By Sarah Wengert
Perhaps the highest praise a nurse can receive is that they care for their patients as well as they would their own family. We all wish that level of care for ourselves and our loved ones, and it’s a true joy to hear stories about our Medical Solutions and Aureus Medical travelers providing that kind of incredible patient care nationwide!
Our most recent DAISY Award winner, telemetry/PCU RN Allison M., displayed exactly that high level of compassion and professionalism in December 2021, when she cared for a family’s patriarch — we’ll call him “Dad” — who’d contracted COVID-19. Dad’s family was so moved by Allison’s care that they shared their story with the hospital. Allison’s recruiter, Chad S., then submitted that story as her DAISY nomination.
As the family explained, Dad was taken to the ER on December 18, after he became disoriented and unable to do basic things like eat, drink, or take medicine. His son met him at the ER, and shortly thereafter, Dad was diagnosed with COVID. The family was shattered because they’d tried so hard throughout the pandemic to protect Dad, and now their worst fears were coming true.
While the family was grateful for a hospital policy that allowed family to visit for 30 minutes each day in full PPE, that precious time was quickly cut short.
“Unfortunately, my husband contracted COVID from his dad that night in the ER, and I caught it a few days later,” said Dad’s daughter-in-law. “We were devastated not to be able to be with him at all during his stay. However, the nurses were very kind and patient as [my husband] called daily to get updates and check in on his care. One nurse in particular was exceptional. Her name was Allison.”
The family said Allison was especially thorough when they called for a daily update, diligently reading them the doctor’s reports and clarifying details when they asked. When Dad’s daughter visited on Christmas Day and saw how his condition was quickly deteriorating, Allison comforted her as she cried.
Dad’s son called Allison again and she went over everything the doctors were saying, including that they thought his care was decreasing his quality of life and the family should be contacted if he didn’t improve over the next 24 hours. This was hard for the family to hear, but after discussing it, they agreed it was time to take him off oxygen the next day if he still hadn’t improved. The family knew what they had to do the next day when Dad still hadn’t improved but were heartsick that no one from the clan could be there with him when oxygen was removed. Allison quickly offered she could spend some extra time with Dad that day and Facetime the family when she removed the oxygen.
“This was obviously not the same as being there, but it was the very best and kindest option she could offer,” said Dad’s daughter-in-law. “Our gratitude is not something I can put into words. My husband and I were able to see Dad and talk to him. My sister-in-law and her husband were also able to talk to him through the speaker of my phone. We told him how much we loved him and would miss him. We promised to take care of each other and gave him the freedom to go if it was time. As we did this, Allison lovingly stroked his face and hair while she made sure he was comfortable and resting easy. I cannot say for certain, but I believe looking at our full faces (with no PPE on) while feeling the loving touch of another person, my father-in-law may have gotten as good of a sendoff as we could have given in person.”
On December 26, within minutes of being removed from oxygen, Dad passed away.
“Thanks to the kind and compassionate care of Allison, he left this world with the voices of his children in his head and the eyes of his son upon his face,” said Dad’s daughter-in-law. “We will never forget what she did to help us make the best of a terrible situation and I think, above all else, we just want her to know that she will forever be in our hearts.”
Allison’s, who’s been in nursing since 2013 and travel nursing since 2015, is currently on assignment in Chandler, Arizona. She said her strong faith has molded her confidence in dealing with death and terminal illness.
“I was touched by the recognition and the appreciation from the family,” she said. “The story was something that’s not been uncommon — a difficult situation that I’ve had to endure too many times to count during the pandemic. However, I felt comforted by the love I saw and felt radiating from the family of the patient and our Father in Heaven.”
Allison loves interacting with her patients and is passionate about educating them and their families on acute or chronic conditions to help promote a happier, progressively healthier lifestyle.
“I appreciate the relationships I’ve developed with other team members and with my patients,” she said. “I believe in holistic care and aim to make my patients feel safe, loved, and empowered, and I try to make them laugh and enjoy the time they are under my care. I am what they would call an old-school nurse and I believe that physical touch such as a back, hand, or foot massage, or heat/cold therapies can help greater than just a pill for many ailments. Understanding the whole picture is critical in advocating for patients and their families.”
Allison, who’s been nominated previously, said being recognized with a DAISY Award brought about a mix of emotions.
“Winning the award and being surprised by all of my team members, hospital executives, and the Aureus and Medical Solutions team was a little scary but touching at the same time,” she said. “I think it was all the eyes and attention that made me nervous, but I was appreciative of the support and recognition.”
Outside of patient care, Allison’s “other joy in life” are her four children, ages 1, 4, 11, and 15.
“They’re what I live for, and we love to enjoy life,” she said. “I’m a Jeep mom and we love to enjoy the outdoors with hiking, camping, and learning about self-reliance.”
Thank you, Allison, for your incredible patient care and congrats on your much-deserved DAISY Award!
And we wanted to share one more “thank you” from Dad’s family:
“Thank you for the opportunity to share our story and thanks to all of the doctors and nurses who took such good care of our dad in his final hours. A very special thank you to Allison who took care of him as we imagine she would have taken care of her own father and who let us have peace with his parting because of that.”
Has your life been touched by an incredible nurse like Allison? Share your story today and nominate a Medical Solutions or Aureus Medical travel nurse for a DAISY Award.