When discussing the attributes of Jessica Lewis, one could easily focus only on the clinical side. Jessica is a clinically superior nurse, the one that everyone comes to for advice or clarification. She is a mentor who has oriented many nurses and will now be a designated one on our transplant unit. She understands our kidney and liver populations and has such a large breadth of knowledge and it is such a benefit to any patient on our unit, as well as her fortunate co-workers. She is that strong in the technical part of being a nurse.
Yet, these attributes pale in comparison to the side of Jessica that her patients know best. It is the side that addresses the needs of the whole patient, the part that makes her worthy of being a DAISY Nurse.
I have had the pleasure of knowing Jessica as both a peer and in a supervisory role. And in both areas I have seen truly inspiring examples that exemplify Banner's People Above All core behaviors. When 10A opened Jessica stocked the common shower with a basket full of shampoos, conditioners, body washes, scrubbing sponges, hair ties, nail files, all those little comfort things to make our patients feel at home.
When a patient having major surgery the next day spoke wistfully about having spaghetti one more time, Jessica got an OK from the doctor and picked up spaghetti after her shift for the patient and brought it to her.
When a developmentally delayed woman was a patient on our unit, Jessica passionately defended her right to continue living independently in the community, something another nurse had assumed she was incapable of doing. This same patient is one I came upon being soothed by Jessica taking the time to braid her hair.
Jessica is also the same nurse who a recent liver transplant, after spending weeks in Jessica's care as his health declined, lit up when "his favorite nurse" greeted him on his return to the unit after his surgery.
Yet, Jessica can also take the role of patient advocate, even when she draws the ire of the family. I have witnessed it today, when Jessica broached the subject of what her patient wants the quality of his life to be. The family had been denying certain truths about the patient's ability to return to his previous quality of life and that he has been experiencing increasing pain despite our best efforts. Jessica's concern and patient-centered efforts were initially met with great hostility, yet in the end the family realized, just as all that know her understand, that Jessica's heart is always with her patient. The discussion opened a much-needed dialogue that will truly benefit this patient and his quality of life.
Being a DAISY Nurse is a tremendous honor and responsibility. It tells the world that you are a nurse who embodies the best nursing qualities coupled with a true heart for the patient that transcends the ordinary to become extraordinary. Jessica Lewis is that nurse to every patient she has cared for.