Dear Nurse Colleagues:
Assuring excellent nursing care for our patients and their families is the first part of our Nursing Department vision. It goes without saying that providing excellent care happens because of every nurse’s technical and clinical competence. However, at BWH, our notion of excellent nursing care extends beyond this expert clinical skill because it is shaped by a continuous healing relationship between the patient and nurse. This means that at BWH, every patient will know his or her nurse and every nurse will know his or her patient and family. The nurse will know who this patient is as a person, what having this diagnosis means to him or her, and where this particular person’s strengths are, so that the nurse and patient together can build a plan of care.
All BWH nurses are joined by this common vision for excellent nursing care which is lived out in every patient care area throughout the Tower, CWN and in our Ambulatory Care centers. Wherever we work, building trusting relationships with patients and families is the foundation of our practice, our profession and our hospital mission.
All patients seek to feel known and cared for by their nurse because it creates for them a sense of comfort, well-being and safety. Our profession allows us to enter the private world of our patients and to be present in the most constant and intimate ways. Our caring extends to families and calls upon our skills as teachers and advocates. We do this in the best way we know, using evidence of current practice to assure good outcomes. This everyday care of patients and families is the most important work of our profession – the work that provides the greatest rewards and offers the most challenges.
In this issue of BWH Nurse, we see excellent care for patients and their families in the cover story celebrating our heart transplant milestone as well as in this month’s narrative. Clinical nurses and advance practice nurses play vital roles alongside cardiologists, anesthesiologists and surgeons in BWH’s cardiac transplant program. The collaboration and partnership of this multidisciplinary team ensures that care is coordinated, safe and of excellent quality. Colleen Smith’s and Linda James’ commitment to Richard Briggs and his wife Marina is testament to this. In her narrative, Carol Flavell connects with a 34-year-old expectant mother admitted to our cardiac step down unit. Carol cared for this working wife and mother of two expecting her third child by doing what nurses do best. “I was there,” Carol tells us.
Truly, as nurses, we are there for our patients, to care, to know, to educate and to comfort. We are at their side and with their families when they are most vulnerable. It is the central work of our profession, and the reason why each of us is here.
Mairead Hickey, PhD, RN
Chief Nursing Officer and
Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services