When I think of the word "Nurse" I think of someone who is caring and compassionate, but also someone who is smart and will advocate for their patients. Well, this defines Larissa Bernat. Larissa received a report on a patient that is a familiar face to most of the ED staff; he, unfortunately, is homeless, has a history of alcoholism and can be confrontational at times.
It is very easy to think negatives about this patient or "push" his care aside for another patient. However, Larissa did not respond in that way.
The patient had fallen earlier in the day approximately five or six feet and hit his head in the process. The patient had been in the ED since early in the afternoon. He was up for discharge and to metabolize to freedom. After Larissa had received a report on this gentleman, the patient began to complain of shoulder pain. Larissa sought out the patient's physician and asked for an x-ray to be ordered. It was determined that the patient had a broken shoulder. The patient was still up for discharge. Since it was dark outside, the patient was going to be held until the morning hours.
The patient began to complain to Larissa about a headache and dizziness, the patient stated that this was "the worst headache of my life." Larissa went to the physician again and expressed concern about the patient's new complaint. The physician reassured her and advised her to discharge the patient as scheduled. While taking the patients vital signs, it was found that the patient had an increase in blood pressure and began to vomit. Larissa came to me, as I was in charge that night, as she felt there was more going on with the patient.
We decided to obtain orthostatic vital signs on the patient and report the findings to the ER physician. Larissa was concerned that this patient had a possible head bleed and she shared her concerns with the physician, again. The provider, who was extremely busy at the time of the morning, was confident that this patient could be safely discharged. However, Larissa continued to advocate for the patient and requested a CT. The provider agreed and placed the order.
After the CT results were read by the radiologist, it was determined that the patient, in fact, had a head bleed. In my opinion, had Larissa not taken the time to really listen to the patient, used her nursing assessment and sound judgment, the outcome may not have a good one.
Larissa showed compassion for a patient that many may have wanted to blow off. She was instrumental in the diagnosis of a problem with her patient. I truly love Larissa's compassion for patients and her job.