Maria DeJesus was assigned to take care of M, a patient with down syndrome. M was a somewhat challenging patient as his hospital stay made him very anxious being away from his routine. M was crying a lot, he couldn’t follow directions well, he didn’t want to eat or take his medications, and most of all - he was very difficult to understand. M needed a lot of one on one attention and therefore the nurse’s hands were always full.
Maria showed extreme compassion taking care of M. She took the time to sit down and talk to him until his anxiety level went down and he was able to make eye contact with her. Once the eye contact was established, M was able to follow directions better. That alone took a lot of patience and unsuccessful trials before he started opening up his eyes and looking at his nurse. Maria took the time to find out what was his favorite food, and once she established it was ice cream, she was able to work with M so that he took his daily medications and started eating better. She kept on digging deeper to see what would make him smile and relax.
Every day that she took care of him - she challenged herself to make a difference for him today, and she worked hard until she saw a positive difference in his behavior. Maria became M’s friend when she was his nurse. When he saw her face - he smiled and waved; when she walked into his room - he wanted to hug her. Maria went along, as she knew that hug meant a lot not only to him but also to her. She established a relationship with M that not many were capable of doing. She showed the rest of our team that her challenge became a rewarding journey to make her patient smile.