Ali has been a nurse for three and a half years and joined the PICU team two years ago. Since Ali has been in our unit, she consistently provides compassionate care not only to her patients but to their families. However, one of her more recent patients is the most memorable.
Ali was working the night shift when she was assigned to a critically ill toddler in the PICU who had recently been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), a type of blood cancer. The patient was receiving multiple life-saving measures due to the disease process and complications from treatment. All shift, Ali used her critical thinking skills and exceptional assessment skills as she identified various changes in her patient's status. She worked quickly and efficiently with the PICU team as she started numerous continuous vasopressor infusions for cardiac support, administered multiple blood products, and assisted the Respiratory team when changing the patient from mechanical ventilation to high frequency ventilation. Ali remained calm and composed through these stressful and critical situations that occurred throughout her shift. Despite all of the time she put towards taking care of her patient, she was sure to make time to explain all of her actions to the family and answered their questions and addressed their concerns for their son.
Ali was persistent in delivering the best care for this patient. She spent many nights in the patient's room, assessing every detail and identifying slight changes in his status and acting accordingly. She constantly collaborated with the PICU attending physicians, consulting physicians, respiratory therapists and other members of the interprofessional healthcare team to create and implement the safest plan of care for this patient. Ali even picked up an extra shift so she could care for this patient and to help maintain continuity of care.
Not only did Ali display exceptional clinical judgment and excellent clinical skills, but her compassionate care with the family was extraordinary. She maintained this little boy's integrity by making sure he had his blanket and comfort item, "George" nearby. This touched the parents in a way that is indescribable.
Ali was not only this family's advocate, she was their voice. She was there for them at times when the medical team didn't think he would survive. She listened to them and heard their fears, concerns and frustrations. She was a "shoulder to cry on", an "ear" for listening and a "heart" for comfort. Ali even made them smile with a joke or two on the good days!
Ali cared for this boy every night she worked while he was in the PICU. After he transferred to the general pediatric floor, his parents invited her to visit. Since his discharge home, they still keep in touch. In addition, family and friends hosted a benefit for the family and, of course, Ali was invited. The parents paraded her around the benefit, introducing her to an abundance of people who were in attendance. Both the mother and father gave Ali "shot outs" while they were on stage saying all of their thank-yous. Mom also thanked Ali for keeping dad "sane" when he took the night shift so mom could go home to be with the other siblings and get some rest herself.
Ali went above and beyond for this patient and his family. The family expressed their appreciation for the PICU team and they were especially grateful for Ali's hard work, dedication, knowledge and critical thinking skills but most importantly her compassionate care.