As I sit at my computer I am having difficulty putting into words what I want to say about Tracey Forehand, RN, my colleague, my friend and my nominee for the DAISY award. Recently Tracey did something outstanding for a visitor at our hospital but I cannot tell you about that incident without first telling you a little something about Tracey.
Tracey is an outstanding nurse who gives 100% of herself each day. Most nurses know the difficulty in having to prioritize care because there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day. We leave things for the next shift, plan to do them tomorrow or just don’t get them done. Tracey on the other hand always finds the time for her patients. She will take on the most complex patient. She will review their chart, talk with their doctors and health care team members and develop a plan of care for them. Her responsibility to a patient will not end when her shift is over. Tracey will then follow up day to day to make sure the plan is being followed. Tracey gets the bedridden patient out of bed and walking when others thought it impossible. She finds tasty food for patients so they will eat and have their feeding tubes removed. She will bathe the patient with skin issues so she can assess their skin and implement proper skin care measures. She gets the depressed patient out of their room and to the lobby for sunshine. Tracey will do all these things and more no matter what. Tracey always finds the time.
In the past two years Tracey has had some personal struggles that she has conquered with the same fierceness that she does her nursing. Tracey is the mother of a teenage daughter. Tracey’s dedication to her daughter includes actively participating in her life and providing her with all the opportunities a child deserves. Along with raising her daughter Tracey has become the primary care giver for her mother who is battling an incurable cancer. When not at work Tracey is at her mother’s home, caring for her. Many times she has come to work with only a few hours of sleep yet still she is able to provide tireless care to her patients.
Although Tracey’s day to day performance at work is enough to be worthy of a DAISY nomination she recently had an outstanding DAISY moment. This past October Tracey was the charge nurse on a busy Saturday. The discharge pharmacy was closing in an hour, one of our patients was due to be discharged and his wife, Mrs. C needed to go to the outpatient pharmacy to pick up her husband’s discharge prescriptions.
Mrs. C asked Tracey for directions to the pharmacy. Mrs. C was unfamiliar with the hospital campus so Tracey, even though the unit was busy and she didn’t have the time, knew the right thing to do was escort Mrs. C to the pharmacy personally.
As they started for the pharmacy Tracey noticed that Mrs. C was a little short of breath. Tracey didn’t think this was unusual since Mrs. C was a smoker and had just walked back and forth to the CVS. Tracey did feel that the walk to the pharmacy would be too much for Mrs. C so Tracey got her car and they drove over to the pharmacy together.
As they waiting at the pharmacy Tracey noticed that Mrs. C seemed a bit restless. It was at this time that Mrs. C admitted she didn’t have enough money to pay for her husband’s prescriptions. Attributing Mrs. C’s behavior to this dilemma and knowing how important these discharge medications were to the patient, Mrs C’s husband, Tracey volunteered to pay for the prescriptions. While Tracey paid for the medications Mrs. C went outside to wait.
By the time Tracey came outside she could see that there was something wrong with Mrs. C. She was very short of breath and in obvious distress. Tracey questioned Mrs. C about how she was feeling and her medical history. Mrs. C told Tracey that she had a history of heart disease, had not been taking her medications and was now having chest and arm pain. Tracey told Mrs. C she needed to go to the emergency room and be evaluated but Mrs. C refused. She didn’t have the money and she was sure she would feel better if she just rested.
Keeping with Tracey’s character of always doing the right thing she insisted Mrs. C go to our Emergency Room. Mrs. C was getting worse by the second and Tracey was grateful that she had brought her car. As fast as possible Tracey brought Mrs. C to the ED. Tracey alerted the ED and the AOD that they were arriving and left Mrs. C in the care of the chest pain unit staff.
Later that day the AOD informed Tracey that Mrs. C did have a heart attack and within a half hour of her arrival at the ED was taken to the cardiac cath lab for an emergent angioplasty. A few days later Mrs. C was discharged but not after coming to our unit and giving Tracey a tearful thanks. The doctors told Mrs. C if she hadn’t gotten to the emergency room when she did, she would have died.
It is because of the difference Tracey made for Mrs. C and for the difference she makes every day at work and at home that I am proud to nominate Tracey Forehand, RN for the DAISY award.
Susan Rupar, RN