Suzette Gaines is an excellent critical care nurse in medical intensive care but she has sustained her passion and expertise for caring for the critically ill burned patient.
On Sunday morning November 1st at 0500 the doctor came to me and said there was a patient on the acute care floor that she was worried about. I asked "What was wrong?" The doctor proceeded to tell me that a 30 year old woman was experiencing erythema multiform as a result of medication reaction.
Approximately 30% of her body was affected. The doctor said she did not know how to manage or who to consult. I told her bring the patient to the unit and pointing to Suzette stated that she would evaluate and manage this patient. I knew with 100% confidence that Suzette would know what to do. When the patient arrived, Suzette and colleague Aaron Henderson RN went right to work assessing the patient. By Suzette's assessment 95% of the skin was sloughing off, patient was screaming in pain, and there was no skin to even take a non-invasive blood pressure. She recognized that the oral cavity, perineum, and hands were involved and the patient was at significant risk for shock and sepsis. Suzette single handily led the team in care. Without missing a beat she spearheaded the plan of care for this patient, and executed it flawlessly.
Knowing that the receiving Burn center would have to re-evaluate and remove all dressings she asked Aaron to call the unit and ask what dressings to place. The patient was cleaned with normal saline and the patient was wrapped in Covidine absorbent pads with extreme care to keep her warm. Suzette and Aaron were very concerned for the patient's comfort and advocated for a central line for pain management and fluid resuscitation. After the central line was placed both Aaron and Suzette made sure the patient received adequate pain control and IV fluids were initiated. Suzette worked with cool and calm authority, knowing the patient needed to be treated in a critical care burn unit. Using her amazing calming voice, delicate touch, and reassuring words, Suzette was able to prevent any more fluid loss, further infection, and facilitate appropriate care. As the charge nurse, I knew arranging a helicopter for transport to Augusta was the right thing to do. When the next shift of nurses and doctors arrived I felt assured that the patient was prepared for transport. And most importantly this young lady was comfortable and confident in our care.
Suzette made us all proud to be her colleagues and have the opportunity to witness such extraordinary care and skill.