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Monday, May 12, 2008

Not just a job: A compassionate nurse

Karen Becker's Nomination Letter:
Gail Benedetti was my nurse in the days and nights immediately following my Whipple procedure (a complex gastrointestinal procedure). After more than 7 hours of surgery, I was in no shape to advocate or care for myself. The surgeon may have saved my life but my nurse made it bearable.

Gail did everything for me, from painlessly removing my nasal-gastric tube to gently giving me a sponge bath. I wasn't her only patient but she made me feel that I was. When I woke up, she was there. When I went to sleep, she was there. Bells and lights went off. Tubes and bags needed changing. Gail was there to make it right. It was uncanny. I didn’t have to worry. My nurse was looking out for me. Because Gail took the time to explain each procedure, medication, and piece of equipment to me, I knew what to expect. That shared information was both comforting and empowering to me as a patient. When pain was an issue, Gail made it her priority to advocate for me. She truly was my angel of mercy. The memory of her unflagging compassion and competence still brings tears to my eyes. I will be forever in her debt.

During my eight days on the ninth floor the Farr Building at BIDMC, I saw Gail interact with other patients, nurses, and the medical staff. She was energetic, engaged, and empathetic at all times. Gail was equally respectful and responsive to the needs and requests of everyone, patients as well as physicians. Gail proves that nursing is not just a job but a calling.

Advice: If your nurse isn't compassionate, politely ask the Nurse Manager or patient care advocate for a replacement.

Read another compassionate nurse story.

Thanks for the source article in the Sixth Annual Boston Globe "Salute to Nurses" advertising supplement in the May 4 issue.

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