I recently had two separate admissions to UW Hospital for a GI bleed, and I was fortunate to be treated by professional staff from admission in the ER through my ultimate assignment to F4/4. At all levels of care, the professionalism and empathy that I was shown were outstanding, but a new standard was experienced in F4/4.
I suffered an injury to my sternum as a result of chest compressions in the ER and experienced significant discomfort trying to rest or even lay down to sleep. Both my daytime and nighttime nurses were attentive to my discomfort and arranged for me to sleep in the recliner chair in my room. They made certain that I was comfortable by providing extra pillows and warm blankets. Not only did they monitor me constantly, but also alleviated the anxiety I had not knowing what was causing my bleed or when I would be able to go home. They provided a level of care and compassion that made me feel special, even though I knew they had a "full house" of patients on the floor. The briefing each nurse provided to the "changing of the shift" was detailed and thorough and I knew the daily visits by doctors/residents also benefited from this exchange of information. I looked forward to the frequent visits from both Hannah and, my daytime nurse, and Carolyn, my nighttime nurse. Their smiles and reassuring conversations whenever I asked questions or required assistance, was the best therapy I could have received. They treated me like family!
The charge nurse, Allison, was nothing short of exceptional. On several occasions, she would observe me walking the halls to get exercise when I could not sleep or was simply uncomfortable sitting in my recliner. Allison would take the time to stop and talk to me, ask about what brought me to the hospital, and inquire about the care I was receiving. After our first meeting, she took the time to read into my medical chart and would discuss with me the results of the various tests and answer my questions. It became very obvious to me the culture of care and professionalism that she had instilled in her staff.
One day, when I was feeling particularly depressed; Allison came into my room and encouraged me to take a walk with her onto the rooftop garden. She seemed to know that I needed some fresh air and reassurance and when I returned to my room, I had a quiet cry and reflected on how much her attention had made me feel better. I am certain that Allison treated all her assigned patients with the same empathy and personal care, but she made me feel special, and for that, I will always be grateful. Hannah, Carolyn, and Allison all manifest the skills and professionalism that are often idealized but seldom realized in a hospital setting, and for this, you can all be selfishly proud.