Timothy Hockenbury
April 2017
University of Virginia Health System
United States




My father has been in the ICU for two weeks and counting and we have been fortunate to have Tim as our nurse a number of times. He obviously sees very sick patients every day, but we only know the single one: our dad. Tim approaches patient care as if my dad is the most important patient he's ever had. He has even stopped by to say hello when he's assigned elsewhere and has offered an extra pair of hands to other nurses many times. His dedication to the care of our whole family, in addition to the minute-to-minute medical challenges presented by an 82-year-old man with multiple heart issues, are impossible to overstate. My dad has been sedated, on a ventilator and continuous dialysis, yet Tim speaks directly to my dad, explaining procedures and in every situation displaying extraordinary kindness to a man who may not even be aware of it. But as we, his family, sit by his bedside, we are aware of the compassion Tim provides to our dad and others.
The prognosis for my dad was bleak even before surgery. And the multiple heart problems during and following surgery created an incredibly unstable situation for the first week that my dad was in ICU. From cardiac arrest the first day to unpredictable drops in blood pressure, kidney shutdown, pneumonia, and other complications, the road for my dad was rocky with no clear happy ending for some time. I believe that Tim's medical knowledge and his astute attention to the patient, not just the numbers on a screen, gave my dad a chance that he might not otherwise have had.
Tim has just been amazing to watch with my elderly father. Tim has been respectful of my dad, and so compassionate in the care he has provided. He seems very worried about him and watches his screens for any sign of distress. Tim spends much more time in the room with my Dad than anyone else. I know they are watching the monitors from the station, but Tim is watching his face and his hands, the motions of his legs for any signs of a need or a change in his condition. I can't tell you how reassuring this was for all of us, particularly during the first week post surgery.
Tim is obviously very well-regarded by the doctors and other nurses too. They ask him his opinion on things and take his recommendations in terms of pain relief and positioning my Dad for his ultimate comfort. For example, Tim was a big proponent of not waiting through the weekend to have my Dad's vent relocated from his mouth to his neck. Tim knew doing this would ease my Dad's discomfort considerable and he was vocal about this with the doctors when they came through.