Maine Medical Center’s Special Care Unit is a place where quick action can mean the difference between life and death.

Lindsay Rosario, RN, and Debra Honey-Perrault, CNA, demonstrated one Veteran’s Day why, in the midst of making split-second decisions, nurses also take time to listen to patients and their families.

Rosario and Honey-Perrault entered the room of their 94-year-old patient, knowing his family was receiving the news that he was not going to survive his stroke. They learned from his children that he was a 20-year Navy veteran who had served in three wars, and took great pride in his service to his country.

They found a naval chaplain to give the patient his last blessing; they contacted the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post to create memory boxes for the patient’s children, and they made it possible for him to die with honor in his naval uniform with his family by his side.

“What we did was such a small, simple gesture that is completely disproportionate to the sacrifice veterans make for us,” Rosario said. “We wanted to honor the patient and show appreciation for his sacrifice.”

This compassionate and patient-centered care is built on a foundation of solid professionalism that is nationally recognized: Maine Medical Center has earned Magnet designation three consecutive times from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, an independent organization within the American Nurses Association.

Magnet designation recognizes nursing staffs that deliver the highest quality care. To achieve the recognition three consecutive times, as MMC has, is a rare distinction, earned by approximately 2 percent of U.S. hospitals.

Nurses at MMC are empowered to make decisions that benefit their patients, and they come through with small acts of kindness that have an enormous impact.

“At Maine Medical Center, nurses believe in patient-centered care as a commitment to treating every patient with respect,” said Joanne Chapman, MSN, MED, RN, NE-BC, director of professional practice at Maine Medical Center.

“I hear stories all the time about nurses who have gone the extra mile for their patients, but those nurses view their extraordinary efforts as ordinary. They are committed to excellence.”

The stories of these efforts are unending:
Each Christmas, Maureen O’Brion-Snowden, RN, buys presents for every patient on her unit, even when she’s not working. Sometimes, she arranges Christmas carol sing-alongs.

Earlier this year, Vilena Discatio, RN, was caring for a patient who had a cardiac arrest less than two weeks before his daughter’s wedding. His family arranged for him to watch the ceremony via FaceTime.

Discatio re-arranged his schedule of lab tests and physical therapy so that nothing would interrupt his viewing. Then, she set up a conference room with tablecloths and flowers so that the patient could host his own reception for his daughter and her new husband later that day.

Just last month, Nicholas Horvath, RN, helped a patient who was nervous for her chest X-ray simply by holding her hand and telling her before she went in that it was OK to be scared. The patient remarked to her daughters how much it meant to her that he spent that time to make sure she was comfortable.

Stories like these come to light because each of these nurses was nominated for a DAISY Award. The DAISY Awards were established in California by the family of J. Patrick Barnes, as a way to thank the nurses who provided him care at the end of his life.

DAISY stands for Disease Attacking the Immune System. That is how Barnes lost his life. The DAISY Foundation now supports awards at hospitals across the country, including Maine Medical Center. Nurses can be nominated by anyone.

“Our nurses are always looking for opportunities to provide better care to patients,” said Chief Nursing Officer Marge Wiggins, DNP, MBA, RN, FAAN, NEA-BC.

“One of our organizational values at MMC is Ownership, and our nurses ‘own’ their practice, continually improving upon it to provide excellent patient-centered care that creates an atmosphere where patients truly feel valued.”

If you would like to nominate a nurse for a DAISY award, please email [email protected].

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