In celebration of Nursing Week, nurses from across Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) are taking us along for their shifts, giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the important work they do, alongside their interdisciplinary teams, to care for our patients, clients and residents.
Krystin Evangelista is Registered Nurse and Interim Patient Care Coordinator and Clinical Nurse Educator with the Richmond Hospital Palliative Care Unit. She recently took us along for one of her shifts, documenting her day to give us a behind-the-scenes look at her role. Here's what she shared:
My day begins with a cup of coffee. This mug reminds me of how grateful I am to work with an amazing palliative care team that includes physicians, nurses, allied health, spiritual care, nursing unit assistants and housekeeping. These few minutes of calm and serenity, fuel and charge me for what I know will be a busy day, because you never know how your day will unfold in the RH Palliative Care Unit. After these few peaceful quiet moments to myself, I get my daughter and myself ready for the day and drive to work.
Walking to the hospital entrance, I notice a "Be Safe" painted rock. I think about and anticipate what today will bring when I enter our unit.
I start by checking our patient census board for any admissions and discharges that may have happened overnight and update it as needed.
Palliative care has a team-based, interdisciplinary approach. Throughout the day, I check-in with many team members including our palliative physician, Dr. Alexiadis, and our Palliative Clinical Operations Supervisor, Catherine, to discuss potential admissions.
Bed meeting takes place every day at 9 a.m. in the hospital auditorium. We discuss hospital bed capacity and share other important hospital announcements. It sets the tone for the day.
In our daily rounds, we discuss each patient's care plans, goals, discharge planning and any current concerns. Palliative care encompasses both the medical and psychosocial aspects of a patient. Our goal is to provide patients and their families with the best care to enhance their quality of life when they have a life-limiting illness. Every member of our team is present during rounds as it's a valuable and important part of the care we provide.
More check-ins this afternoon, this time with Andrew, our transition nurse, to help facilitate discharges home for our patients and with Robyn from Infection Control, to discuss patients on our unit that are on certain types of infection control precautions.
Afternoons aren't as busy, so it's a good time to update our education board. I also provide an in-service to our nursing staff about the administration of a new drug: dexmedetomidine. We will be the first palliative care unit within VCH to implement the use of this medication to our palliative patients. It's an exciting implementation on our unit!
I end the day with a treat: cookies we received for Nursing Week! We also received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from a patient's family who expressed her gratitude for the care being provided to her father. It's always nice to receive encouraging words from the families we support.
Driving back home, I think about the gratitude patients and their families have shared with our team. We're such an integral part of both the patient and their family's journey at this stage of their life. Regardless of how long they're on our unit, we want their time to be as optimal as it can be at their current life trajectory.
I end the day the same way I started it: grateful to be part of such an amazing, incredible team. Now off to enjoy the sunshine with my family.