I received a request to stop by and talk to a long term patient and family. This patient is a 27-year-old female who has had an incredible life journey after contracting a severe viral cardiomyopathy at the age of 3 that required a heart transplant. This patient was admitted to VCU Health for yet another cardiac surgery procedure, and has been a patient ever since due to her complex history and complicated medical course. She came to the CICU and has remained with us, growing closer to staff each day. She is very memorable as we don’t always have such young and long term patients in the CICU. She is lovingly watched over by her mother and twin sister nearly 24/7, and they are intimately involved in her plan of care.
When I stopped by their room today they wanted to share what an amazing nurse Kathryn has been throughout their stay. They reported she always goes above and beyond their expectations.
Kathryn advocated with the provider team for a trial of CRRT to run 8p-8a, giving her 12 hours of freedom during the day. The patient has become dependent on CRRT, with acute renal damage and a severely weakened heart from acute and chronic systolic heart failure. After being tied to CRRT for several weeks 24 hours a day, Kathryn spoke up in team rounds and advocated for a trial period of CRRT to run only at night, allowing nursing to mobilize the patient and even perhaps take quick field trips outside of the ICU. We have successfully managed the patient with this plan for 4 days now!
Today when hearing N. complained about how uncomfortable she was in the ICU bed, Kathryn arranged to get a floor bed to try, as perhaps a different mattress would provide a higher level of comfort. Yesterday she brought in special Mexican food for N. and that made her day. At this time, she doesn’t have many pleasures, so good food and a comfortable bed meant the world to her. Yesterday, Kathryn also worked with the doctors to get approval for a field trip to the gift shop. She loaded N. into a wheelchair with all kinds of monitoring equipment and took the time to travel off the unit with her to try and brighten her day and give her some fun. Kathryn seems to know when to stay and when to give us quiet, private time; she is never far and she always appears when we need her. She has an extraordinarily quiet and compassionate nature; it is very soothing to all three of us. Kathryn provides excellent clinical care and compassionate nursing care to all three of us. We are a team and she understands that about us.