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THE HEART OF NURSING: Carole Placido, R.N.: Teamwork, Professionalism Lead to a Positive Change 

Carole Placido, RN, is a seasoned
critical care nurse at Delaware County
Memorial Hospital. A 37-year veteran,
she knows that rewarding professional
challenges – and memorable patients
like “Wild Bill” – are always waiting
for her. Her story illustrates our Patient
and Family-Focused Nursing Model at
its finest.
 

by Carole Placido, RN

Recently, we had a 35 year old man who was obese with many co-morbidities. He was transferred to our unit when he developed respiratory distress due to pneumonia. He was intubated and placed on a ventilator. His young wife and four-year-old son were very frightened. During his three-month stay, we developed a close relationship with his wife, tending to her needs on a daily basis as well as providing aggressive nursing care to her husband. In the beginning, the patient was heavily sedated and couldn’t communicate, so we tried to tell his wife what he might be feeling.

We knew it was very important to keep her involved in his care so we explained everything to her in detail and kept her updated regularly. We also explained everything to the patient, even though we weren’t sure that he could hear us. We were vigilant in the use of best practice protocols to help prevent complications, and we consulted regularly with the intensivists with whom we have built a solid relationship of trust.

They consider us to be their eyes and ears. When we observe something in a patient that we believe needs to be addressed, they act on it right away.

During the course of his stay, our patient suffered several setbacks. Our nursing staff always provided emotional support to his wife, sometimes just by sitting with her and holding her hand. After a while, she wanted their son to be able to see his father.

Although we were concerned that this might be too frightening for a four-year-old, we could see how important it was to her, so we prepared the little boy as best we could. We explained that his daddy was connected to a lot of tubes and couldn’t talk, but that he was OK because we were taking good care of him. We also gave him snacks to help make the visit more pleasurable, and we kept his visits brief. These visits did seem to help the child feel better as well as his mother.

When our patient was finally able to leave Critical Care and go to a rehab facility, we were all crying – the patient, his wife and our nursing staff. To be able to see him well enough to leave after seeing him so critically ill for so long made all our hearts sing!

In a letter of thanks to the nursing staff, the patient’s wife wrote, “When a person goes through such difficult times, often the outcome is determined by the support that you have behind you. Of course, I had the love and support of our family and friends; however, I never expected the same from the professional nursing staff on the third floor ICU. A big part of [my husband’s] recovery is due to the care that these nurses have shown. [He] was treated with respect and love from each and every one of you. He was treated as if he was the son or brother of each nurse. This may seem like an everyday task to you, but to us who are on the receiving end, it is a gift.”