Beaufort Memorial nurse Geneva Baxley was just looking for a way to help a young Parris Island recruit pass the time while being treated at the hospital.
“He was from out of town, so he had no visitors,” the 28-year-old registered nurse said. “I could see he was restless and anxious lying there all day in his hospital bed. He needed a distraction.”
Nothing Harry Potter couldn’t cure.
Baxley came up with the idea of creating a DVD library for the medical, surgical and oncology patients on the fifth floor where she works. With the help of her department director and other nurses on the ward, she put together a collection of more than 30 movies patients can watch on a portable DVD player.
“It was a small thing,” Baxley said. “It’s really not a big deal compared to what most nurses do for their patients.”
But the compassionate gesture earned her the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, a national tribute reserved for RNs who go above and beyond the call of duty. Last week, hospital administrators surprised her with the award during the middle of her shift.
“It’s an example of the kind of care she offers her patients,” said Fifth Floor Assistant Director Nancy Fu, who nominated Baxley for the award. “She’s not just there dispensing medicine and changing dressings. She looks at the whole person and does what she can to make a difficult experience as easy as possible.”
Unaware she had been nominated, Baxley was caught off guard when she was called in last Wednesday morning to speak to her supervisor.
“She had a very serious look on her face,” Baxley recounted. “I thought I was in trouble.”
The nurse was escorted into the family consultation room where she found BMH President and CEO Rick Toomey, two dozen of her co-workers, her husband and her father and mother-in-law who had driven to Beaufort from Hartsville to attend the presentation.
Baxley was given an engraved vase full of daisies and a trophy titled, “A Healer’s Touch,” a hand-carved sculpture created by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe.
The DAISY Award was created in 1999 by a Seattle couple as a way to honor the nurses who took care of their son before he died. It has since been adopted by healthcare facilities all over the U.S. Anyone can nominate a BMH nurse for the prestigious award. Applications are available throughout the hospital.
“We have an outstanding team of nurses, so we get a lot of nominations,” said BMH Human Resources Manager Chris Watson. “Geneva really stood out because she went beyond her duties as a nurse to help her patients.”
The Beaufort resident donated 15 DVDs from her own personal collection to the fledgling library. They included “Little Miss Sunshine,” “The Perfect Storm,” episodes of “Seinfeld” and “Harry Potter.”
An email she sent out to her co-workers requesting DVD donations brought in another 15 or so movies. Equally enthusiastic about the idea, her department director, Dot Rucker, purchased a portable DVD player that can be set up on the over-the-bed hospital room tables.
“It can be very stressful waiting for tests or test results,” Baxley said. “I thought a movie would be a nice diversion.”