In the fall, a highly unusual event happened in our clinic. We had a child die. You might not think this is rare in a cancer clinic, however, in my 34 years of nursing I have never experienced it in the outpatient setting. From the moment this child arrived, it was evident this baby, less than a year old, would not live beyond her visit. She was on hospice care but arrived to receive a platelet infusion for palliation. This beautiful baby presented with agonal respirations.
Jean walked into the room and recognized the situation. She warmly and compassionately acknowledged the severity of the situation to the mom, and wrapped the mother and child with caring arms and held them both as the child died. Securing mother and child's privacy and comfort, she set out to arrange for hospice nurse to come. Jean recognized the hospice nurse relationship and expertise and sought to coordinate the delivery of care. She worked collaboratively in notifying additional family for support for the mother.
Her words of comfort and support demonstrated the incredible sensitivity and professionalism needed in that sacred moment. Jean was fully present with the mother in her grief, and responsive to the many needs required to care for a child at the time of death. Jean protected the other patients and families in the clinic; no one else was aware of the situation. Jean was able to continue to care for her other patients in a calm and competent manner.
Caring for a dying child is sacred work. Jean being fully present, brought compassionate and responsive tender, loving care to meet the needs of the child and family in ways consistent with our values of humble expertise and expert care. I am honored to work with this incredible nurse who exemplifies these qualities every day.