Communication. Problem Solving. Adaptability. Compassion. These are some of the characteristics that Google finds if one searches for "qualities of a great nurse". Kathryn (Katie) Ryan exhibits all of these qualities and more. A fellow Medical ICU Nurse Practitioner and I recently interacted with Katie during the care of a patient in the ER. That night, Katie, an RN in the Surgical Trauma ICU, was in the ER serving in the newly created role of Trauma Response Nurse. A Trauma Response Nurse is an STICU RN who is a clinical expert in the field of trauma critical care and responds to traumas in the ER with the goal of providing an excellent standard of care swiftly and efficiently until the patient can be transferred to an appropriate care unit.
Communication. When my colleague and I responded to the ER, Katie met us, relayed information from EMS, and filled us in on the events from the trauma bay. The patient was on two vasopressors to help support his blood pressure and Katie made sure to clarify which one the oncoming team would like changed first.
Problem Solving. The patient became unstable during transport from the ER and the decision was made to divert from CT straight up to the MICU. Katie easily switched gears and helped transfer the patient. Upon arrival to the MICU, the patient continued to decompensate and Katie recognized the need for advanced technology to rapidly infuse blood products. Katie retrieved the "Belmont Rapid Transfuser" from STICU, quietly yet competently set it up, and ran a complicated piece of equipment by herself.
Adaptability. As a Trauma Response Nurse, Katie works with UVA team members of all disciplines throughout the hospital - EMS providers, ER team members, and trauma team members. The night in question was the first time Katie had ever worked with the MICU team, yet she seamlessly integrated herself into a new team. Katie easily adapted to her ever-changing team and provided exceptional critical care no matter what physical location she was in or what team was directing care.
Compassion. The patient unfortunately passed away in the MICU. Katie joined the MICU team in "The Pause" after the patient's death and then proceeded to help the MICU team clean the room so the family could come in and say their final goodbyes. This task was certainly not a requirement for her to perform but she did so without hesitation. Katie's communication and problem-solving skills, adaptability, and compassion set her apart. Katie Ryan is the epitome of a great nurse.