Baldwin Receives Essence of Nursing Award
Beth Baldwin cares for Julio Abud on Tower 14AB.
When Beth Baldwin, BSN, RN, was caring for a patient with stage IV lung cancer on Tower 14AB, he told her his greatest wish was to celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary at home with his family.
He wasn’t able to be discharged in time, so Baldwin brought the celebration—and his family—to him. “Beth brought in a tablecloth, flowers and sparkling water so they could have their anniversary celebration,” said Christine Smith, MS, RN, nurse educator, who, along with nurse manager Patricia Brita Rossi, MS, RN, nominated Baldwin for the Essence of Nursing Award. “The patient and his family were overwhelmed with emotion and comforted by Beth’s presence.”
Baldwin is an expert at providing highly skilled clinical care while always seeing what is important to the particular patient and family. She knows how to do what her patients need in ways that are respectful and supportive of the things that matter to them.
“Beth was well aware that this patient could not concentrate on the rest of his planned care or his medical treatment unless this very significant personal need was met,” Smith said. “Beth’s expert clinical knowledge and compassion are evident every day.”
Baldwin, who entered George Mason University in the fall of 1993 as a chemistry major, realized two semesters later that she would become a nurse. “I loved the science of my major, but I wanted to do more than equations; something was missing,” she said. “One day, it dawned on me that I wanted to work in a hospital caring for people at their most vulnerable moment in life, and I could do that through nursing.”
She has touched many lives since then.
Beth Baldwin’s colleagues on Tower 14AB congratulate her on receiving the Essence of Nursing Award.
The husband of a patient who died after battling breast cancer praised Baldwin’s attentiveness. “Beth knew exactly when to step in and offer advice, when to step back and provide privacy, when to offer support and when to help us grieve,” he wrote in a letter of recommendation for this award. “She was not only our nurse…she became a member of our family. Her compassion and sense of timing is something I believe cannot be taught; it is a gift that can only be admired.”
And when a homeless man was admitted with body lice, Baldwin provided the most dignified and respectful care. “She provided leadership for the entire care team through developing a plan of care that would not only take into consideration the physical needs of the patient but also provide a positive approach to a most difficult social situation,” said Smith. “After everyone had left the room, you could see the patient looking at himself in the mirror smiling.”
In addition to the impact she has on her patients, she continually strives to advance the practice of nursing by seeking out new challenges for herself and her colleagues. As a member of the newly-formed Patient and Family Education Committee in the Department of Nursing, Baldwin is working to compile all of the patient education materials in the department so that the best teaching tools are available to all patients, nurses and other care providers.
Several years ago, Baldwin helped the clinical nurses on 14AB learn how to educate complex medical patients with many different learning needs prior to discharge. She created a patient education cart filled with written materials and established a collaborative relationship with the Bretholtz Center.
“Beth became a resource to clinical nurses and taught them how to effectively educate patients in the midst of their very busy days. The nursing staff became more comfortable and confident in their own teaching abilities with Beth as a resource and facilitator,” Brita Rossi said.
Baldwin is steadfast in her dedication to teaching nursing students as well. As a clinical instructor, she is involved in a pilot education program initiated by BWH and UMass Boston which designates 14AB as the Dedicated Educational Unit. She teaches two UMass nursing students for 12 hours per week during the spring semester and works closely with them in the care of patients. “I care for two patients with two students, and we deliver all the patients’ care together,” she said. “This continuity and partnership give me many opportunities to help the students build on their learning experiences from one week to the next, and they learn to become good nurses.”
Baldwin credits her students, colleagues, nurse educator and nurse manager with her success. “Our unit gets so many new nurses, and I love helping them enter this practice. We also have a group of experienced nurses who have become close colleagues and friends,” she said. “And my manager, Patty Rossi, constantly promotes professionalism and encourages us to do better than our best.”
Baldwin joined BWH in 1999 and has served as a clinical nurse and charge nurse on Tower 14AB, as well as a preceptor and clinical colleague. During the last nine years, Baldwin has become a smoking cessation counselor and an expert in the care of diabetic patients. She developed the content, materials and methodology for an outpatient diabetic class taught in the Bretholtz Center and participates in multi-disciplinary diabetic teaching sessions on Tower 14. Baldwin also was selected as a super user for eMAR during implementation of the technology at BWH.
“While the transition to eMAR was a stressful time for most nurses, Beth was capable of pointing out the importance of patient safety and demonstrated how eMAR would help us achieve this goal,” Smith said.
Before coming to BWH, Baldwin was a clinical nurse and charge nurse at Inova-Fairfax Hospital in Virginia, where she cared for patients on the Medical-Infectious Disease Unit. She has a long list of honors to her credit. Among them is the “Pride in Nursing – New Graduate of the Year Award,” for which she was a finalist in 1997 shortly after she graduated from George Mason University with her BSN.
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