In the course of daily work in Tower 7 MSICU Blue, Tasha is a dedicated and hardworking RN. Tasha will help you tidy up a patient when nature called or just do it for you if you are busy with your other patient. Tasha is a planner, coordinator, and she has brought spirit to MSICU Blue staff by planning a series of wonderful parties. Chief among them, she shared the responsibility for a holiday party with a wonderful venue and more games, events, and prizes than I thought were possible. No going away party is without food or holiday without an impromptu celebration. Despite her wonderful attributes and outgoing nature, one event has fueled her nomination for The DAISY Award. Very recently I witnessed Tasha exponentially exceed expectations in her efforts to make a patient's final day meaningful.
Many departments and many nurses experience the trauma and tragedy of a terminal patient who is also a young spouse and parent. The challenge is greater when the patient has a new diagnosis of terminal cancer and patient had been healthy up until the prior month. This was the situation that was presented in Tower 7 MSICU Blue. Our declining patient quickly progressed from respiratory distress to respiratory failure, to intubation, and eventually to septic shock when his bowel ruptured. As more and more medications and pumps hung from our patient's once bare IV pole, the scenario was presenting itself to his family and to our department, our patient was going to die, and he was likely going to die on his 42nd birthday.
Tasha built a strong rapport with the family of this patient, she spent time with his wife when she served as his nurse and even when she was not his nurse. When faced with the dilemma of a patient expiring on his birthday, Tasha's logical response, at the end of the preceding shift, was "well, I guess we are having a birthday party tomorrow". Unknown to anyone on Tower 7 MSICU Blue, Tasha left work that day and went shopping for the necessities of an extravagant birthday celebration. When I think of an adult's birthday I think of a reasonably subdued event. In contrast, our patient's final birthday party included catering, a huge cake, party favors, and decorations: for the twenty plus family members who spilled out of the room and into the hallway of our unit. As the entire department's RN and MD staff, the RN supervisor, and several other assorted patient family members belted out Happy Birthday, our patient's wife had an opportunity to feel and experience joy once more with her husband. From an outsider's perspective, our patient's wife and her husband, in that brief moment, were able to be somewhere else other than in the hospital; they could have been celebrating a birthday at home.
He lived for several more hours. Morphine and Ativan eventually infused through pumps still labeled with pink and green tape reading "Levo" and "Vaso". His septic shock eventually led to bradycardia, then asystoli, and upon recognizing the infamous "flat-line"; silence emerged from the laughter of his family's light-hearted reminiscing. When his wife's tears of joy gave way to his widow's tears of devastation, Tasha once again provided physical and emotional support and compassion.
The emotional burden and mission to comfort a family, that Tasha undertook that day, makes her a true DAISY Nurse. On that afternoon, Tasha served as a crutch to hold a grieving family together and give them a moment of joy within their period of despair.