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In This Issue:
Carly Caggiano, BSN, RN, of the Medical Intensive Care Unit, doesn’t think of herself as an expert ICU nurse because of her clinical skills, but rather, because of her capacity to listen to, and really hear, her patients.
“I consider myself an expert ICU nurse because of my ability to care, even when there is no cure,” she said. “Sometimes, our patients are telling us exactly what they need to end their suffering or aid in their recovery.”
Caggiano, who is this year’s Essence of Nursing Award recipient, shared a story to illustrate this during her acceptance speech at the May 1 Nurse Recognition Dinner.
Several years ago, she was caring for an elderly woman with breast cancer that had spread throughout her body. “All she kept saying was that she wanted to go home, to be in her bed and with her dog,” Caggiano recalled. “I then began to realize that the critical care issues I thought needed to be attended to were not the needs she thought were important. So I stepped back to ask, ‘Why can’t she go home?’”
After working with care coordinator Carole Chapin, RN, to organize hospice care in the patient’s home, Caggiano arranged to ride home with her in an ambulance. “Transportation was the last hurdle in getting her home because of the medications she was on,” Caggiano said. “I thought, ‘Why don’t I ride with her and care for her en route?’”
The patient woke up as she was brought into her home. “Her dog hopped right up with her in her bed, and her family was so incredibly grateful to have her there,” Caggiano said.
An hour later, the patient passed away, surrounded by her loved ones in her home, just as she had wished. This experience has shaped Caggiano’s practice as an ICU nurse, reminding her to always listen to what her patients are telling her about their needs.
Caggiano delivered her acceptance speech via a pre-recorded video at the May 1 dinner, as she had delivered her first child, a baby girl, two days prior. “I never imagined I’d be doing two of the most terrifying things in life—giving birth and speaking in front of 500 distinguished guests—in the same week,” she joked.
During the event, the four exemplary nurses named as honorees were also recognized: Ellen Bradley, BSN, RN, of Tower 14CD; Cindy Engel, BSN, RN, of Preoperative Care; Suzanne Fernandes, BSN, RN, of the ICU Float Pool; and Tina Steele, RN, IBCLC, of the NICU.
“As we celebrate our nurses throughout the month of May at the Nurse Recognition Dinner and a series of events, we have the opportunity to reflect on our nursing practice and the impact we have on so many lives each and every day,” said Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer Jackie Somerville, PhD, RN. “BWH nurses continue to be committed to providing the best care to the patients, families and communities that we serve in the every day and when the unimaginable happens. Congratulations to all our nurses!”