As a former Palmetto Health nurse and DAISY Award Honoree, I know the Palmetto Health vision: “To be remembered by each patient as providing the care and compassion we want for our families and ourselves.” Though my nursing career has taken me elsewhere, I have taken this vision with me. I have also remembered it when observing other nurses who have taken care of my family members in different hospitals over the years. Unfortunately, not all nurses provide this type of care. I can tell you that Joy Berzins, the Nurse Manager of CVICU, follows this vision 100%. I experienced it first-hand.
Last summer my family’s world was turned upside down. My Dad’s twin brother was airlifted to Palmetto Health Heart Hospital with a dissected aorta. We were told that he dissected all the way to his abdomen and they gave us his chances of survival. His doctor was able to complete the surgery sooner than expected and we were hopeful that he was going to be ok. Two days later he had a terrible day and we became afraid we were going to lose him. After going through two more surgeries that day, we were told that he was very sick and the next 24 hours were critical. Joy came into the waiting room with the surgeon to help explain how the surgeries went and she helped answer our questions and support us in our worry and fear. We are a large family with many members in medical fields so we were always asking questions and wanting to know details. Joy was always so kind and patient with us and never made us feel like we were bothersome. Many days she stayed late just because she was checking on our family. She always checked on my uncle’s 21-year-old son to see how he was doing. One night my Mom even told her, “Go home, Joy.” She was so concerned about my uncle and his entire family that she gave up her own family time for us. Joy quickly became family. My uncle required a lot of medical attention and Joy was sometimes found staying to help his assigned nurse.
After enduring multiple surgeries and many ups and downs, my uncle passed away. During these days in the CVICU, I can assure you that he had the very best care. All of his nurses were wonderful and treated him with such care, compassion, and respect. Joy stood out to my family and me from the beginning. She, like the rest of us, thought he was going to pull through. But, the afternoon before he died things went downhill quickly. As his son and I stood at his bedside following his death, Joy came into the room and cried with us. I am unable to express in words how compassionate she was. The next night we held my uncle’s visitation and Joy drove an hour out of town and spent over an hour in line alone in order to speak to our family. It spoke volumes to us that she would travel so far and wait that long just to hug us and let us know she was praying for us. We later visited her at the hospital and she asked for a copy of the service since she had missed it. She was as sincere as ever in asking how our family was doing and told us that she thought of us often and missed our being there. I feel that the highest compliment a nurse can receive is one from another nurse. Joy Berzins deserves this DAISY Award. It means so much to our family for Joy to receive this great honor. Our family will be forever grateful for the care and compassion shown to us by Joy and her CVICU staff.