Katherine Cecere
July 2018
Medical Intensive Care Unit
University of Virginia Health System
United States




Katie was my primary preceptor in the MICU and from day one of meeting via email she made an invaluable first impression. Her care and compassion are indescribable. What makes Katie so special is how she balances being a wife, mother to young children, and a nurse. Nonetheless, she takes advantages of opportunities to grow her professional career by seeking out ways to expand her clinical knowledge and skills. Katie's greatest strength is the professional development of others. She is exceptional at reading the needs of all staff while precepting and working as charge nurse. She is an open, eager resource to all on the unit. She is able to provide feedback easily and fluidly without any confrontation. When feedback is constructive, the recipient feels redirected rather than reprimanded. When Katie communicates about my development it is not in terms of 'if you get to precept' it is 'when you precept and when you get certified'. This aids in self-confidence and aids in others desiring to be better nurses. Katie is a positive, supporting resource who only encourages others to rise to their maximum potential.
My first day at work, Katie introduced me to the interdisciplinary team and went out of her way to make sure that I didn't feel like just another new nurse on the unit but was welcomed and appreciated. With patients and co-workers alike, she values each person as an individual. There is a multitude of characteristics that make Katie's communication effective, for example, using layman's terms to explain complicated skills such as CRRT or conscious sedation, thus ensuring understanding. With the multitude of questions I have as a novice ICU nurse, Katie effectively explains in detail each step of the process and never makes me feel like my question is dumb, no matter how many times I ask it. Her communication style is a model for how to teach by meeting people where they are in their understanding and using patience and kindness to help them learn.
We had several difficult assignments but the one that stands out the most to me was a young lady who was critically ill. Katie went above and beyond to meet her brother where he was in the grieving process. During the change of shift, the patient's brother was very upset and discouraged that his sister was taking a turn for the worse, yet Katie stepped right up to explain the day in detail to him and emphasize that although the patient was sick, there is always hope. Little gestures that bring peace to families.
After five shifts in the MICU, I asked Katie for a more challenging assignment to which she obliged. At one point during the first day with the patient, I felt in over my head. However, Katie patiently explained each drip, each line, and each order, in great detail, making sure I was clear about why they needed to happen in that order. She recognized the challenges that were taking place with my transition from an acute care floor. On the acute floor, I typically had four patients whereas on the MICU there are one to two critically ill individuals. Katie encouraged self-directed learning and let me think through why we administer some medications more quickly than other medications. This gave me the time to process where I had strengths and weaknesses. She allowed me room to grow and thrive in this new environment. To maintain continuity of care, we took on this assignment for two more days, but on day three, things began to decline. I began to feel overwhelmed by all the rushed orders, the 15 drips, and a patient who was actively declining, but Katie never made me feel like I could not handle the chaos. She empowered me to believe in my own knowledge and set me up for success in a sad situation. As overwhelming as the day may have been, I had total confidence and trust that Katie was watching me and supporting me. This gave me the needed push to persevere through what was by far the sickest assignment I have ever experienced. She knew exactly when to step forward and support me and exactly when to give me room to begin to grow my independence. Katie always discussed and defined our learning goals for the next shift. This approach empowered me with a sense of eagerness and confidence to conquer the next shift and my MICU career ahead. She models all the ASPIRE values every time we work together. She is a true DAISY Nurse.