... a few weeks ago we had a young patient who was in a car accident in her second trimester. The baby died in the accident and was delivered upon the patient's arrival to the hospital. The baby girl was brought to the patient's bedside at times to allow the family to have time with the baby while grieving. A day or two after the patient's admission the patient required surgery which kept her on the breathing machine and sedatives overnight. The next day all of the meds and breathing machines were disconnected and her baby was brought back in for a visit. Unfortunately the sedation meds almost had an amnesia effect and it was truly as if the patient was experiencing the loss again for the first time. Her delicate little angel was handed to her as she sobbed. Most of the staff nurses couldn't hold it together and stepped away. The patient's mom and husband, perhaps both a little surprised by the intensity of her grief, were also at a loss. The patient's mother had to step out and the husband busied himself with their other small child who had just been brought in for a visit. It was Vicky who stood by that woman's side that day-steadfast-caring for the patient physically and emotionally. She not only did her job of providing skilled nursing care, she stood by that grieving mother's side with unwavering support. Vicky did anything that mom needed, from caring for the patient herself, to swaddling and providing care for the little angel in the room that day. That same afternoon Vicky found out that a photographer was coming to take pictures of mom, dad and baby so Vicky literally gathered staff nurses make up so that the patient could try to cover her bruises. Vicky wanted to help make the mom feel more comfortable in the pictures. It was so important to Vicky that she do everything she could to ensure the best possible pictures for her to have as a keepsake. Through it all Vicky kept her composure, staying strong for that mom. When she left the room she would find me (or another nurse) to hug, taking just enough time to regroup and pull it together so that she could head back in to support the patient and her family in any way they needed.
I have no doubt that Vicky made a tremendous impact on that patient and her family in the care and compassion she delivered during such a difficult time. I also think that she makes a difference in the lives of so many around her--countless other patients and coworkers-- through her devotion and concern for others. Many say that nursing is a calling-when you work with someone like Vicky it leaves little doubt that for her this is true.