Jacqueline Roper
June 2016
Digestive Health
University of Virginia Health System
United States




T was frequently a patient on 5 Central. This last admission showed a marked deterioration. Last week T wanted to be baptized. Jacqueline contacted several resources to figure out a process. She learned labor and delivery have a birthing pool. Because T was male it was a barrier to using the pool. Jacqueline was not put off. This was so very important to the patient and his family.
Jacqueline found out that Charity on labor and delivery was the person to contact. Charity stated that having male parts did not preclude T using the pool. Jacqueline took the pastor to the room to see if it was suitable. It was perfect. Jacqueline told me when she arrived back on 5 Central to give the good news to T he was already at the door of his room prepared to go for baptism.
Last Sunday T 's condition worsened. A bed was available on 3 East. The family wanted to stay on 5 Central but also wanted to give T the best opportunities for care. Jacqueline took T's wife to 3 East to see the room and meet staff there. After that the family decided to stay on 5 Central where they were familiar with staff.
T died on Monday morning. It was peaceful and he was with his family. The family needed a place to sit away from the room. We decided to put them in our linen room-better than it sounds. Many staff who were there for an earlier celebration mucked in to get equipment out and chairs in to try and make the family comfortable. Jacqueline then stayed to provide post mortem care with me and some inexperienced staff. She also took time to pause in the room before we started post mortem care. She continued to demonstrate leadership and compassion.
T's Family were so comfortable with Jacqueline's compassion and care. Her leadership skills showed in her search for a solution to an unusual problem. She collaborated with many people to get a job done to benefit T and his family at a very difficult time for them.
As a labor and delivery nurse with other med/surg and E.R. experience prior to that, I have borne witness to many instances of life and death. For over 21 years, I have been allowed to be a part of some of the most intimate situations that a person can experience. There have been many tears of joy and sorrow shed during my nursing career. I have also experienced a great advancement in technology and seen how the work and collaboration of many can make a difference in the outcomes of our patients and families. Regardless of technologies, the human compassion that each nurse brings to the bedside is what makes this profession one full of uniquely rewarding moments. In April there was an occasion for one of those uniquely rewarding moments as I was privileged to be a part of a different kind of birth. I share this story with the purpose of nominating Jacqueline and Malinda from the 5th floor for the DAISY award.
As shift manager on Labor and Delivery that day, I received a call from Malinda with an unusual request to use our birthing tub. She shared the story of a terminal cancer patient for whom Jacqueline was trying to find a place to hold a full-immersion baptism. Malinda had tried to find a way to use a therapy tub on her unit for the purpose, but it was in need of repair and could not be used. Someone had mentioned that we had a tub we use for our laboring mothers and she wondered if we could use it for this purpose. Malinda facilitated communication between myself and Jacqueline.
After approval from my manager, I contacted Jacqueline for clarification of details and we made a plan. Jacqueline and the patient's pastor came up first to confirm that this patient would be able to get into the tub safely and full immersion would be possible for his size and height. Once decided that all would be well, the patient and his family were brought up at a decided time. We were able to set up a few chairs, move a bed out of the room, and have the tub ready with warm water, drying towels, and blankets.
The pastor, patient, and family were able to have the full-immersion baptism ceremony that was so very important to him in his time of dealing with his mortality and spiritual well-being. During our discussion and planning, Jacqueline shared how her patient was anxious and had repeatedly asked about getting baptized, emphasizing "not just a sprinkle" baptism.
Having Jacqueline and Malinda think outside of the box and reach out beyond the usual areas to find a way to meet the whole patient's needs: physical, emotional, and spiritual. I was privileged to be allowed to stay and bear witness to this patient's spiritual rebirth as he was dunked into the tub and symbolically raised up in new life. Healing Mind, Spirit, Body. Care and Compassion Beyond Measure. Definitely DAISY Award-Worthy!
The release of anxiety and tension on this patient's face and body was visible and palpable. There was a peace and joy in him that was caused by this lifting of these burdens he carried and were symbolically washed away. Jacqueline recognized this patient as a whole person allowing her to treat him and his family with respect and dignity. She set into motion the fulfilling of this patient's request that was very important to him. It also opened up the lines of communication between units that may allow a similar situation to take place in the future as other nurses look outside their nursing area to find ways to meet their patients' needs.