Sara McClelland
September 2015
University of Virginia Health System
United States




...Sara is a kind, patient, and loving nurse who easily connects and reaches out to others in all situations. One day there was a little two-year-old girl who was admitted to the PICU, and needed an IV. The child had been extremely anxious over the past several days and would be heard screaming down the hallways and yelling at staff members. To place the IV, the team decided that we could use some nasal sedation to help calm her, but getting the sedation to her was going to be a challenge. When Sara came into the room, the first thing she did was start to play with the little girl. She picked up on the fact that the child liked the movie Frozen and then pulled up frozen songs in the room and started to dance with the little girl. For the first time since admission, she stopped screaming, was playing and was starting to like Sara. After creating this bond she described that she was going to give her a "medicine squirt in her nose". After learning this, the child got in her bed, laid still and received her therapy in a calm environment. This is a perfect example of Sara being able to survey a situation to create a warm, healing, and safe environment so others can provide the care that is needed.

Another event that recently occurred was there was a traumatic death of a teenager in the STBICU. While family members were devastated, the staff was also very concerned and wanted to provide peaceful and age appropriate end of life care. The nurses called down to our department to explore options for end of life care on a teenager. Sara quickly gathered PICU resources and went down to the STBICU. She spent time with the staff caring for this patient to create hand molds with them, collect locks of hair, and to create a memory box for this patient's family to cherish. She also spent time with nurses and physicians to teach about end of life management strategies that are often performed in the PICU and to see if practices can be utilized on "adult" patients. The STBICU nurses were able to provide a beautiful and peaceful passing of this patient with all the support and resources that Sara provided.

Sara models compassionate care every day. She sets an example to all healthcare professionals the power of kindless and compassion and the positive impact it places on patients and families during some of the most stressful situtaions of their life.