Since the University of Chicago Medicine began the Making A Difference Every Day initiative in May, there have been dozens of employees recognized and honored for their exemplary service to our patients and to their colleagues.
Many UCM nurses have been honored either in the regular Monday emails, or in the Making A Difference feature in At the Forefront or in Friday events. Below are some examples of UCM nursing at its finest:
A Perfect Shave
Care providers must balance the emotional and medical needs of patients, especially those going through a grueling recovery. Kelly Metcalf, BSN, RN, used words and actions to lift the confidence and spirit of a burn patient who experienced many difficult days. The patient said Metcalf gave him courage during the worst time of his life: “Tomorrow will be a better day,” he recalled her saying during one particularly painful moment. On another day, he felt helplessly frustrated about not being able to shave his beard himself: “She asked me if I wanted her to shave it; I said no. But then she showed up in my room 20 minutes later with all the necessary supplies for shaving. I didn’t ask her to, but she did something that she knew would make me feel better. Those little instances made my recovery so much better.”Comer ‘Sixcess’
Easy on the Eyes
Some eye procedures require the patient to be awake to maximize cooperation with the surgeon. Though local anesthetics can help keep the patient comfortable, the situation can be a little unnerving. So ophthalmologist Susan Ksiazek, MD, cultivates a soothing atmosphere during procedures, even asking the nurse anesthetist to hold the patient’s hand. “I believe that work should be enjoyable,” Ksiazek said. “I like my job and I think when my team is empowered to do theirs properly, they enjoy themselves. This attitude bubbles over to the patient. We are there to care for them.” Patients like what they see and hear. One said he cannot thank the surgeon enough. Another noted she “never had any fear at all” because of the good care she received.
Pictured above: Susan Ksiazek, MD, far right, with frequent OR collaborators, from left, Linda Zart, RN; Carol Dempsey, RN; Ashiyana Nariani, MD, Gelele Williams, ST; and Shawn Bernard, RN. Not shown: Milette Hacek, RN.
Sassy Teen, Understanding Team
Taylor Merriwether says that when she first came to Comer Children’s Hospital, “I was a sassy teenager.” Now 21 and a poised young lady, Taylor, and her mother Carmela Merriwether, shared their thoughts on her care for Takayasu’s arteritis and Crohn’s disease at the Best Practice Forum in March. They credited the specialists on her multidisciplinary team with helping Carmela explain treatments to her daughter and making the teen feel more at ease. “They treated me like a person, not an illness,” Taylor recalled. “They fostered a relationship with me to build trust.” Taylor’s care team included James Mitchell, MD; Erminda Dimauro (Phlebotomy); Jennie Ott and Amy Carter (Child Life); Carolyn Zic, BSN, RN, Jamie Harrison, RN; Judith Holmgren, BSN, RN; Vicky Krolik, RN; Judy Gilbert; and Keith Holmes.
Pictured from left: Carmela Marriwether, James Mitchell, MD, Taylor Merriwether
Easing Fears of Cancer Diagnosis
Suzanne Zaccone came to the University of Chicago Medicine over a seven-year period for two diagnoses of breast cancer. “In 2008, I was terrified when I was diagnosed. I interviewed five hospitals and the fifth was the University of Chicago Medicine. The doctor answered every single question and joined in my sense of humor. I knew before I left that day that this is where we were going to be. It made my second experience of getting cancer easier.” Zaccone and members of her care team, Susan Hong, MD, Brigit Newton, RN, Sharon Gayle, RN, and Matthew Cross spoke at the Best Practice Forum panel in March. Suzanne praised our care teams for “actively listening” to what patients say directly, and indirectly. She also offered us great advice: “Brag about each other and let patients know that there are other things that can be done for them at the hospital.”
Pictured from left: Sharon Gayle, RN, Brigit Newton, RN, Sue Murphy, MS, BSN, RN, Suzanne Zaccone, Matthew Cross, Alison Tothy, MD
The nurses of Comer 6, especially Allison Kobe, RN, BSN, Sarah Sikora, RN, BSN, Kelly Smith, ADN, and extern Elise Garcia, go out of their way to cheer a long-term patient. “Each and every one of them have amazing nursing skills, but what they also have goes beyond anything that can be taught in a classroom,” the patient’s parent wrote. “The nurses here are some of the most caring and compassionate … you can tell that they love their jobs and genuinely care about their patients.”
Picture from left: Elise Garcia, Allison Kobe, RN, BSN