Helen Cherian, RN – The Troy Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nurses – January 2010 – Troy Beaumont Hospital
Well the clinical day had come to an end and the first year fundamental nursing students had gathered for their first post conference. The first question that was posed to these very new students was a general “well, how did it go?” To everyone’s surprise one student exclaimed, “tonight, I met the nurse that I want to be.” The nurse that she had been paired up with had always been held in high esteem and everyone wanted to know more. The student began to explain that her nurse was the most genuine and compassionate person that she had ever met and then she began to elaborate.
Being that this is an afternoon shift clinical, Helen began her shift at 7 PM. On her initial rounds in which she performed her baseline assessments, she found one patient looking sad and had asked him if he had eaten. When he exclaimed no, Helen offered, “well this sandwich looks tasty”. The patient explained that he had asked for condiments for the sandwich and would try to eat it when they brought it to him. Helen explained that she did not want him to wait to “enjoy” his sandwich and therefore she would get the condiments immediately. At that time she went to the pantry returned with the condiments and with a kind smile asked him if he needed any help preparing it. She stayed to make sure that the sandwich was to his liking. She commented that she would return soon to see how he had done. The student stated, “I think that this patient knew that Helen really cared about him. I knew she cared. Her caring was real.”
A short time later she was administering a medication in pudding. When the patient commented that the pudding tasted good, Helen delayed her medication administration schedule and continued to feed the pudding until it was gone. The student stated, “She did this with a gentle smile. She clearly wanted to do it. The patient’s desire became her priority for those few minutes.”
The rest of the night proceeded in the same manner. Helen went from patient to patient in her usual unhurried manner with a genuine concern and caring for each patient.
On paper these feats may not look like much, but in the scope of the few hours that she worked with her student she made an impression that will stay with that student for the rest of her career. On that evening, Helen unknowingly became a role model to a first year nursing student. When the student relayed the stories to her peers many had tears in their eyes. It wasn’t because the stories were sad or overly joyous but they demonstrated a profound level of caring and compassion.