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Nursing Excellence

The Online Newsletter for Children's Nurses
e-Edition, Issue 7

Beverly Hayden Pugh Photo by Kelly Petersen

A Walk on the Family Side

By Beverly Hayden-Pugh, MOB, BSN, RN, NE-BC
Vice President & Chief Nursing Officer

I found myself in the Emergency Department late one night with my critically ill father. During that long night I provided emotional support to both my parents, advocated for my father’s needs and sought out and communicated information about the plan of care. At the same time, I was managing my own fears, worries and exhaustion; it seemed the night lasted for days.

In the early morning hours, as we waited for a critical care bed, I observed the hustle and organized chaos that reflects a busy ER. Nurses were coming and going, answering questions, obtaining supplies, taking orders, calming fears and easing pain. What seemed routine as a nurse in the course of a shift felt very different as a daughter. As a family member I watched, waited and tried to anticipate what would happen next for what turned out to be hours. The next few days were not much different. A lot of time waiting. Waiting for the answer to call lights, the lunch tray, and an extra blanket. Perhaps we didn’t have to wait long, but it seemed like the minutes stretched on forever.

As nurses, we are used to managing multiple patient care priorities and completing a variety of activities throughout the day on numerous patients. As a family member, my day focused on the needs of one, my dad. From my father’s bedside I found myself reflecting on the two perspectives, one as the nurse, and one as a daughter. My walk on the family side reminded me of what is important from this side of the bed. Safe, quality care is first and foremost, along with:

  • Frequent updates and discussions about the plan for the day or evening

  • Attention to comfort items: a blanket, fresh sheets, cool water, and a quiet room at night

  • A smile and a gentle, caring touch for my dad during procedures

  • People introducing themselves to my dad and the family

  • The call light answered in a couple of minutes, meeting my dad’s need

  • Notable moments when the nurse checked in with us to see if we needed anything or had any questions

Simple things make the difference. From a nursing viewpoint, I recognize each of these gestures in the compassionate, respectful, and timely care you provide every day. Family-centered care is more than a philosophy or care delivery module. It is a belief that families are both important to the care of the patient and a valuable member of the healthcare team.


In This Issue

A Walk On The Family Side

Patient Family Satisfaction

Family-Centered Medical Care

Family-Centered Communication

Nursing and Child Life

Spiritual Care


Family-Centered CARE

Pediatric Diabetes Care

Supporting Teens on Dialysis

Patient Satisfaction Comments