Billie Jean Carter

Billie Jean Carter

Billie Jean Carter, RN, CMSRN, Certified Infusion RN

Interventional Cardiology Unit.
Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center
Mechanicsville, Virginia
United States
We explained to Billie over the phone the issues with the portacath. She said, "I can be there in 20 minutes as soon as I get my PJ's off and uniform on."

As the signs throughout the hospital remind us, "It only takes a minute to make a difference," Billie Jean Carter gave more than just a minute to make a difference for a very sick oncology patient. Our Vascular Access Team was contacted by the primary nurse for help with a portacath for a patient. The primary nurse had exhausted all her resources and was desperate to find someone to help with re-accessing and troubleshooting the patient's portacath. Because the problem with the portacath involved more than just a de-clotting issue, we knew that we needed to reach out to someone with greater expertise with portacaths. I told the primary nurse that we would find someone to help. The first person that came to my mind was Billie Jean Carter.
I knew Billie Jean was a certified oncology nurse as well as an infusion nurse. We went to IVCU and asked the clinical care lead if Billie Jean was working and explained the situation. Billie wasn't working on the unit that day but they had her number and would call her so we could speak with her. As it turned out Billie Jean had not long been home from working at the outpatient infusion clinic that day. We explained to Billie over the phone the issues with the portacath. She said, "I can be there in 20 minutes as soon as I get my PJ's off and uniform on." We did not ask Billie to come in, but she explained that it would be the best way for her to help with the port.
Billie arrived and met us on the oncology unit shortly thereafter. She assessed the portacath, successfully re-accessed it and determined that it would likely need de-clotting again for optimal patency. After speaking with the physician, the Cathflo was ordered and eventually full use of the portacath was finally restored.
It was extremely important that this port be restored to optimal patency as soon as possible because this patient was terminally ill, very weak and exhausted. She said that she could not tolerate being stuck for labs or IV's or for anyone else to access the port again unless they could be successful on one attempt. This was a particularly difficult time for this patient as she had been battling cancer for several years and was now having to consider Hospice. Both the patient and family were already upset and did not need the additional stress of portacath problems. The patient and her family were very relieved to have the port working again and expressed sincere gratitude for all of Billie Jean's help.
Billie Jean was home in her PJs after a long day of working her second job at the OPIC. When her phone rang from work she chose to answer it. She was not on call. She could have just answered our questions over the phone, but instead, she made the decision to take time away from her own family and help a patient she did not even know. She exemplified the Bon Secours Value of Respect because this patient's decision to not be stuck for labs and IV's was honored. She also showed compassion to the patient and her fellow nurses by going out of her way to help solve a problem so there would be no delay in the patient's care. Finally, Billie Jean exemplified the Bon Secours Value of Quality because she did more than what was expected of her by coming into work that night with the goal of improving the quality of service for this patient and her family. Her gracious efforts truly made a positive difference for this patient, her family, and the nursing team.