Mary Beth Coyle is the epitome of compassion. Her Patients receive excellent and compassionate care when they encounter Mary Beth. Her patients often comment that Mary Beth sets the bar high and they are usually convinced they will never meet another nurse like her. Mary Beth embodies true caring, kindness, and compassion towards her patients. She is admired and loved by her patients and the staff on the unit. She is a preceptor, a mentor, and a role model. Recently, during my patient rounds, I encountered a patient with an extensive medical history which involved multiple extended hospital stays and stem cell transplant. The patient shed tears while he described the exceptional care he received from Mary Beth. In his own words, “I have encountered several fine nurses in my lifetime, but Mary Beth, is by far, the best nurse I have ever had in my 20 years of illness”.
Approximately 11 years ago, patient L.C. was admitted to the hospital with Appendicitis. After surgery, L.C. received the sad news that he had advanced colon cancer. At this time, he was only 43 years old, married, and had 2 young children. He also owned his own business. Mary Beth happened to care for L.C. on that day. Over the span of 11 years, he has had several surgeries for abdominal obstruction and was readmitted to the unit multiple times. Each time, he would request to be cared for by Mary Beth.
Over time, this patient developed a special bond with Mary Beth. As his disease progressed, it became apparent that his time was limited. He too was accepting of his fate. Mary Beth knew exactly what food he liked to eat, she knew how difficult night time was for him, and knew that his deepest desires were to be there for his son’s first hockey game and to see his daughter go to prom. Mary Beth facilitated the daughter’s visit in her prom dress while L.C. was hospitalized. Marybeth also rallied the staff to cheer L.C.’s son on as he watched his son on TV in his hospital room play his first hockey game. Eventually, L.C. passed on. In Marybeth’s exact words, “On that cold day, when I said goodbye, I looked back to the past 10 years and realized what a privilege it was to be part of this kind, caring and gentle person’s journey. I had seen his 2 children grow to become young adults and I saw the strength, support and love of a caring spouse. It is sad to say goodbye to my friend but I was blessed to have been part of his journey”.
A week ago, we had a patient who was admitted to our unit for a scheduled G.I surgery. The anticipated length of stay for this surgery was 2-3 days. Due to several complications, this patient spent 3 weeks on our unit. His wife spent about 12 to 16 hours a day by his bedside. By the second week, she was exhausted, her smile faded and she had several episodes of crying about her husband’s condition. On one of the days, the patient told Mary Beth that his wife’s birthday was coming up the next day. Mary Beth, in her usual way, was able to plan a birthday celebration for the patient’s wife. She bought balloons, ordered a cake, and the unit provided her with flowers. For the whole day, the wife’s face lit up again, she was excited about this caring attitude from Mary Beth and became rejuvenated all at once.
Mary Beth often volunteers to care for the patients with more challenging, difficult to manage or new ostomies. She is so compassionate and thorough in her care and teaching of the patients, that their acceptance of the situation is easier. She often takes time several times a day to sit and teach these patients or their loved ones how to care for their ostomies. In one of the letters from a discharged patient, the patient wrote, “She is certainly above and beyond what I would have expected. She made my stay a learning experience. All procedures were explained and I felt very comfortable and at home in all my interactions with Mary Beth.”
Mary Beth is a seasoned, well-rounded nurse whose care conforms to the mission, vision and values of Yale-New Haven Hospital. Mary Beth delivers patient–centered care with integrity, respect, accountability and compassion. Mary Beth currently is a shared governance representative for the surgical cluster; she is also a Magnet Representative and was recently chosen as one of the Margaret Ambassadors. She is dependable and reliable, and one of the unit cheerleaders for evidence-based initiatives on the unit.