Toe Zaw has the natural ability to be the nurse his patients need, subtly adjusting his demeanor and presence to create a relationship of trust with every patient.
In our ED, we have had as a patient who is young, chronically inebriated and homeless, who has the additional disadvantage of being deaf. He is an extremely difficult patient because he is nearly always aggressive and combative with staff. He has required forcible restraint on more than one occasion for his own safety and the safety of those caring for him. Through his patience and kindness Toe has been able to connect with this young man. Incredibly, in this patient's eyes, he and Toe are friends. Toe's very presence calms and reassures this young man and changes the dynamic of care. It means the difference between quietly sleeping off his intoxication or being physically restrained.
This may sound like a lot of praise, but I have yet to talk about Toe as a teammate and coworker. You will not find one person in any department, on any floor who does not like working with Toe. He is a positive presence who can actually create a positive environment wherever he is.
Toe's leadership seems almost unintentional. He leads by example. He inspires through his compassionate care and hard work. I have actually observed an increase in teamwork and cooperation among the staff when Toe is working. Others will work hard with Toe because they know he has and will always have their backs. Any department would be happy to have a nurse who gives this kind of quality care to patients, but the staff in the Swedish Ballard ED recognize that we are especially fortunate that Toe Zaw is one of us.