‘She Nursed My Body, Mind and Spirit’: Methodist Hospital Nurse Makes Lasting Impact During Patient’s 12-Hour StayPublished: Feb. 7, 2022
Marcia Gerard has a history of kidney stones, but the episode she had in the early hours of Nov. 7 was nearly unbearable.
“It was one of the worst stones I’ve ever had,” she said.
The ED staff brought Marcia’s pain under control and stabilized her condition. She was moved to the Short Stay Unit before having minimally invasive surgery to remove the stone, then returned to the unit before being discharged.
In all, Marcia was at the hospital for about 12 hours. But in that time, one nurse made an unforgettable impact on her.
Small Details Make a Big Difference
When Marcia arrived in her room after leaving the ED, she was greeted by Michelle Warner, ADN, RN. The nurse wasted no time assuring her patient that she’d take great care of her – just the words she needed to hear, Marcia said.
“She was immediately communicating with me,” she said. “There were no surprises. She told me each step, and she would look at me right in the eye. She was so intentional while getting me prepared for the next stage – taking me to the OR. Everything she did was clockwork.”
Meanwhile, Warner seamlessly balanced Marcia’s emotional needs.
“My mind was going a million places,” she said. “Is there something else going on here? Is this worse than a stone? Michelle would make a nice light comment. She would encourage me that things were going to be OK. She was lighthearted but not flippant. She kept me from getting down.”
Warner said it’s important to her that each patient receives that kind of personalized care.
“No one wants to feel like a number, especially when they’re in pain or not feeling well,” she said. “They’re away from home and alone most of their hospital stay. I want my patients to know that I've got their back. I try to put myself in their shoes and think about ways that I can make their stay less stressful and more comfortable. I really believe it’s the small details that make a difference in their experience.”
“A Wonderful Experience”
While in surgery, the reason for Marcia’s extreme pain became clear. Not only was a large stone stuck in her ureter, unable to be passed, but a second stone was present in the same kidney. Urologist Patrick Leu, MD, performed a ureteroscopy, guiding tools through Marcia’s urinary canal to locate and remove both stones.
When she returned to the Short Stay Unit, there was Warner to help her with recovery. That included a white board with a checklist of goals Marcia needed to achieve before heading home. And even as Marcia’s discharge neared, Warner continued doing all she could to put her patient in the best position possible.
“She took the time to go through the discharge process with me,” Marcia said. “I thought, this is a turnaround quick-stay floor, but she didn’t treat me like I was on a conveyer belt. I felt like I had the time that I needed to absorb all the information she was sharing. I said, ‘Wow, Michelle. You have really made this a wonderful experience for me.’”
That experience extended to Marcia’s brother David Gerard, who accompanied her to the hospital before leaving for work and then returning.
“I just thought it was significant the way she included David each step of the way during my stay,” Marcia said. “He was waiting in my room by the time I got back from Recovery. Michelle had fully informed him on what had been done and what to expect going forward. David appreciated her doing all those things to alleviate his concerns, too.”
Honoring Extraordinary Care
Before she left the hospital, Marcia decided she needed to do something more to thank Warner. She soon nominated her for The DAISY Award, which honors nurses for their extraordinary skill and compassion.
Warner was recognized with the award during a ceremony last month. Her immediate reaction was shock, she said, and the surprise hasn’t worn off.
“I don't like being the center of attention, so receiving this award was a bit uncomfortable,” she said. “I kept thinking that I work with so many good nurses, and this award could go to any of them. I guess I'm surprised by the response to my care. In my mind, I'm just doing what I would expect if a nurse was taking care of me. I'm honored to receive this award.”
In nominating Warner for the award, Marcia wrote about all the ways Warner went above and beyond during those 12 hours. But her closing compliment may have summed up Warner’s care best.
“She nursed my body, mind and spirit.”