I have been a physician at Miriam for almost ten years, first as house staff and now as hospitalist attending. I have always held Miriam nurses in the highest esteem, and I always say that the level of professionalism in Miriam nursing is one of the reasons I have continued working at this hospital.
One month ago, my uncle became unexpectedly, critically ill, to the extent that I was almost certain he would not survive. He was on three pressors, a bicarbonate infusion, an insulin infusion, CVVH, and a whole bunch of other medications, ultimately intubated, and he survived.
Jenn Stowell, RN, was with him on night shift the first two nights. In the words of my cousin, “she is aces!” Jenn demonstrated a high level of focus and attention sustained over hours during the most critical periods.
She was not alone providing care for my uncle: with the amount of work hinted at above, there were times when three ICU nurses were in his room simultaneously, hanging infusions and working patiently with the CVVH machine. The teamwork demonstrated by all the staff in the ICU was admirable.
After my uncle regained consciousness, he was still intubated. This was an incredibly difficult experience for him. He was uncomfortable, but Jenn offered him options to reduce the pain of being on the ventilator.
At one point, he realized he could no longer feel his left foot and he could barely move it. We all tried to figure out what he was saying. Jenn told my uncle we would play charades, and she reassured him, “I am good at speaking “Nod,” since that is all he could do at that point. With great patience, Jenn found out that he was having numbness and weakness of the left foot.
Jenn was trustworthy in the sense that when my uncle had discomfort, she could be trusted to take it as seriously as his life-threatening electrolyte abnormalities and hypotension. There are times in the course of critical illness when healthcare workers become so focused on the life-saving interventions that we neglect the emotional needs of our patients.
Jenn Stowell practices each of our C.A.R.E. values of compassion, accountability, respect, and excellence.