Maurey has worked on the Inova Fairfax Tower 9 Adult Oncology unit for the past 10 years. From day one as a novice nurse, Maurey has always been a strong patient advocate. She incorporates unique spiritual and emotional needs in the plan of care for each patient. Her dedication to her patients does not stop at the end of her busy 12-hour shift; Maurey will stay after a shift to comfort family members, provide urgent pain medication, or support novice nurses. She is focused on the holistic well-being of the patient, while simultaneously completing tasks during the course of the shift. A patient once mentioned during leader rounding, “My doctor was in this morning to give me the terrible news, that my treatment failed and there is nothing else he can offer. I was so distraught and upset, but five minutes later Maurey came in to my room with this big smile, sat next to me, and gave me a hug. We both got tearful, started talking about our dogs and she made arrangements for my dog to visit and that just gave me something to look forward to. Maurey is really a gem on this unit.”
Maurey’s expertise allows her to provide care for the most difficult patients on the oncology unit. Recently, over the course of several months, she cared for a 28-year-old allogenic bone marrow transplant patient with severe graft versus host disease of the skin, similar to a third degree burn, over 85% of her body. She comforted the patient through complex, painful dressing changes often while holding back her own tears. Maurey was a champion for this young woman providing reassurance, compassion, and a calming presence. She supported the young husband, mother, and mother-in-law who maintained a vigil at the bedside during her hospital stay, which amounted to over 90 days. She was quick to offer a hug, a word of comfort, or share tears with the family. When the patient was screaming or delusional, her family knew that they could lean on Maurey for guidance and support. Despite the desperation of the situation, Maurey could bring a smile to the patient by the little things she said and did, whether it was dressing her in a sundress, a hat, and sunglasses to catch the sun by her window or wheeling a lounge chair to the healing garden to see the freshly fallen snow and help her make a snowman. She created memories for her family to hold on to after her inevitable passing. Maurey considered these opportunities as important as the next medication or lab draw.
Maurey is an advocate for pulling all players of the team together, including the patient’s family, to talk and assure that they are all on the same page at addressing the patient’s clinical, emotional, spiritual needs, and decision making. She incorporates patient’s preferences into her care, such as calling on dietary to provide a special meal and treat on their birthday or bringing in a cake, balloons and apple cider for them to toast with; as she did for one of our patients who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary during her four weeks of hospital stay for chemo. This is a perfect example of Inova’s care model of “Patient Centered Care.”
Not only does this nurse focus her care and compassion on her patients, but extends it to the staff as well. She is an advocate for boosting morale on the oncology unit. Whether it is the yearly staff picnic, holiday celebrations, the birth of a baby, or death of a loved one, Maurey takes the lead in planning an event, or buying a gift, in addition to feeding a doctor who’s gone too long without eating due to his patient load. She arranges activities for the staff, patients, and their families. This past Halloween she created a “spooky photo booth” with fun costumes that was enjoyed by many visiting the unit. On Thanksgiving, Maurey coordinated a huge turkey feast for all the staff working on that day. She also hosted the annual ST9 staff picnic complete with a moon bounce and chili cook-off. For Christmas, she coordinated purchasing of gifts for one of our employee’s two children so they would not miss a visit from Santa as this employee was going through a divorce and would not be able to give her kids Christmas gifts. While everyone enjoys the events Maurey plans, they go way beyond wonderful social interactions. These events weave an infrastructure of support and caring between her colleagues and the healthcare team, contributing to the function, efficiency, staff morale and the outcomes on the unit.
Maurey is the heart and soul that helps keep up the morale and family atmosphere of the unit. She exemplifies Jean Watson’s model of human caring. She excels in her clinical skills, her therapeutic skills, and her cooking skills. Maurey is well respected by the patients, families, and peers. She exceeds the boundaries of standard nursing practice and is an exemplary model of professionalism, compassion, and dedication.