As parents age, there are inevitable consequences: late-night phone calls, extended hospital stays, family stress. As a nurse with 30 years' experience and parents in their eighties, this should not have taken me by surprise. But it did. When my father was diagnosed with lymphoma and did not respond to treatment as anticipated, I switched roles with my medical colleagues - now client instead of coworker. I didn't expect to be in this position, but I'm grateful for how one nurse's caregiving is providing a model for my own professional development.
Tammy Krogh has been the consummate nurse during my father's long hospital stay. Her mix of expertise and encouragement was the perfect mix for my dad. Her knowledge helped place my father at ease, which helped reassure the relatives in this time zone (my mother and me), as well as my siblings in Colorado and Georgia (who I would immediately call, text, or email). Tammy was eager to assist, explain and answer questions concerning lab test and medication responses. She showed confidence and experience as she used resources in other departments and brought that information back to our father.
The encouragement that Tammy provided was invaluable on so many levels. Sometimes that encouragement manifested as perfectly-timed humor that produced a smile on a worn face. Other times her encouragement was focused on meeting my father's spiritual needs. She was able to walk the fine line that medical professionals must walk in relating to their patients. Still other times she mixed her knowledge and encouragement while insisting on an exercise regimen that my father did not welcome - note that the regime was not welcomed, but Tammy certainly was!
It was abundantly clear that Tammy became "one of the girls" in our family. I have learned so much from Tammy. I have always tried to display the "bedside manner" that I thought would be most helpful for my patients and their families. But now, through watching what exemplary nursing looks like, I have a clear picture of how exemplary nursing feels. I am grateful to Tammy for providing that experience for my father and family, but I am inspired by her example to adjust my nursing practice and hope to extend her kindness and professionalism to my own patient's families.