Third runner-up: All in the family
Special care nursery team, Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Norfolk, VA
Dorothy Garrison, BSN, RN, nurse clinician at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, says that the “special care nursery staff see each other as family.” And, based on the team’s submission for the American Nurse Today All-Pro Nursing Team award, they see their patients that way, too.
Debra (not her real name) was transferred to the hospital’s maternal high-risk quaternary care center when her membranes ruptured at 32 weeks’ gestation. She hadn’t received any prenatal care after 18 weeks, and although she was 34 years old, she had the mental cognition of a 13-year-old. Debra’s daughter was born with respiratory distress and was placed on continuous positive airway pressure, antibiotics, thermoregulatory support, and tube feedings.
Debra was discharged while her daughter remained in the hospital. Because Debra had no family in the area, she spent a month at the Ronald McDonald House across the street. During that time, the nurses on the team helped her with many of her basic needs, including food and assistance crossing the busy street; they also communicated with the Ronald McDonald House staff to ensure that she was able to do her laundry and properly store her breast milk.
In addition, the staff helped Debra prepare to go home with her baby. They taught her about proper nutrition, safe sleeping habits, the importance of medical follow-up, and coping mechanisms.
“When Debra’s baby was discharged, there wasn’t a dry eye to be found,” said Garrison. “But that wasn’t because of fear. It was because we knew in our hearts that Debra was going to have the skills, resources, and ability to care for her child.”