September 2019
( Mizer) McWilliams
UPMC Presbyterian Hospital
United States




Erin has recently stood out as an exceptional advocate for quality care and patient safety. In one situation, we had a patient who had been transferred to our unit a day or two prior to Erin taking over. The patient was in her upper 80's and had fallen, fracturing her hip. The care team was planning for her discharge to rehab. The patient, however, was visibly miserable. She stated that her hip was ok, but her shoulder continued to be in excruciating pain. Reports to the nurse were that the teams had evaluated her prior to her arrival to the unit and no one was particularly concerned about her shoulder pain. After spending some time with the patient and her daughter listening to their story, she acknowledged their concerns and researched the notes from providers. Erin recognized at that time that no attending physician was selected for the patient and so no physician had evaluated this patient since her arrival to the unit, which was over 24 hours. With the patient's age, cardiac history, and new presentation of pain, she immediately notified the medicine physician and explained the situation to him. He promptly evaluated the patient and escalated the oversight for review. Tests revealed a possible fracture in the patient's shoulder. This nurse immediately reached out to notify the ortho team. After discussing the current status of the situation with the patient and her daughter, she recognized their distress regarding how this new fracture may impact the discharge plan they were looking forward to. She proactively coordinated a visit from the orthopedic surgeon, care management, unit leadership and herself to ensure that all disciplines were available to communicate the plan of care and address any questions as a team. The patient and her daughter were incredibly grateful for Erin's leadership and accountability in caring for the patient. Erin eased their anxiety and fears by being transparent and ensuring all efforts were dedicated to the patient's comfort.
Erin was recently promoted to a senior-level nursing position. Improving accountability and communication has been her focus. She is a top performer in utilizing the whiteboards for communication with the patient. They have mentioned a sense of relief knowing what to expect, and one even expressed to me during nurse leader rounds that he was surprised by the sense of accomplishment and hope he felt at achieving the goals Erin had provided. The patient had been progressing slowly and was feeling down. She made his goals small, but achievable, to try to encourage and support the patient.
Lastly, Erin is driving a new initiative to promote accountability between staff members when providing patient care. Her idea focuses on transparency regarding care expectations to the patient during each shift. She role models responsibility and integrity in her own work and strives to support others to provide great patient care. She has taken on the responsibility of completing nurse leader rounds on the weekends to support the UPMC Experience. She completes these without fail and ensures to communicate any additional needs from the patient or family to leadership so that they can be addressed in a timely fashion. She is truly an invaluable leader and trusted resource to staff and we are so grateful to have her caring for our patients on 9 North.