Katie O'Keefe
April 2016
University of Virginia Health System
United States




Katie is a very special nurse. Her compassion and ability to turn emotions into words are some of her many strengths. I am nominating her for this award not only for her tireless work on the unit, but also for her particular care for a patient who has had to overcome countless obstacles, physical and emotional.
Our patient is a young guy who thought he had the flu and woke up a week later with devastating cardiac and neurological injuries. Over the next few weeks, we not only had to help him through physical setbacks, but also help him climb an emotional ladder to help him regain his sense of self. Katie has been instrumental in those times. She exhausted all resources in order to help him thrive. She worked hard with physical therapy, occupational therapy, took him outside with his wife when the weather was beautiful, organized pet therapy (which he loves), used child life services to help when his young children came to visit, and engaged in many discussions with the patient about how he was feeling and that is was OK to feel like that. When he hears Katie will be his nurse, his smile lights up the room.
Katie is not only a wonderful nurse to her patients, she has made a significant impact on patient care by changing the way our unit views ethics. As part of the ethics committee, she frequently speaks at Shared Governance meetings about our roles as patient advocates and what we can do to best advocate for our patients. She is also a resource and confidant to our nursing staff regarding ethical dilemmas and how best to go about things. I take pride in calling her a colleague and a friend.