Theresa "TJ" Lovdal
March 2017
Medical ICU
University of Virginia Health System
United States




A few months ago, when she was the MICU charge nurse, TJ had received some discouraging news, and I'm sure being at work did not make things easier. I remember having a very busy assignment that day. One of my patients had several procedures scheduled and medications to be titrated, and I was barely able to leave that room. My other patient was also very sick, but there was nothing more that we could offer medically for her. That patient's family had a difficult time coming to terms with the severity and finality of her condition and was unable to be at the bedside. Therefore, the patient had orders for "no escalation of care." I was stuck in my other patient's room when I saw my second patient's vital signs change, indicating that she was approaching death. I notified TJ of this change. When I was finished in my first patient's room, I went to check on my second patient. When I walked in, I saw TJ sitting at her bedside, holding her hand. I was so moved by this because I didn't ask TJ to sit with the patient as she died: TJ did it instinctually. I was relieved to know that that patient would not die alone and that a loving nurse would be there until the end. I knew without even asking that TJ would remain with her unless another patient on the unit started to decompensate. After the patient passed, we all said a prayer, TJ and I both started crying, and she gave me a huge hug. She made sure I was ok and continued to offer encouragement throughout the day.
Later in the day, another nurse's patient began to decompensate. He had a central line placed, received an EGD, and countless blood products for a severe GI bleed. During all these procedures, TJ was right there to support that nurse and her patient. The patient eventually was rushed to Interventional Radiology. While the nurse was in IR, she called up to the unit because she needed more medications for the patient. Not only did TJ bring the medications to the nurse, but she stayed with her for about two hours to help manage such an unstable patient (TJ had found coverage for her charge nurse duties prior to leaving the unit). I was so impressed by TJ's selfless and determined attitude.
Although it was a crazy and busy day, TJ's strong charge nurse skills enabled us nurses to better care for our patients. TJ has so much compassion for her patients. She is so personable and always seems to have a great rapport with patients and their families. She always has a willing attitude to help others: not just patients, but also nurses. She supports, encourages, comforts, and teaches her coworkers. I know that when TJ is working, it will be a good day. TJ definitely pours her heart and soul into nursing, and it clearly shows.