From Debi’s Desk – Thankful for the Ability to Impact People’s Lives

Debi-Albert2The University of Chicago Medicine recently honored a number of employees for their exemplary service at an event that included the official launch of UCM’s Tree of Thankfulness.

It was a great way to kick off the holiday season. Several hundred so-called Grateful Leaves were filled out and put on the tree as a sign of all the things we have to be grateful for.

Two of our new graduate nurses were among the five employees honored for their dedication to our patients.

I want to start this November’s Debi’s Desk with a special thank you to Brittany Price, MSN, RN, and Brittany Byrne, BSN, RN, for all your hard work and dedication to the care of our patients and their families. The positive impact you have made on your patients is why we’re recognizing you for your service.


Left Image: Award winner Brittany Price, MSN, RN, left, with Patient Care Manager Stephenie Blossomgame.
Right Image: Brittany Byrne, BSN, RN, is flanked by her mother, Janie Byrne, right, and Patient Care manager Pamela McCall   (oncology). All are in front of the Tree of Thankfulness.

This time of year is among my favorites because it brings a welcome focus on all there is to be thankful for: our family, our friends, our good fortune. It’s always important to stop and take stock of our lives and the impact we make on those around us.

But I want to pause this year to take a slightly different look at the themes of gratefulness and thankfulness.

Every day I see comments from our patients and their families about the care they receive in every part of our medical center, either through our iPad rounding initiative, Daisy Award nominations, or direct outreach from the people we care for.

And I am always moved by some of the overwhelmingly positive remarks and observations. I can’t say that every comment is positive, but the vast majority of them are.

Here are a few examples of how our patients talk about our nurses:

  • She spent a lot of time talking to me;
  • She was happy to see me up and about and gave me a much needed hug;
  • I felt so comfortable and safe with her during a very emotional and stressful time;
  • He was ridiculously funny and had our son, who came in in acute distress, giggling in minutes;
  • Her attitude is beautiful and you can tell she is compassionate about her work;
  • The first thing a patient asked out of sedation was where his nurse was.
  • She says she doesn’t have any grandkids yet; so she treats my son, myself and all my family like FAMILY;
  • She always makes time to chat. She is very personable and I enjoy being able to give her a hard time. She has a great sense of humor;
  • She was very respectful, calm and patient. They all took such good care me I almost did not want to go home.”
  • She came in and sat down to talk to me even when I was not under her care;

These are but a snapshot of the kinds of comments UCM Nursing leadership sees regularly, but they’re all essentially expressing the same thing: gratitude for the exemplary care they received from our nursing staff.

And it made me stop and realize that we as nurses have something unique to be thankful for: We are able to positively impact the lives of other people on a daily basis.

We can make them happy by the way we treat them, and make them feel safe and protected by being aware of their needs, our healing presence and advocating for them.

As you can see from reading the comments above, these patients are genuinely appreciative that, for a short time at least, we are in their lives.

To be able to touch people like that is truly an honor and a gift, and I am grateful for that opportunity.

Through the professionalism, dedication, education, training and sense of humanity that you all possess and regularly demonstrate, we influence people’s lives.

Not many people can say that they have the opportunity to make that kind of impact every day on the job.

I am proud of your compassionate commitment to nursing.

I am very thankful for the care you provide to every one of our patients, every day and in every encounter with them.

And I’m proud and grateful to be a part of this wonderful team and this inspiring profession.

I thank you for that opportunity and wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

About Debra Albert (7 Articles)
Debra Albert, RN, MSN, MBA, NEA-BC, is the Senior Vice President for Patient Care Services at the University of Chicago Medicine
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