Inspiring Stories

Geriatric Nurse Honored for Providing Comfort and Care That Was More Than Skin-Deep

Published: Aug. 9, 2022

Long before Taylor Harding, DNP, RN, received her nursing degree from Nebraska Methodist College, she knew she wanted to care for geriatric patients. So landing her first nursing job in Methodist Hospital’s Acute Care for Elders (ACE) Unit in 2015 was a dream.

“They have so much wisdom, so many stories,” Harding said of older adults. “They have so much to tell us, and we have so much to learn from them. They’ve been through so much, and they deserve good care.”

That good care, she said, involves considerable awareness of how her patients feel on the inside – and the outside.

“Geriatric nurses are actually very on top of skin,” Harding said matter-of-factly. “Especially because we know our older adults are prone to sores. Their skin is just thinner. So we’re constantly doing skin checks to make sure there’s no breakdown. We reposition them every two hours and do whatever we can to make sure they’re comfortable.”

Touching Hands and Hearts

Comfortable was the last thing Jeanene Hatcher Camp of Florida felt in January as she pulled up to Methodist Hospital to be with her 86-year-old mother, Beverly – a paraplegic admitted for an infected pressure ulcer, or bedsore.

“It was snowy and icy, and everyone was on edge with COVID still around,” Jeanene recalled. “And I was really worried about my mother. I knew she was overwhelmed.”

It wasn’t long before Harding’s warm and gentle presence washed over Jeanene’s apprehension.

“She immediately went out of her way to make sure my mother had the right cushions with the right placement,” Jeanene said. “She was patient, caring. She asked my mother what she could do to make her feel more comfortable.”

Given the private location of her patient’s wound, Harding made it a point to ask Beverly if she’d prefer her daughter to leave the room for each dressing change.

“It’s important to treat each patient with dignity,” Harding said. “Even when loved ones live together, it’s something I always ask. Because being in a hospital makes everything feel a little more uncomfortable.”

“And anything that made my mother more comfortable, she was on it,” Jeanene said. “For example, one time she noticed that my mother’s hands were dry. She got out the hand cream and started rubbing her hands and arms. And I thought, ‘Oh my gosh!’ Just her noticing little things like that. She didn’t have to do that.”

In addition to Beverly’s hands, Harding also touched her patient’s heart.

Jeanene added: “She talked to her. Really talked to her. She used humor when my mother was grouchy and turned her mood around. She acknowledged her uniqueness and didn’t treat her like she was just any other patient. She remembered what she liked – like chocolate and her coffee black.”

So when Jeanene saw a sign next to the hospital elevator promoting The DAISY Award – a national honor that recognizes the extraordinary efforts of nurses – one person came to mind.

Taylor Harding, DNP, RN

“I brought the DAISY pamphlet up to my mother, and she said, ‘Yes! Please, please, please nominate her! I’ve had great care from everyone, but she is so above all the others. She needs to know that.’”

“Everything You’d Want a Nurse To Be”

Harding, who’s been nominated for DAISY Awards in the past, considered it an incredible honor when she was finally awarded one during a recent shift.

“I obviously had heard about the award before, but when it’s you, it takes on a whole new meaning,” she said.

And while her nomination was largely the result of Beverly’s care, Jeanene said The Meaning of Care was certainly extended to her, too.

“She was patient with me when I had questions, and she honored my requests. I could sleep at night and not worry. I knew my mother was being beautifully taken care of. I knew that she was content. Most importantly, I knew that her needs were being met. Just tremendous. She’s everything you’d want a nurse to be.”

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About the Author

Jessica Gill, the External Communications Manager for Methodist Health System, is a former television news anchor and journalist. She has a passion for story-telling and illustrating Methodist’s Meaning of Care.

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