My nurse manager gave me the highest compliment I could ever hope to receive, she told me I was like Willie. I can only hope to be as compassionate and effective as a nurse as Willie. When I first came to the VA, she served as my preceptor and still today is a cherished mentor. I have the distinct pleasure to count her among my colleagues. She is the personification of the VA’s core values. She works so hard to ensure her patients have what they need to care for themselves. Willie has developed countless educational tools for patients and staff, more often than not on her own time. She treats every patient with dignity and respect.
There was one day that a Code Triage was called in the clinic for a female veteran who was dizzy, diaphoretic, and confused with weakness in her legs. The patient had lost control of her urine and was embarrassed. Willie and I responded to the code, and all the while our patient was apologizing. Willie maintained her kind demeanor and continually reassured her that “it was okay, it happens to the best of us”. We work in primary care, so it’s been a long time since anyone here has bathed a patient or made a bed with a patient in it, but Willie didn’t miss a beat. She took charge and we rolled the patient to one side of the stretcher and got her cleaned up and changed the linens and rolled her back. We put the patient’s soiled clothes in a plastic bag and gave them to her partner and dressed her in a paper gown with a paper sheet on top. That patient was transferred to the ER by ambulance and she and I cleaned up the procedure room together. Even outside of this incident, Willie never looks flustered. You never see her sweat. She treats her patients and colleagues with respect and dignity. If ever I need to know how to do something right, I can always look to her.