One situation involved a young Vietnamese trauma patient that had been hit by a car as he was crossing the street. This patient was on our work list for skin impairment. The wife was at the bedside and appeared to be very distraught and anxious. When Trinie Nguyen started to talk with her and listen to her, you could see that the patient’s wife was sharing extensive information and was relieved to have someone listening and understanding her in her native language. This family had two young, seriously ill, special needs children at home that the wife was already caring for and she was concerned about her ability to care for her children and her husband at home. Although the social worker had met with the wife, she had failed to share the entire history with the Social Worker. She took time out her busy schedule to explain to the wife that she would need to meet with the Social Worker and give them all the information so they could guide her towards support and services that could possibility help her and her family. She made sure that another referral was made for the Social Worker, and remembered to call the following day to ensure that the Social Worker had visited with the family and was aware of the entire home situation. It was extremely moving to witness the connection that she developed with the patient’s wife and her follow through to ensure the family was referred to a much needed resources as the patient transitioned to a different level of care.
In addition to this act of kindness we often have homeless and uninsured patients request ostomy supplies. We keep a small inventory of these supplies given to us by patient that have had their ostomies reversed and no longer need their unused ostomy products. Regardless of how busy this nurse is, she takes the time and makes an effort to provide less fortunate and homeless patients and their families with supplies necessary for successful aftercare and continued independence. This might not sound like much of an effort, but please be assured that on a busy day when we are covering the entire hospital, four outpatient clinics, have a nursing student or other staff orienting with us and scheduled ostomy teachings, it takes additional energy and effort to manage and coordinate providing supplies as most of these patients and their families just show up without calling ahead to make their request.
Most recently on her day off, I was seeing a patient that she has known since he started his treatment for rectal cancer. The patient was expecting to see her and expressed his disappointment to me during my visit. I share with him that she was off on Fridays. He said he really hoped to see her during his hospitalization because he always felt so much better after her visits. With tears in his eyes he told me that one of his best memories during his multiple hospitalizations was waking up with her at his bedside telling him that he was going to take care of his ostomy at home and she was there to show him everything he needed to know. He said that she radiated such positive enthusiasm and energy that he believed this is what helped him be successful in caring for his ostomy independently at home. He further added that she was good at her job and had helped him so much more than she would ever know. It was nice to hear such positive comments about a fellow nursing colleague as I knew what a tremendous impact she had had on this patient and how she had helped him in his time of need.
There are numerous other acts of kindness demonstrated by her that I could share, but it would take too long. Please know that it isn’t a single act of compassion or caring that defines a caring nurse, but more often the compilation of multiple acts. I feel very strongly that nurses who consistently demonstrate caring, compassionate behaviors and make positive impacts on the patients and families they serve deserve to be recognized. UC Irvine Medical Center, along with our patients, we are very lucky to have a nurse like her involved with their care.