Tracy Fields was caring for a family facing end of life decisions after their loved one had an unexpected outcome post-operatively. This patient came to us after a prolonged stay in the ICU, and was accompanied by his wife. After caring for the patient for several days, Tracy discovered that not only did this 95 year old man drive himself to the hospital for the surgery, but he was the primary caregiver for his spouse, who was legally blind. His only child lived out of state, and was devastated with the news of her dad's condition.
He had many unexpected complications, and continued to decline while on our unit. One can imagine how frightening it must have been for this family as this was not the outcome they had anticipated. Luckily for them, they had Tracy Fields as their nurse, who spent hours comforting them and tending to their needs. When the day arrived that a hospice/palliative care discussion occurred, it was Tracy who emotionally supported the family through the decision. She got the chaplain to the bedside, and after prayer, she escorted the daughter to the chapel herself. Tracy coordinated closely with Palliative Care to ensure the proper medications were administered to keep the patient comfortable. Most of the family's angst was caused by their fear that he was in pain, and Tracy assured them that she would check in frequently to ensure that he was comfortable. Days before, Tracy had ensured the patient was placed on a specialty bed, and she coordinated the effort to frequently turn the patient to ensure he did not develop skin issues from his immobility.
But even all these heroic nursing measures were nothing compared to how Tracy cared for her patient on the day of discharge. The patient was being transferred to a hospice facility close to home (about 2 hours away). As the time of pickup arrived, she and the family bathed the patient, ensured that linens were clean and fresh, and treated him for pain. She rounded up a large group to help move the patient over to the stretcher so that there would be minimal jostling. The daughter was very emotional, and not coping well, and Tracy held her and assured her this was best for her family. She even spoke to the ambulance driver at the daughter's request and asked him to "go slow over the bumps so her dad wasn't in pain".
The sweet and empathetic manner in which Tracy cared for this family in transition was an inspiring thing to witness. She treated them with as much nursing expertise as she used when caring for her patient. She took a holistic view of the patient's needs and ensured that his comfort, spirituality, and discharge needs were met, and done with a level of care that went above and beyond what she was called to do. It is clear that nursing is a vocation and passion for Tracy. This family was so fortunate to have her as their nurse, advocate and friend during this emotionally difficult time.
Because Tracy served her patient with excellence, she was able to provide comfort to a family who was truly in need. I am so proud to work with her!