Six nurses were among the recipients of the 2003 Dennis J. Thomson Compassionate Care Scholar Awards, receiving seed grants to apply toward their proposed projects to help bring more compassion to the bedsides of patients at BWH. These awards were created to celebrate the legacy of the late Dennis Thomson, former vice president of BWH Public Affairs.
Christine Dutkiewicz, RN, MSN, Care Coordination, was presented with a grant for her project “Laughter, Listening and Compassion for Caregivers,” which involves a series of luncheons for the department during which guest speakers will offer new ideas and suggestions in promoting compassionate care.
For the first time, the Thomson Compassionate Care Scholarships and the
Thomson Leadership Award were all presented at one event on April 1.
“This continues to be a wonderful legacy and a lasting testament to the values of a remarkable man. Tonight’s event reminds us of the important opportunities we can each use to reinforce the concepts of compassion and leadership and to truly understand that they are intertwined,” said BWH President Gary Gottlieb, as he addressed the proud colleagues, family members and friends of the deserving recipients, including Dutkiewicz.
“A lot of our work takes place behind the scenes,” said Dutkiewicz, who explained that Care Coordination collaborates with staff and employees throughout the hospital to ensure quality care for patients – specifically by locating a variety of patient resources, helping to facilitate and follow up on the discharge process and post-stay care, and negotiating with insurance companies. “For example, during the recent tragedy in Rhode Island, we managed the majority of calls from families searching for their loved ones. You absolutely need patience, understanding and a sense of humor to assess and provide for the needs of each and every patient.”
With those key characteristics in mind, Dutkiewicz reached out to three specific guest speakers to offer their insight at the luncheons: Carol A. O’Flaherty, RN, CLL, TRW, a humorist; Pat Reilly, RN, MSN, manager for Integrative Care at BWH; and Linda K. Kenny, president of Medically Induced Trauma Support Services (MITSS).
“I think these guest speakers will bring three very different perspectives to the table from which our department can learn,” said Dutkiewicz. “My goal is for each and every person in Care Coordination to take away at least one new idea in providing compassionate care that they can apply to their job moving forward.”
Nursing is well represented among the roster of Compassionate Care Scholars built since the scholarship program debuted four years ago. Other 2003 Scholars in Nursing are listed below with a description of their projects.
Mary Anne Bennett, RN and Joann Morey, RN, BSN
“Helping Parents with the NICU Experience”
For the past five months, Bennett and Morey have been taking turns leading a weekly parent support group, engaging several speakers to come and talk about various subjects related to the care of the hospital's tiniest patients. They will use their scholarship to attend a conference that will further their knowledge on leading such support groups. As a result, they hope to be better equipped to help colleagues to further involve the parents as crucial members of their infant's patient care team. They will also seek to develop a parent advisory committee, where parents can provide feedback to BWH clinicians on ways to enhance family-focused care in the NICU.
Jo-Anne Dillman, RNC-NP, MA
“Hand in Hand: The Brookside Team Making a Difference in Families’ Lives’”
Brookside Community Health Center (BCHC) is a place where staff members from different walks of life come to do different kinds of work but share the common commitment to help patients better their lives. Often, busy workdays get in the way of the opportunity for staff to share with one another how they, individually and collectively, make a difference in the lives of their diverse group of patients. For this project, Dillman will lead small staff groups in order for employees to share the reason(s) they came to work at BCHC, how they see their job as an important part in making a difference, and other experiences at BCHC from which they gain the most job satisfaction. The highlights of these sessions will be documented and shared with new staff during their orientation at BCHC.
Bryan Figueroa, MD and Catherine McKay, RN
“Understanding Brain Death From the Patient, Family, Caregiver Perspective”
Through this project, Figueroa and McKay hope to provide emotional and informational support to families and health care providers when a diagnosis of “brain death” is made. They plan to identify the needs of families during the crisis period and form a multidisciplinary resource team of clinicians to support family members. Figueroa and McKay will also produce an educational pamphlet designed to provide families with answers to the many questions they may have.
Corinne Pryor, RN
“Skin Care of the Premature Infant”
Skin care in newborns can be vital to survival, as the skin is a newborn’s first line of defense from infection and fluid management. With such a large staff of nurses in the NICU (more than 150), it is paramount to develop guidelines that will standardize BWH’s approach to this important component of newborn care. Pryor hopes that having such guidelines will allow more time for colleagues to focus on compassion and quality of care. The creation of these guidelines will involve canvassing current research, reaching a consensus with a planning team, and setting forth to educate all staff.
Janice Ray, RN
“Altering the Environment in the NICU to Improve the Neurodevelopmental Outcomes of Preterm Infants”
Emerging from the warm, dark and quiet, the pre-term infant meets a noisy, bright world. This is often an unavoidable consequence of medical necessity as the infant is admitted into the NICU. Research has shown that an ICU setting is stressful for adults, never mind a fragile infant. Many pre-term babies spend weeks to months in the NICU. Most new and newly renovated NICUs are recognizing the need to alter the environment to meet the needs of these infants. In the BWH NICU, creating an optimal environment for preemies is being addressed through an Environmental Committee. Ray’s scholarship will further the action of this group, as work continues to improve the neurodevelopmental outcome for these small infants.