Late last year, a 44-year-old woman took off work to get a persistent cough checked by her doctor. Three months later, she was actively dying of lung cancer. As the disease progressed, she struggled to breathe. On her last day, she labored for each individual breath. Several nurses worked to make her comfortable. Among those nurses was Megan DeHart. It was one of those moments where everything that could go wrong did go wrong. It was the change of shift and she had been struggling for air. The provider was called and an order for a morphine drip was immediately ordered. As one nurse ordered a pump, obtained IV tubing and the morphine, Megan rushed to put in an IV without being asked. She also called a respiratory therapist for breathing treatment and suctioned the thick secretions that were starting to build. Megan did everything she could to help relax this patient including stopping to just hold her hand and reassure her everything was going to be ok. The drip was started and the patient immediately gained relief and began to rest comfortably. When we realized this patient was actively dying, the family was called in. This patient had two girls, one of which was 14 and still in school. When she arrived she became hysterical. Megan immediately provided emotional support to the daughter as well as the patient's sister who was at the bedside. Comforting a 14-year girl who is about to lose her mother was something I definitely could not handle like she did. She provided kind words and a warm embrace. She knew exactly what to say.
Megan went above and beyond for this patient to help provide her a peaceful passing. After the patient passed away, Megan helped to inform the family her heart was no longer beating. Megan then helped care for the patient post-mortem in a loving and caring manner, as if she were still alive. It took the efforts of several nurses to help this patient and her family but it was Megan who did more than what was asked. After the patient passed, her concern did not end there. I had bonded with this patient and her family and her passing was difficult for me. After she passed, and the adrenaline subsided, I was emotionally spent. Megan knew what I was feeling without me saying a word. She caught me in the med room and instructed me to “just breathe". She then insisted I take a 10-minute break to regain my composure. During this time, she checked on all my other patients and attended to their needs while still providing great care to her own patients. Many of us will go above and beyond for a patient that is our own. But it is a DAISY Nurse who goes above and beyond for a patient that is not her own. She not only asks what can she do to help, but she anticipates what needs to be done and just does it.