Tina Benavidez

Tina Benavidez

Tina Benavidez, RN

Emergency Department
University Medical Center of Southern Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
United States
She had been missing for about 2 days prior to Tina being able to identify her. Tina called the missing persons unit and the investigator on the case arrived about 15 minutes later. B’s grateful husband followed shortly thereafter and the two were united.

This nurse is a wonderful part of our department. On a routine basis, she brightens the lives of everyone she encounters, patients and other staff alike. Her demeanor is always bright and she shows an amazing ability to empathize with patients, families and her co-workers. She is compassionate, knowledgeable and caring and often does a lot of work, “behind the scenes” to advocate for her patients and ensure they are well taken care of, and, above all else, safe.

One example of Tina’s excellence stands out above others. One the morning Tina received a “stat” patient. This is our common term for patients with no known identity. The patient was a woman in her late 50’s to mid 60’s with an altered mental status. The patient was found wandering the streets. She was confused, disoriented and could only report to caregivers that her name was ‘B’ and that she had been married for 3 years. As Tina assisted B in changing into a hospital gown, she noticed that B seemed better cared for than many others who are brought in off the streets. B was wearing some jewelry, her undergarments were clean, and she appeared to be in good general condition. These clues led Tina to believe that B was not homeless, but in fact, she was missing her home.

Tina spent the morning attempting to call 311, the non-emergency line for police help, to no avail. She repeatedly spoke with B to try and get more information from her, but B could not provide anything. It was only later in the day, when a metro police officer walked by and waved at B, that Tina found some hope. She quickly approached the officer and asked if he knows the patient. He replied that he did, and offered the patient’s full name. He also reported that B was on the news about a month prior and suggested that Tina look her up online. Tina did just that and, through the pictures that she found online, she was able to identify that patient, a retired Las Vegas Metro Police corrections officer who now suffers Alzheimer's disease. She had been missing for about 2 days prior to Tina being able to identify her. Tina called the missing persons unit and the investigator on the case arrived about 15 minutes later. B’s grateful husband followed shortly thereafter and the two were united.

All too often, patients in the ED are moved as quickly as possible and are forgotten as soon as they are discharged. Unfortunately, this is the nature of working in our environment. Tina’s actions on that day showed the impact of a caring nurse who was willing to go a bit outside her job description and well above and beyond her call of duty to reunite a lost woman with her husband. Tina showed what being an extraordinary nurse is all about and the ED is made better by having her here.