Shannon Callen

Shannon Callen, RN

UPMC Shadyside
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
United States

Shannon was my sister-in-law’s daylight nurse for three heart-wrenching days. I have no doubt whatsoever that my sister-in-law received the most professional and compassionate care while in the ICU. She was not your typical patient. She was a special needs adult who did not communicate easily under the best of circumstances but she always heard what was said and remembered everything. When she was Shannon’s patient she was unable to communicate at all; she presented a unique challenge. Shannon always made sure that she informed her about what was happening to her and around her. I fully believe that Shannon’s reassuring voice was heard comforted her.
From the moment I met Shannon, I knew she was a consummate professional. She juggled so many responsibilities and crises during my sister-in-law’s stay. She handled complex family situations with grace. We all so completely trusted in her care that we were heartbroken to find out she actually had an upcoming day off. We never wanted her shift to end. I have a medical background, so I asked many, many questions. Shannon always took her time to answer all of them. She always let me know how lab results came back, how ventilator settings were changed and when medications were added or changed. This knowledge gave me peace of mind, and allowed me to relate the information to our large extended family in layman terms. Shannon’s patience allowed us all to understand aspects of her patient’s complex needs and care. This, in turn, gave us some small sense of empowerment over a situation over which we had no power.
We could always tell how she was doing by the look on Shannon’s face. She told us that this was a criticism when she left nursing school, but we always saw it as a blessing. It was a true sign that she cared. She was so committed to her that she also showed emotion when things deteriorated. Most importantly, Shannon held me as I cried for my sister-in-law. She understood the burden of knowing more than you really wanted to know about critical care situations. She told me more than once that my job was to love her, and her job was to care for her. But I think Shannon did both.