick, BSN, RN, OCN

Hematology, Oncology & BMT
UW Health
Madison, Wisconsin
United States

As a unit council, our unit decided to honor our most dedicated nurse, Gail Hettrick. It is obvious by the amazing words that come from her patient's compliments that her care is the best, but it came to our attention that she has been precepting for over 20 years and we wanted to show her how much she has impacted not only the patients she cared for, but also the co-workers she trains and supports on a daily basis. Her hard work and dedication has not gone unnoticed. She has affected all of us in some way and we have become better nurses because of it. She has helped to shape B6/6 to the wonderful unit and staff that we are today, and we are all proud to say we work on B6/6. We have created a board on our unit with many stories of past and present coworkers, here is a sample of many of her co-worker's words.
Innovation – "I'll always remember the 'classes' Gail would have for the new nurses when thing were slow. Those sessions in the break room really helped me to understand the more rare hematological disorders. Gail was always so patient and encouraging. She helped me grow as a nurse by letting me take new primary patients and caring for several of them through long, complicated hospitalizations. I'm so proud to be part of the Gail Hettrick preceptee club!" –K.C., RN
"I have to say as a float nurse I don't always know the inside information on patients that you see regularly. Gail will always take the time to ask if I need anything and tell me helpful hints with patients and their families that she has cared for. I know if I need a different way of approaching one of the patients I am caring for on B6/6, Gail always finds a 'new' way to try. She is kind and patient and very dedicated to her patients and co-workers. Thank you, Gail, for all your help when I float to your floor. You are a wonderful nurse and so full of knowledge! You are an awesome, caring person and any patient that gets you for their nurse is very lucky!"-T.Z., RN
"Gail is the definition of a great nurse. I learn something new from her every time I work with her. If I could just have a 1/4 of the knowledge she has I would be a better nurse. I still listen in on all her lessons she gives the new nurses because I always learn something. ITP vs TTP is my favorite and I love the way she says 'lorazepam'." –K.S., RN
"I always looked forward to working with Gail on my PM shifts. As a pharmacist, I really use my nurses to learn more about what's going on with our patients and Gail was always proactive from admission to discharge on keeping me up to date! I loved to talk to Gail about any nursing-related questions I had. I always heard such positive feedback about Gail from all disciplines I worked with, whether it was nursing, pharmacy or our physician teams. Thanks for being such a great colleague and mentor, Gail!" –H.R., Pharmacist
Integrity – "I remember Gail very fondly and all the nurses under her tutelage during my days a medicine resident covering the heme or onc services back then. Having been at several institutions now, I have not met hem/onc floor nurses who have done an incredible job taking care of patients and their loved ones and such level of commitment. Furthermore, I felt supported as a doctor-in-training and appreciated Gail and the senior nurses' advice on patient care. I will be looking for jobs in the fall and hope to find a model of hem/onc inpatient excellence as has been created on B6/6." –R.M., UWIM Class of 2007, Geriatric Oncology fellow at Univ. of Chicago, Class of 2013.
"When I first started, I was intimidated by Gail, so intelligent about everything, but then I realized how approachable she was, and willing to share all of her knowledge from her years of experience. Starting on PM's I really appreciated her being by my side the first time I called one of the attendings 'later' in the evening, I was so nervous. She really taught me to trust my gut, and advocate for the patient, no matter the hour." –T.R., RN
"Gail is always so enthusiastic about teaching and giving her patients the best care! She is such a natural teacher and always a great resource if you need help or knowledge about anything B6/6-related! I have the utmost respect for her!" –M.W., RN
Compassion – "As a day/night RN, I haven't had the opportunity to work a shift with Gail. Most of my interactions with her have been at change of shift. This may seem insignificant, however this time with Gail has taught me a lot about what it means to be a nurse. Whenever Gail goes into a room to see a patient at change of shift, she always holds their hand and either introduces herself or says, 'I'm working with you again tonight.' She is always kind, warm and caring with her patients. It has taught me that you can have all the knowledge in the world but patients will always remember the compassion you have for them and the passion you have for the job!" –H.L., RN
"One of my favorite Gail characteristics that I noticed while she was my preceptor is her transplant 'pep talk.' She sits down with patients and their families and motivates them to be proactive in their BMT journey. She tells them that, yes, this is going to be harder then chemotherapy and that it will not be easy, but that they have the power to do everything they can to stay active, positive, and as healthy as possible. I remember thinking how lucky all her patients were to have such an amazing nurse who is so empowering and knowledgeable." –M.S., RN
Accountability – "Gail is the type of nurse that leads by example. I really appreciated that when I made a mistake that Gail had to write a PSN on, the next day she found me and explained to me what I did that was wrong. She took the time to take me aside so I wasn't embarrassed in front of everyone and explained it in a way that I learned from it and didn't feel demeaned about it." –B.F., RN
"Gail taught me the importance of replacing electrolytes in a timely manner- it's not okay for someone to have a low potassium level and wait on it just because they have antibiotics. Either re-time the meds or get a second IV!"-A.D., RN
Respect – "I remember my first day on the unit and meeting Gail for the first time. Several of the nurses told me if I had any questions about BMTs or how the unit runs to ask her. She is always watching out for patients' needs first. She is wonderful at sharing her knowledge with me and even met me for lunch at times to talk. With Gail on B6/6 you always have a resource and she has a beautiful way of correcting you when you're wrong and making you feel stronger for it." –N.K., RN
"I didn't work much with Gail, but she goes into UW history as the most kind, patient and knowledgeable RN ever! Even working in a different department, everyone knows Gail and knows if you ever have a question, you go to her...including the residents!" –K.S., RN
Excellence – "Gail is definitely that person who shows you 'there's no such thing as a stupid question'. I have learned so much from her, not just because of her wealth of knowledge in that brain of hers, but because she is approachable, kind, and patient when you ask her a question. She also freely admits when she doesn't know the answer to something, but she usually tells me, 'Oh this is going to bother me now....' and by the end of the evening she has gone to find the answer out! I've been so grateful to have worked PM shifts and be able to 'overhear' so many of her disease process lessons she teaches to her residents (planting myself conveniently near them to chart!) When I look back on my career 40 years from now, I know I will count Gail amongst those nurses who influenced me and inspired me to be a better nurse." –A.A., RN
"The definition of nurse in the dictionary says something equal to Gail Hettrick. I am thankful to work with such a great nurse who leads by example. Her kindness, compassion, and depth of knowledge still continues to positively impact my own nurse role every time I work with her!"-M.H., RN
'I remember nervously talking to several people shortly after I started as a new nurse up on B6/6, the question everyone asked was always 'Who is your preceptor?' 'Gail' 'Oh! Don’t worry! You will be JUST fine!' (And because of Gail everything did turn out fine!) The adjustment to my new career and my new set of responsibilities was anxiety provoking, and to me everyday was intimidating, scary and unknown. I quickly came to learn that despite the chaos, Gail would be your calm helping hand. She has helped me through tough work days and tough personal days, which I will always be grateful for. Gail truly is a fountain of knowledge...with stellar hearing! Some days I will be pondering a question with whomever is near by and Gail will seemingly pop out of the woodwork with the answer to my question, or where I can find the answer to my question! She is always eager to teach, guide and help anyone on the unit, always given with her compassion and grace. I can’t imagine what B6/6 would be like if Gail had chosen somewhere else to work. I thank my lucky stars we will never know!" –M.S., RN