I am a dad of a 7E patient, and I witnessed something pretty incredible today at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan. I didn't know Valerie Forrest RN prior to this evening, but I will not forget her any time soon. I preface this story with the fact that my daughter has been fighting Osteosarcoma at Beaumont Hospital for the last 8 months. During this fight, we had the opportunity to work with some great nurses. My view of what is great relative to Registered Nurses however has been altered forever after my visit to C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.
Valerie Forrest is a great nurse. My daughter had surgery today to remove several tumors from her right lung, and I will take this opportunity to write that C.S. Mott Children's Hospital is an outstanding facility with some pretty remarkable employees. The surgery was successful, and my wife, daughter, and I were able to celebrate a victory today! My daughter was recovering in her room, my wife had left, and it was shift change with the nurses, so it was at that time of day when I met Valerie.
Valerie was assessing my daughter and looked under the covers to view her chest tube from the thoracotomy and looked perplexed. She asked if the doctors had seen my daughter recently, and I advised they had examined her an hour prior. She asked me whether they were aware of leakage and that it seemed excessive. I told her I didn't know, so she subsequently called the resident on duty. The resident arrived and after evaluating the situation, agreed with Valerie, and added additional gauze and tape to the site. All seemed good, and the resident and Valerie left the room. My daughter woke up soon after and said she felt something running down her back. I looked and noticed more leakage, and I let Valerie know. The resident then returned and added more gauze and tape and left. Moments later, my daughter felt additional fluid running down her back, so immediately let Valerie know.
Valerie came in and observed the wound, and I could tell that she thought something was wrong. This is where I witnessed true leadership and greatness in Valerie. She called the lead nurse on duty and requested that she too observe the continued leakage at the chest tube site, and she also looked perplexed. Valerie then called the resident and from what I could discern from the conversation, he was planning to return and add additional gauze and tape. Valerie left the room and when she came back she let me know that the resident was on his way to the room, but that she had also called 2 nurses from the cardiovascular unit who deal with thoracotomies all the time, and that they were coming to look at the site.
The 2 nurses came to the room with what looked to be a toolbox. They looked really prepared! Valerie showed them the wound and leakage, and I could tell immediately that they knew what was wrong and exactly what to do! Both nurses jumped right in to fix the chest tube by removing the old bloody dressing, cleaning the area, and applying a clean dressing, and the leakage stopped! I regained control of my emotions and thanked these 2 nurses calling them "angels from above". They were there in the room and helped my daughter because of Valerie.
I am sorry for the lengthy email, but I wanted to let you know the lengths to which your employee went when she felt something was amiss. Instincts, smarts, persistence, human nature, training, or whatever it was, she pushed and pushed and pushed again to make something she knew was wrong, right! That is leadership. It is taking the ball and running with it amidst adversity because you believe you are right. I have not witnessed that type of courage and commitment in a very long time. I am so glad that I met Valerie and wanted to share this story with you. I am sure she is destined for great things in the future!