Lea is an Extraordinary Nurse. When I think of someone who goes the extra mile to educate their patients, provide exceptional patient care, as well as someone who will go the extra mile to make the patient and family feel as comfortable as possible, I think of Lea.
She is a great resource to her staff, always has a positive outlook and energy to any situation and is someone who really feels like her team is her family. I see Lea as a leader on our unit as well as one of the best nursing educators I've seen. With her past career being a teacher, I would expect nothing less. She is empathetic to people's needs but direct in her expectations without judgment. She takes the extra time out of her day to educate her patients regarding their care and what their goals are.
One story that has stuck with me for quite some time was with a patient on 5 South, who was here for an extended medical stay. He was very sick and would have periods of improvement, but more often than not, have periods when he declined. The patient was medically complex which can be stressful for the nursing staff, but more difficult was the patient's family. The wife had been particularly difficult for staff and for this reason, we tried to provide consistent caregivers to the patient and family. Unfortunately, the patient passed, but Lea was the patient's nurse and really took the extra time out of her day to spend time with the wife. Although the passing was expected by the clinical staff and we had been meeting regularly with the family to help them understand the prognosis and what the treatment plan looked like, it still was a very traumatic moment for the wife. Lea took the time to invite the wife in to help her with post-mortem care instead of having the LNAs perform this. Lea explained to the wife that in some cultures, providing post mortem care (cleaning, etc.) was a moment for the family to connect with the loved one who passed and send them into the afterlife. The wife and Lea spent some time in the room together talking and debriefing and working together in a quiet, peaceful environment. Lea was there for the wife while she sobbed and she listened to the wife express her love for her husband. After all was said and done, Lea went above and beyond for this family even though they were extremely difficult and created a very stressful environment for the other staff. Lea looked beyond that frustration and saw a wife and family not ready to let go of their loved one and wanted to do what she could to make the end as peaceful as possible. She gave them something else; a unique opportunity to connect to their loved one and was a shoulder for them to cry on in the process. I really admire how she handled this situation and that she thought outside the box to create a moment for the wife to be there for her husband and have some control at that moment.
Lea is a true DAISY Nurse because of her unconditional support for her team, her exceptional care, and empathy for her patients and for the moments when she is 100% there for her patients and their families. The story I shared is just one example of how great Lea is as a nurse, but it is one that has stuck with me since it happened two years ago.