I wanted to let you know about an exceptionally compassionate RN that I work with. Kathy Ervin has been with Memorial 10 years now; she has always shown great compassion, expertise and reverence when dealing not only with our patients, but with her teammates as well.
A few months ago, this particular nurse was charge nurse on a Tuesday. While rounding on patients, Kathy Ervin met a very sweet couple that had been hospitalized for a few days now. This patient was very ill. The diagnosis was cancer and the prognosis was very grim. The couple had been married all their lives and had a couple of children and grandchildren. The patient was in great pain most of the time. The wife was always at the bedside and very attentive to her husband’s needs. It became evident after talking with the wife that she was in denial regarding the severity of her husband’s condition. She was telling the family that she was planning on taking him to the Cancer Center of America once he was released from the hospital. The family had not been visiting or bringing food to the mother on a regular basis because the wife had been so adamant about the patient’s recovery process. This Kathy took the time to sit with the wife and discuss some very difficult things such as the possibility that her husband would not be leaving the hospital. The nurse spent numerous hours with this sweet family. She arranged for the wife to get meals so she would eat, because if the family didn’t bring food…she wasn’t eating. She also made sure the MDs talked at length to the wife and patient regarding the situation.
The next day Kathy was back as a bedside nurse. She requested to have the patient as one of her own so she could spend more time with them being their advocate and following up with any needs they may have. She again spent every moment she possibly could at the bedside of this patient to support this sweet family. She shared with the wife her own history of losing her father suddenly because no one told the family how dire the situation with his cancer was. She only got to spend a very short time with her father at the end and she has always regretted that. The nurse encouraged the wife to have a conversation with her family and let them know they needed to start coming to say their goodbyes. She was also able to encourage the wife into allowing Hospice to come in and assist with a more peaceful and less painful death. Due to Kathy’s efforts, the family did come quickly, the patient did have a more peaceful death and the wife felt like she was given some control and was comforted with her decisions.
Kathy spent numerous hours with this family in those two days and poured her heart out to them. She provided the compassion and care that no one else had been able to provide at that level until then. She noticed a family in great need and she met that need.