Liana Braga

Liana Braga

Liana Braga, RN, BSN

Medical Oncology
Yale New Haven Hospital
New Haven, Connecticut
United States
Liana's ability to mask the negative and focus on what's important is unmatched. L would look forward to seeing Liana each day. She was not embarrassed and even if fleeting, she smiled with comfort knowing Liana was taking care of her.

Liana consistently goes the extra mile for her patients, she delivers compassionate care every single shift for every single patient. Her nursing philosophy places equal priority on hanging antibiotics and giving a bed bath. She walks her patients, she brushes out their long scraggly beards, and she takes them down to the healing garden even if means using a Hoyer lift to get the patient to the recliner and then pushing the recliner down herself. But it doesn't stop there. She will sit with her patients in the healing garden while they describe what it's like to see the sunshine for the first time after being in the hospital for months. She is able to make meaningful connections with her patients whether they are simply discussing using bacon fat as a salad dressing or how a young mother is going to spend her last few months with her 5-year-old daughter at home while she battles excruciating cancer pain. She makes her patients laugh and that is a true blessing when you're on an inpatient medical oncology unit. I have seen her patients visibly sigh with relief when she tells them she is back the next day because they actually make a clinical improvement when she takes care of them. Patients and family members are constantly sharing their praises of Liana. They can never tell how truly busy she is because when she is in the room, they are her sole focus. Liana runs around all day caring for her own patients and yet still asks her fellow nurses if there is anything she can do to help them so that they can deliver compassionate care to their patients as well.

One patient, in particular, we'll call her L, is a 32 year old female diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2015. She has progressed despite multiple lines of treatment including chemotherapy, mastectomy, and radiation. L also has a 5-year-old daughter and has a complicated psychosocial history with her daughter's father. L has frequently been on our unit most notably for pain control. During her most recent admission that spanned the holidays, she was also told that she has even more progression of the disease and had no more treatment options. She was placed on a PCA pump to attempt to control her pain with minimal effect. L also insisted on being awake and alert enough to still have meaningful interactions with her daughter. Additionally, she has an extensive, bleeding breast wound that requires painful, intricate dressing changes at least twice a day. As you might imagine for a young woman this can be devastating to her self-image. But Liana's ability to mask the negative and focus on what's important is unmatched. L would look forward to seeing Liana each day. She was not embarrassed and even if fleeting, she smiled with comfort knowing Liana was taking care of her. L was anxious to go home and she was devastated by her prognosis. She intimately shared her biggest fears with Liana each day because the patient-clinician bond she formed with her was her safe space. L relied on Liana's reassurance and probably would not have had the courage to be discharged home if it weren't for her.

Liana was caring for a gentleman in his early 80s with a history of prostate cancer but currently battling an aggressive mantle cell lymphoma. He, unfortunately, experienced rapid progression in only 5 months, despite first-line therapy. He was admitted last summer for symptom management/complications after starting immunotherapy. During his hospitalization, Liana's patient, we'll refer to him as J, was poised to miss his granddaughter's wedding in Philadelphia. That was before Liana became his nurse. J's family was often present during his stay on our floor and they were all talking about their trip down to Philly for the upcoming nuptials. J and Liana discussed how much it would mean to him to see her walk down the aisle. So that's when Liana got to work. She coordinated with J's family so that someone present for the wedding could FaceTime J during the ceremony. That was only phase one. Liana then reached out to IT to have them set up the capability to stream the FaceTime to the big screen tv in our conference room. Then she spoke with Food and Nutrition and had them graciously make a wedding dessert spread complete with cookies, cupcakes, and coffee. Then she started decorating the conference room with streamers and confetti and paper cutouts. (This, by the way, is all while maintaining excellent care for a four patient assignment.) Finally, it was J's big moment. Liana got him all cleaned up, freshly shaved, hair combed and wheeled him into the conference room. J watched his granddaughter walk down the aisle with happy tears in his eyes. After the ceremony, they all passed the phone around to send J their well wishes. There are no words of gratitude that can truly capture what Liana provided for J that afternoon. J passed away that very same month. Liana is a blessing. She's a blessing to work with, she's a blessing to her patients, and she's a blessing to nursing.