At National Health Foundation, we are a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving and enhancing the healthcare of the underserved by developing and supporting innovative programs that can become independently viable, provide systemic solutions to gaps in healthcare access and delivery, and have the potential to be replicated nationally. We recently celebrated Hospital Heroes who help to bridge the gaps in healthcare by providing exceptional care to their patients and their families, and who, through a deep desire to serve and connect, have left an indelible mark on their communities. What follows are a series of profiles of these heroes.
Anyone who has ever been in the hospital can agree that a caring nurse makes all the difference. Of course patients appreciate efficiency and skill but what we heard over and over again in the nominations for Hospital Heroes Awards was that there was something extra, something special about these nurses. Over and above being able to deliver safe and effective care was their ability to truly connect with their patients. These connections brought about a deeper kind of healing, a healing rooted in understanding and compassion.
Jarrud Knapp, an R.N. at GlendaleAdventist Medical Center has been described this way by his patients and their families: wonderful, attentive, considerate, never tires of doing whatever he is asked with love, an exceptional person and, he always made eye contact, an angel. But the most telling description of Jarrud came from the patient who was dealing with severe pain. When Jarrud found out his patient liked Jazz music, he played it from his phone for the patient to listen in order to help alleviate the patient's pain on top of the narcotic medication that was administered. Patients, their families and his coworkers agreed that he is indeed a Hospital Hero.
Charity Maldonado, R.N., has been a charge nurse with Centinela Hospital Medical Center for more than 20 years. Her exceptional clinical and critical thinking skills were pivotal in the successful implementation of the MediTech electronic medical records system and Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) system. She provides a seamless link between the clinical staff of the hospital and with the patients and family members. Her main goal is to put patients and family member’s at-ease when they are experiencing difficult health care issues. Her ability to troubleshoot and solve problems allows her to act as a liaison between the clinical staff and her patients, giving medical staff the ability to communicate more effectively with patients. Due to her skill and knowledge, the hospital’s EMR and CPOE systems has led to greater patient care, accurate and timely diagnostic tests and interventional procedures and correct medication administration all of which support and improve patient outcomes. Her dedication and commitment inspires those around her to also go “above and beyond,” which is why Charity is a hospital hero.
Jody Pederson, an R.N./Neuro Telemetry of the Eisenhower Medical Center is one of the first Stroke Certified Nurses in Coachella Valley and is on the Stroke Committee, as well as the Unit Based Committee, which is part of the Professional Practice Model. As an out-of-the-box thinker, Jody makes a difference for her patients and family members and devises unique ideas to solve complex patient and family issues. When a patient was admitted for management of AFib, nausea, vomiting, dehydration with dizziness, Jody felt the dizziness could be result of Cerebellar Infarct and encouraged the physician to order MRI, which showed very large Cerebellar Infarct. Due to Jody’s incredible assessment skills, an MRI was ordered. If the patient had been sent home, he could have suffered a devastating stroke. On another occasion, Jody advocated on behalf of a patient whose prognosis was grave and was in need of comfort care and hospice, but whose only relative was in Australia and unable to see the seriousness of his brother’s condition. Jody organized a Skype call that led the brother to request comfort measures. Unfortunately, the patient passed away the next day. Without Jody's compassionate care, the patient would have continued to struggle, and the brother would not have been unable to say good-bye.
At FoothillPresbyterian Hospital, Melissa Chambers, R.N., MSN is the Charge Nurse for Medical and Surgical Services. She headed implementation efforts around a robust bedside shift report process that has been successful and fully integrated into practice. She planned for, educated, executed, evaluated, and now maintains the process. She was integral in the process from day one, and her motivation to see it through completion was infectious among the staff. She worked outside of her regularly scheduled hours to make sure that the new bedside shift report process was not just in practice but was being done at the expected level. She took time to work with staff that were struggling and encourage people to participate. It has enhanced patient satisfaction, patient safety, and overall communication. Patients and staff have remarked on how improved the unit is. Her enthusiasm and ability to mobilize and entire unit make her a Hospital Hero.
Connection, enthusiasm, encouragement and innovation are the hallmarks of these Hospital Heroes, and they prove that there is so much right with our healthcare system. In fact, they remind us what health care is really about: CARE.
Stay tuned as we share more Hospital Hero Awardee profiles in the coming days.