Karen’s passion, professionalism, and leadership is exemplary and she continually strives to be the best nurse and leader for 3W. Karen is the type of nurse you want to be on your team; she is always looking out for the best interest of her patients, their families, and for her unit and exhibits the utmost empathy and compassion in the care she provides her patients and families. Karen often steps up as a leader and takes initiative to take on projects or tasks that will benefit her patients and fellow staff members. Karen had purchased and donated a huge bag of stuffed animals so when our patients needed some special comfort, staff could provide a friendly furry animal for patient to hold and keep. Karen replenishes the supply of stuffed animals when it runs low so our staff can give the cuddly stuffed animals out freely to our patients, bringing about many smiles and gestures of kindness from our staff. Last year Karen, as an Acute Care Services Partnership Council member, coordinated efforts with a Girl Scout troop to put together activity kits for our patients. The kits contained items that would help keep patients entertained and personalized cards from the Girl Scouts letting the patients know there’s someone wishing them well and hoping they feel better. The Girl Scouts enjoyed putting these together and our patients would light up when they received the special package made just for them.
I watched as Karen’s patients hugged and thanked her for a job well done over and over during my tenure as manager. I listened as one patient described what it meant to have Karen caring for her dying sister. Karen works tirelessly to meet the needs of her patients and make sure that they are most comfortable at this sensitive time in life, and with our patients, this is often at the end of life. Karen consistently puts herself in the shoes of her patients and families and asks herself, "How would I want to be taken care of this were me or my family going through such a difficult time?" When Karen’s patient received the devastating news, Karen took the time to sit with the patient and her husband, holding her hand, talking about her options, what hospice care means, and living at the end of life. The time Karen took and the tears she shared with the patient and family left an impact which the family shared with me. The patient’s sister was coming into the hospital late one night and ran into Karen on her way home from her shift. Karen shared with her patient’s sister a book she had found to be very helpful for her patients and talked with her for over 30 minutes about Living at the End of Life. The patient selected hospice care in her home and eventually succumbed to her illness, but not before having a huge tea party with all her closest friends and family. She enjoyed her last days on this earth as encouraged by many of her nurses, but namely from Karen’s support and encouragement.
Karen also supported one of her young chemo patients in the "No One Fights Alone" 5K race, a patient that was special to her heart and whom she had taken care of repeatedly. On her own time, Karen attended this fund raiser race in honor of her patient, demonstrating her empathy, compassion, and support for her young patient battling cancer. Karen shared the moments that her patient realized she was there for her at the race and how much it meant to her that she attended.
Karen, thank you for continually being an example of an extraordinary nurse exemplifying the core values of our organization and for truly having the heart of a servant in the work you do each day.