Surgical Intensive Care Unit/Nursing
Our patient was a young woman who was admitted to our unit following extensive abdominal surgery and had to undergo further surgeries during her long stay in our unit. She also developed neurological changes, and lost the ability to move and speak for a period of time, becoming very distant and withdrawn. Teresa was very cognizant of the fact that this young woman was going through a lot, both physically and mentally. She was very understanding, patient and kind to both her patient and her parents, and spent as much time as possible caring for her patient. For example, Teresa took the time to wash and style her patient’s hair, which helped her feel much better. As a young woman, her appearance was important to her and this attention had a positive effect on her self-image. This young lady was facing yet another surgery and was obviously apprehensive about another procedure. Teresa took time to sit with her and reassure and comfort her, helping to alleviate her fears.
Teresa also was very supportive of her patient’s family. Her parents were obviously very anxious and concerned for their daughter. They had stayed at the hospital for weeks, as they did not feel comfortable leaving their daughter. They saw that Teresa was very compassionate and taking such good care of their daughter that they made the decision to go home for the night to get some much needed rest. In fact they gave a ‘Bravo’ recognition to Teresa and commented "Thank you for caring for our daughter. You have a good heart and are an excellent nurse. Your care allowed me to go home and get some much-needed sleep. You took care of her and it's obvious you love people. You are doing something special and amazing here".
Sometimes in the clinical environment of the SICU where people are critically ill, it can be difficult to "see" the patient as a person when they are attached to many different machines. Teresa saw her patient as a person, a young woman whose life had been turned upside down and took the time to show kindness and compassion. Her patient was comforted after Teresa spent time reassuring her and her mood was improved by the kindness and care given by Teresa and her parents felt comfortable leaving for the night.
Teresa demonstrated kindness and empathy, and along with her clinical skills, made a difference for her patient and her parents.