Essence of Nursing Award Recipient
Carly Caggiano cares for patient Stephanie Williams in the Medical Intensive Care Unit.
Although Carly Caggiano, BSN, RN, could "do CVVH in her
sleep," that's not what makes her an expert nurse, she says. Rather, it's her
caring practice and the ability to connect with her patients and families,
by listening to understand the needs they are expressing .
"I consider myself an expert ICU nurse because
of my ability to care, even when there is no cure," said the Medical Intensive
Care Unit nurse. "Sometimes, our patients are telling us exactly what they need
to end their suffering or aid in their recovery."
This ability to
connect with her patients, especially when they are going through such a
challenging, frightening time, is among the reasons Caggiano was selected as
this year's Essence of Nursing Award recipient.
described by many patients' families as kind, compassionate, serene and
peaceful during the storm of information, decisions, pain and suffering," said
MICU Nurse Director Kathleen Leone, MBA, BSN, RN. "She is a consistent source
of support, relief and strength not only for her patients, but also for the
families and health care proxys who struggle to balance their own wishes and
desires for outcomes with the patient's need for conclusion to their
MICU Nursing Director Kathleen Leone, Essence Award recipient Carly Caggiano and MICU Nurse Educator Carol Daddio Pierce.
admitted to the MICU are some of the most critical and complex that are cared
for at BWH. But what Caggiano sees in
these patients is an opportunity to connect with them as human beings.
"What I like most
about my work in the MICU is that I can connect with every single patient and
family who comes into the unit," she said. "The ICU environment really
facilitates that one-to-one nursing care, and these patients need someone to
listen to them at the same time as we provide care. They're in such a period of
The stories of
this exquisite care Caggiano provides are many. There's the elderly, cancer
patient who had one last wish - to go home. Caggiano made all of the
arrangements, including riding with her in an ambulance since she was on a
morphine drip and vassopressors. The patient passed away an hour after she made
it home, surrounded by her family, with her dog, in the place she had wished to
be. There's the young Chinese student Caggiano writes about in her narrative
(see page X), for whom she provides culturally-sensitive care. She went to
great lengths to help his parents through a frightening time, allowing them to
do all they could to care for their son, who was diagnosed with a fatal cancer.
"I have worked
with Carly in the MICU with some of our hospital's most complex patients -
physiologically, therapeutically, emotionally, psycho-socially and
spiritually," said Martha Jurchak, PhD, RN, executive director of the Ethics
Service. "Carly's thorough, attentive care to every aspect of their lives,
their illnesses, their fears, their families and their hopes is exceptional."
Caggiano is quick
to credit her colleagues with all she has learned in the MICU. "It's not just
about being an individual nurse in that unit," she said. "My colleagues and I
are an amazing team - I couldn't do my job without the whole team."
And her colleagues
praise Caggiano for the care she provides. "Carly quickly developed an
exceptional ability to earn trust from her patients and consequently has become
an expert in patient advocacy," said Susan Glennon, MSN, BSN, RN, who has
watched Caggiano grow from a novice ICU nurse to an expert. "Carly embodies the
ideals of the Essence of Nursing Award."
Carly Caggiano was nominated for the award
by Kathleen Leone, MBA, BSN, RN, nursing director; with letters of support from
nurse educator Carol Daddio Pierce, MS, RN, CCRN, Sue Glennon, MSN, BSN, RN, of
the MICU; and Martha Jurchak, PhD, RN, executive director of the Ethics
Caggiano, BSN, RN
Education: BSN from Villanova University
Nursing Experience at BWH: three years in surgical telemetry, eight
years in the MICU
Knew she wanted to be a nurse: At age 16, after shadowing a family
friend who was an ER nurse on Thanksgiving Day. "I thought it was such a unique
opportunity to be able to take care of people and have those really deep interactions."
Family: Husband, Jason, and daughter,
Catherine, born just two days before the Nurse Recognition Dinner where
Caggiano was honored. "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.