Patricia Ryan

Patricia Ryan

Patricia Ryan, RN, CBC

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Monmouth Medical Center
Long Branch, New Jersey
United States
The Purple Butterfly Project shows Patricia’s compassion for providing a caring and healing environment for families and staff.

I would like to nominate Patricia Ryan to be the recipient of the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses. In November of 2017, Patricia brought the idea to implement the Purple Butterfly Project to the NICU unit based council. The Purple Butterfly Project was started by a family in the United Kingdom after the death of one of their twins. While their surviving twin was recovering in the NICU, another mother commented that she was lucky to only have one baby. This devastated the family, and they wanted to find a way to honor their infant and also find a way to signal to other families in the NICU that there was a death. The butterfly is a symbol of the child who had ‘flown away’ and the color purple is gender neutral. If there is a death of a twin, the nurses will ask the family if they would like a purple butterfly placed in the living infant’s bed. This symbol will serve as a reminder to all that this was a multiple pregnancy, with a baby that has passed away.

Patricia, after presenting her idea, arranged for a mother who had lost one of her twins in the NICU to speak to the practice council to discuss the impact of having a loss of one her twins. The practice council, after hearing from Patricia and the mother, agreed that this would be a great project to implement on the unit. Patricia, along with other members of the practice council, put together a binder with information and educated all members of the staff. Signs were placed around the unit that explained what a purple butterfly at the baby’s bed meant.

I think her role in the implementation of the project shows many different qualities outlined in Jean Watson’s Caring Science. The Purple Butterfly Project shows Patricia’s compassion for providing a caring and healing environment for families and staff. I think it shows special human consideration in the caring and healing environment. I think it also honors the death and dignity of even the smallest of patients. Since the implementation of the project, there has been a twin loss and the mother was very grateful to have a purple butterfly placed at the surviving twin’s bedside. I think Patricia should be recognized for bringing such an amazing project to the unit, and really impacting the needs of families.