Heather went above and beyond the call of duty to care for her patient and the patient’s family. Heather’s patient had been made comfort care during the day and as the evening progressed, many of the patient’s family members came to the bedside to say their goodbyes. The room was packed and emotions were heightened as the family awaited the passing of their mother. Heather stood by them, without hovering and remained a constant presence that provided calm and support to the entire family while simultaneously attending to the patient’s needs and managing the unit as Shift Resource Nurse. During this time, multiple RRT’s were called on the other floors and she attended some and delegated others in a calm and efficient manner. While all of this was happening, an additional patient had a fairly serious safety issue with her family member and Heather managed that as well as, by pulling her resources together and managing her time. Despite all of these simultaneous happenings, Heather kept her dying patient as the priority and did not neglect the needs of that patient and their family for a minute. Thirty seconds before the patient began to transition from this life to the next, one of the family members suddenly had a seizure. While that family member was seizing, the patient died. Emotions were obviously heightened and there was a lot of commotion around the seizure, but Heather immediately delegated care of the seizing family member to me, called the Code Orange, and then centered the family so that she could tell them that their loved one had passed. The seizing family member became alert right before the ER arrived and when she awoke, her sister told her that her mother had died and then she seized again. Heather very calmly used her resources to support the family, provide emergency care to the seizing family member, and also ensured that the patient passed peacefully and without pain.
The next day, one of the patient’s daughters called me and told me that she wanted us to know that Heather was “an absolute Godsend to my mother. She was an angel and made us feel so much more at peace. She handled all of the craziness with such grace. You all need more nurses like her. My daughter is a nurse and I told her that she better be like Heather. She truly cared for my mother and us. Please tell her we are so grateful.” The patient’s daughter cried for a few minutes on the phone about how grateful she is for Heather and she is not the only one. It truly was a storm of events during that time and Heather remained steady as a rock. We are so blessed to have Heather as a nurse and as a leader in the ICU. Heather does what is right when it is quiet and when she thinks no one is watching. Heather is truly the epitome of Bon Secours values of providing good help to those in need, especially the sick and dying.