Merline D'Souza

Merline D'Souza

Merline D'Souza, RN

Harborview Medical Center, UW Medicine
Seattle, Washington
United States

...I was a patient on 3WH in late August, 2013. Ms. D'Souza was the RN who provided care during the night shift, which is the time I was admitted to the floor from the Emergency Department.

I can honestly say that I have never experienced the nursing care that she provided in my entire life. She was the best nurse I have ever run across, both as a Registered Nurse myself or as a patient. Even as an RN and a lawyer who has spent her entire career working in health care, visiting the Emergency Department and being admitted to the hospital is a scary process; much more so that I ever imagined. Ms. D'Souza treated me with the perfect blend of professionalism and kindness, checking on me and making conversation in a considerate manner - talking to me when I wanted to talk, and leaving me alone when I wanted to be left alone. She seemed to intuit my emotional needs, besides handling my physical needs perfectly, professionally and compassionately.

In preparation of this request to honor Ms. D'Souza for recognition, I pulled up the definition of "nurse" in Webster's Dictionary, a "profession within the healthcare sector focused on the care of individuals, families and communities so they may attain, maintain or recover optimal health and quality of life." She clearly falls within this definition, and performed, with me, beyond the "focus of care of (an) individual." However, this definition seems to come up short. To me, it misses an almost undefinable aspect of nursing. I have thought for a long time about what the ineffable trait might be. And it finally hit me.

She helped me feel SAFE. I felt safe while I was a patient under her care.

This seems to be a simple concept but it is of enormous importance. I was able to relax and to feel that I was going to be "okay" simply by her kind and professional demeanor and presence. How can a patient heal or get better without that sense of feeling safe? I can honestly think of no higher praise for a nurse.