This is a nomination for the DAISY in Training Award for George Johnson, a student who prior to attending nursing school was an active duty U.S. Air Force Medic.
It was the second day of clinical on a busy complex medical unit, both patients assigned the previous day had been discharged, so the student received two new patients. One patient, an elderly female, admitted during the night for dehydration was improving but struggling to fully engage in the schedule of activities for the day. The student was diligent in planning and delivering care, and in completing frequent assessments of her vital signs and fluid volume status. He also knew her advanced age of 82 and without family at the bedside, would predispose her to not only loneliness but risk for injuries due to falls.
To insure that the patient environment was safe and assure she was provided emotional support, he scheduled his time to spend as much time each hour as he could. He maintained this schedule and continued to care for his second patient as well. It is noteworthy to include, this student is not only clinically competent, but demonstrates kind, empathic and compassionate care. These characteristics are always apparent, and his patients often provide feedback to me on his demeanor and attitude when I make patient rounds.
Throughout the morning and into lunch, the student kept close contact with this patient, and she continued to experience stable vital signs, as she participated in the plan developed by the student. After lunch, while in the bathroom, the patient experienced a syncopal episode. Her blood pressure dropped, and her oxygen saturation decreased to 89%. The staff responded to the patient, helped her back to bed, and assessed vital signs and oxygen saturation. The student responded as well, but before he got to the room, the patient repeatedly called for him. She said, “I need George, I need my student, he is my intern. I just need George."
Given that this student had cared for this patient for approximately five hours when this event occurred, and the relationship that had evolved was so strong reflects upon the quality of the interactions between the student and the patient. In today’s health care setting, which is fast paced with short length of stays by the patient, and increasing admissions of our elderly patients, I believe that the nursing profession must adapt in order to meet the patient’s needs. This student provided the excellent care, compassion, empathy, and teaching that allowed this patient to place total trust in his clinical judgement and skills. Nursing is a very demanding profession, however, this young novice nurse is more than prepared and has “the right stuff” to be an outstanding nurse in whatever area he chooses.