2023 AWARD WINNERS
Hayley is a CNIII in the Birthing Center at Duke University Hospital. She was nominated by a patient for the excellent care that she provided during two interactions with the family – first in caring for the nominator, and subsequently, supporting the nominator’s family member. Both birth stories exemplify Hayley’s excellence in nursing, as she helped to create positive experiences for her patients and their loved ones, even when the planned deliveries ended up as emergency C-sections. The nominator wrote: Hayley “will probably read this and think to herself, ‘this is nothing out of the ordinary, just a normal day at work.’ … “My whole family knows her name, and we are grateful for the amazing impact she has made in our lives … on two separate occasions.”
My family member was in labor, and she had chosen me, along with her husband, to be there with her to support her through that process. I was thrilled when I saw this same nurse who had cared for me walk into the room. I happily explained to my family members who this nurse was, and what an impact she had on my baby’s birth story. By that time my family member had been in labor for more than 24 hours and was tired and very anxious about the whole birthing process, as this was her first child. This nurse spent so much time answering all my family member’s questions. What I really appreciated was the way she not only answered her questions, but the fact that she answered them honestly. Some aspects of childbirth aren’t glamorous or pleasant, and she didn’t sugarcoat things, which I think really helped prepare my family member. The amount of time she spent in the room just talking with us, answering questions and explaining things was so appreciated. She also employed many different creative tactics and techniques to attempt to help progress labor along.
This nurse cared for me during the 24 hours after my infant’s delivery via emergency C-section. During this time, my vital signs were abnormal; I felt terrible due to a medication drip; and I was terrified of what was going to go wrong next. The day that this nurse was caring for me the medication drip was to be discontinued. From the beginning of the shift that day, she knew the time the drip was supposed to be finished. She mentioned that I might be able to go and see my baby later, and she could try to arrange it if I wanted. I never really responded when she said this because I was scared, and knew my baby was in good hands, so I was perfectly fine staying in my room where I was being closely monitored. I didn’t realize it, but I had not bonded with my baby at all physically and, at this point, even emotionally or mentally, because I was so sick and focused on my own fears. This nurse realized the importance of making sure I went to see, meet and bond with my baby. Even though I didn’t request it, she went through the trouble of setting up my NICU visit, and basically came in with the wheelchair and said, “Get in, we’re going to see your baby.”
[This nurse thinks outside the box to help create positive birth experiences for patients and their loved ones.]
Immediately after my baby was born, I saw the infant for about three seconds, and then the baby was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Fortunately, my husband was able to go with our baby and be with our baby during this time; however, because of my medical condition, I was not. Due to risk of adverse medical events and abnormal vital signs, I had to be on a medication drip throughout the C-section and for 24 hours after. The side effects this medication can be severe, so I was not allowed to leave my room during the time I was on it. My husband face-timed me so I could see our baby, but other than that I had no interaction with baby those first 24 hours. This is where my friends of nursing nominee joined my story. She realized the importance of making sure that I went to see my baby, and worked behind the scenes to set up my visit to the NICU.
For my visit to the NICU to see my baby for the first time, this nurse collaborated with the medical team, who agreed to let me go as long as I had two nurses with me and was back in 15 minutes for my next vital signs check. I am so grateful she saw this need, and did what was necessary to make it happen. Since I didn’t insist on going, many nurses would just not have said anything else about it and made the rest of their shift a little bit easier. Meeting my baby for the first time was nothing like I had ever imagined … sick, being wheeled to the NICU by two nurses to just look at her and touch her, because I was still too sick to hold her; however, I am so thankful that this nurse knew that is exactly what my child and I needed. I needed to meet my infant and form a connection and bond with my baby. This gave me strength to get better and helped me create a more positive and hopeful outlook for both of us. The first picture I have with my baby was taken by this nurse in the NICU, and I think of her with gratitude each time I look at it.
The decision was made for my family member to have a C-section. This nurse had paid attention to the specific concerns she had voiced throughout the day, and really taken time to get to know her. Because of this, she knew the decision to conduct a C-section was going to cause my family member increased anxiety and stress. In order to help her through this process, this nurse stayed until my family member had gotten back to the procedure room and settled. Her epidural had been in for quite a while and needed to be adjusted before the C-section could take place. Until this was done and she was prepped for surgery, no family members were allowed back to the OR with her. My family member’s spouse and I were waiting back in her room when this nurse came to give us an update. She let us know that the epidural placement was being adjusted, which was what was taking so long. She then returned to be with my family member until that part of the process was complete and her spouse was able to go back to the OR to be with her. This nurse stayed at least an hour after her shift ended to support my family member, because she knew she trusted her.
This nominee will probably read this story and think to herself, “This is nothing out of the ordinary, just a normal day at work.” That’s what makes her, and so many other nurses like her, exceptional. My whole family knows her name, and we are grateful for the amazing impact she has made in our lives … on two separate occasions.
Clinical Nurse III
Duke University Hospital