In the three years Dana Aiken has been a nurse at Beaufort Memorial Hospital, she has received numerous thank you letters and commendations for demonstrating compassion to her patients.
But it was what she did for an agitated patient confined in restraints that earned her the DAISY Award for Exceptional Nurses.
The prestigious national honor, reserved for Registered Nurses who go the extra mile to care for patients and their families, was recently awarded to the Lady’s Island resident in a surprise ceremony held at the hospital.
“I don’t feel deserving of it,” Aiken said in a release. “Taking care of patients is my job. So many of us do that every day.”
The patient, an elderly nursing home resident, had been in the hospital for a couple of days when Aiken arrived for her shift in the fourth-floor unit where she works three days a week.
“He was confused and upset,” Aiken recalled. “They had to put him in wrist restraints because he was trying to pull out his IV and Foley catheter.”
Although he was well enough to go home, he couldn’t be discharged until the restraint order was lifted. Following protocol, Aiken released him to assess his mental state.
“As long as I was in the room with him, he was OK,” Aiken said. “I spoke with his doctor and advocated to have a sitter watch him instead of keeping him in restraints.”
While the hospital provides sitters, none was immediately available. Undaunted, Aiken was determined to find a way to keep her patient out of restraints.
She spoke with the unit’s other nurses and certified nursing assistants and rallied them behind her mission. The team happily agreed to help and worked on their charts in the patient’s room, comforting him as needed.
At other times, they would take over some of Aiken’s duties, allowing her to stay with her patient. A visitor, who observed Aiken at the man’s bedside holding his hand and talking to him quietly, reported the compassionate care to her supervisor.
“When I asked her about it, she immediately gave credit to her team members for helping her care for her patient,” said fourth floor director Julie Schott. “That’s just the kind of person she is.”
The tag-team care went on for 12 hours before a sitter was available to stay with the patient. Thanks to Aiken’s efforts, he was discharged the next day.
Impressed with how diligently the nurse advocated for her patient, Schott nominated Aiken for the DAISY Award, a hand-carved sculpture titled “A Healer’s Touch.”
She was also nominated by Beaufort Memorial physical therapist Cheryl Mourges.
“Dana is one of the most caring and skilled nurses that I have worked with in my 30 years in rehab,” Mourges said. “Every day, her compassion shows for each and every one of her patients.”
Created in 1999 by a Seattle couple as a way to honor the nurses who took care of their dying son, the DAISY Award has since been adopted by healthcare facilities all over the world.
Anyone can nominate a Beaufort Memorial nurse for the award. Applications are available throughout the hospital.
Above: Beaufort Memorial Hospital Registered Nurse Dana Aiken is congratulated by fourth-floor director Julie Schott. Impressed with how diligently Aiken advocated for her patient, Schott nominated her for the DAISY Award, a national award for those that go the extra mile for their patients.