Janna Dyer

Janna Dyer

Janna Dyer, RN

Gibson Pavilion - Oncology
Maine Medical Center
Portland, Maine
United States

Janna Dyer is an all-around stand up nurse. If you were able to look up Janna Dyer in the dictionary you would see words like determination, intelligence, persistence and love. Janna is that nurse that if you were to pick up her assignment after her three day stretch to begin your three day stretch, you know you're in for a lot of comparing by the patients. The days I have picked up Janna's assignment I can't even begin to introduce myself as the nurse for the day without the patient stating "where's Janna", "When will Janna be back", "Why are you doing it that way..Janna did it this way yesterday" The list goes on and on.

Gibson was emotionally challenging from the months of March to the end of June. We had two patients on our floor that won the hearts of 100% of our staff. And oddly enough their rooms were right next to each other. Michael and Tom are the type of patients that remind nurses why we absolutely love our jobs. Two patients, one with Leukemia and the other with CNS lymphoma, fought hard for their lives here on Gibson.

I have two examples that I would like to share to show why Janna should receive this award. One is an example of persistence and the other is an example of love.

#1 PERSISTANCE. I was lucky enough to sit and talk with Michael one day and tell him my idea of nominating Janna. I asked him and his wife's first thoughts of Janna when they first met her. They both instantly said they noticed her smile first and "a girl with a smile like that, could ease anybody's mind." Michael continued to talk about Janna's ability to educate. "Education was important to Janna," Michael said. "She made sure I understood exactly what was going on that day, what Chemotherapy I was going to get, side effects to be aware of, what my blood counts were, or as easy and simple as what the weather was going to be that day, she was ALWAYS educating me and my wife and for that I will forever be grateful." Michael also told me a story that one morning he woke up around 7:45 in the morning, looked at the whiteboard and saw Janna's name as his nurse for the day. "I knew today was going to be a good day and was able to relax and drift back to sleep. Thirty minutes or so went by and I was woken up to a voice, introducing herself as my nurse. It was not Janna's voice. I soon found out that Janna was sent home sick. I can't complain of any nurse on this floor, but having Janna as my nurse gave me a sense of peace for the 12 hours she was on and that was something I was unable to get from anybody else. I asked Michael if there was anything else that stuck out to him regarding Janna's nursing. He quickly said, YES! Michael began to tell me about a 4 day stretch he had with Janna. "I was super scared when I realized I was continuing to bleed at the site of my new PICC line. My platelets were less than 5 and Janna tried everything!!! Gauze, pressure tape, holding pressure, sand bags, raising my arm above my heart, and then more gauze, the PICC site would not stop bleeding". I told Michael that I remembered this very well because I was charge those days and I remember Janna's persistence. Laughing, Michael said, "I think Janna called every doctor in the country to try to find some kind of appliance to help me stop bleeding. I assured Michael that Janna involved myself, Bobbi (our clinical nurse leader) doctors, coworkers, the OR, the Hemophiliac center, and then finally spoke with our GYN/ONC nurse practitioner who just so happens works in the OR and suggested for Janna to try Floseal, a device they use in the OR to stop bleeding. I remember Janna being so exhausted Thursday night and her saying how glad she was that she picked up overtime on Friday because there was no way she wouldn't come in without fixing Michael's PICC line. Michael told me how Janna was there for him and never gave up on trying to help him. Those 4 days Michael said he felt safe and very well taken cared for. Sadly, Michael died early July with his loving wife by his side in his home in Portland. I remember the first thing Michael said to me after asking him if he could help me nominate Janna.He said "Pull up a chair, I got lots to say about that girl and I'll do anything to help her win this award!"

#2 LOVE. Tom was the most loving, pleasantly confused man. He was at times, a man with few words. It was sometimes hard to engage Tom in a conversation because of his disease. There were many days when Tom would sleep the days away. I think it's safe to say that it was difficult for the staff to see little to no improvement over the 68 days he was with us. Janna came to me one day and asked if I would hang a 3:00 antibiotic on one of her other patients and then watch her assignment because she wanted to take Tom outside to the courtyard. The next thing you know, Tom is in a wheelchair, a baseball hat on and an ice cream in his lap waiting to be taken outside. As Janna reached for Tom's pouch where he kept his glasses she was pleasantly surprised to see what was in them; there were her own glasses that she thought she lost 4 weeks ago. Janna started jumping up and down with excitement because she thought her glasses were lost forever. Pleasantly confused Tom suddenly started getting excited as well, seeing Janna so excited that he tried to stand up while repeatedly asking Janna if she liked her new present he bought her as well as trying to kiss her. It was a pretty funny sight to see happen from the nurse's station. Janna jumping up and down and Tom thinking she was jumping up and down from a gift he thought he had given her. To say the least, Janna never corrected Tom, but said "Thank you Tom, I love my new glasses!" The smile on Tom's face was priceless.

Sadly, Janna discharged Tom to hospice where he died peacefully in late June with his loving family by his side.

Recently at work, coworkers and I talked about how weird it is to have Michael and Tom not here with us anymore. Many people ask how I can be an oncology nurse because of the constant reminder of death. I'm lucky enough to have coworkers to remind me of the excellent work and difference we can make in somebody's most vulnerable state. To me, nursing is all about a nurse asking to pick up overtime knowing they will be back the next day to get a challenging job done or asking a coworker if they wouldn't mind watching their assignment for 15 minutes so they can bring a patient outside to enjoy some sun. To me, nursing is an honor and a passion that one must have. Michael and Tom were two very lucky men to have Janna give them love and support through some of their hardest days. All I hope is I will be able to read this in front of Janna and share my gratitude and thanks for a job well done.