Individualized Care in Nursing: ‘Not Just Another Patient’

A stay in the pediatric cardiac ICU (CICU) can be a challenging and scary time for young patients — a time when they need individualized care, compassion, and a comforting hand to hold. Luckily for the patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital in Seattle, WA, there are nurses like Kedus Getaneh to provide that support and help them feel valued. 

Just a few years after graduating from nursing school, Kedus was eager to learn more and make an even greater impact for his patients. While working in the cardiac ICU, he took it upon himself to learn a new technology, ventricular assist devices (VADs). Though this was a new technical skill, his colleagues quickly observed that his compassion quickly came through in his daily, empathetic interactions with the pediatric patients he worked with. 

Whether singing Disney songs to calm an anxious teenage patient, or crafting a “Peppermint Steamer” essential oil aid to help reduce nausea for another, Kedus is known for going the extra mile for his patients. 

And his efforts aren’t going unnoticed. In March 2022, Kedus was honored with The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses in recognition of his empathetic work connecting and supporting pediatric patients in the CICU at Seattle Children’s. 

“To be a DAISY Honoree is such an honor. I think making a difference in someone’s life and someone taking the time to write that story means a lot. A lot that we do in nursing is not to get recognized, right? It comes from the heart. But just getting this nomination is definitely something that I cherish.” — Kedus Getaneh

We sat down with Kedus to hear more about his DAISY nomination, what led him to the nursing field, and what advice he would share with new or student nurses.

Providing individualized care means putting yourself in their shoes

“Incredible, outside-the-box compassion” — that’s how a coworker described Kedus in his DAISY nominations, and this hallmark trait is evident in a story Kedus himself tells about working with a 12-year-old patient who refused to get out of bed because she was scared of her VAD. 

Knowing she liked stickers, Kedus created a variety of them and put them around the nursing unit, giving her a goal to try to collect all of the stickers herself — this small motivation gave her a reason to leave the bed.

“My whole goal with it was if I tried to put myself in their shoes and if my life had a drastic change overnight, how could I make this smoother and feel like they have someone in their corner supporting them?” — Kedus Getaneh

Kedus loves being a pediatric nurse and working with patients ranging from newborns to teenagers, and he’s always working hard to find different ways to connect with each patient. A teenager might respond better to having a friend to play video games with, while a newborn may feel safest being held or sung to. For Kedus, it’s all about getting a read on the individual patient.

“That’s the big part of being a pediatric nurse: you meet so many different patients and families, and you want to make sure that they’re valued and that their experience is different from the patient next door. So that’s what I try to do, I try to cater to my patients. I try to make sure that they feel seen and that they’re just not another patient to me, that they’re an individual and they deserve that much more — specifically, for who they are.” — Kedus Getaneh

It’s this kind of individualized care that has made Kedus’ work so impactful, even early in his career.

Individualized care, but a collective recognition

Kedus is quick to point out that he couldn’t do what he does on his own.

“When I got this DAISY nomination, they presented it to me and I said, ‘This is a reflection of not just me, but everyone on my team who supported who I am as a nurse.’ I wouldn’t be the nurse I am without the preceptors that have taught me, the charge nurses around me and my whole team that have educated me.” — Kedus Getaneh 

‘It takes a village’ certainly rings true here — and Kedus’ DAISY nomination is yet another way of bolstering that sense of teamwork. In an era of COVID-19 and widespread burnout, Kedus believes that just having a nomination like this and being able to display these stories and share them with the coworkers who helped along the way reminds everyone of the value of what nurses are doing and the daily effect that has on other people.

“That’s the big thing about nursing — it’s not just one person, it’s a whole team behind you and you can’t do your job without having the support of your team. This nomination is a reflection of who I work with.” — Kedus Getaneh

Kedus’ nomination for The DAISY Award, in fact, came from fellow coworkers as well as from a patient’s family. By giving nurses the opportunity to recognize their fellow nurses, this award helps boost the camaraderie and trust between clinical staff and allow them to support each other in a very meaningful way.

Advice for new and student nurses

Supporting and being supported by colleagues are both invaluable, says Kedus, particularly early on in your career. He believes that people often don’t understand how challenging the first year can be, which can lead to moments of doubt when working in a high-stress environment. The best solution, he says, is to lean on colleagues — both those who have been there before, and those who enter the field at the same time.

“My biggest advice is to remain inquisitive. When you’re a brand new nurse, there’s so much you don’t know and […] you have a full team that’s there to help you out, to help educate you. So making sure you’re connected with the more senior nurses and learning from their experience, learning from what they’ve gone through and making sure that you stay hungry. Making sure on a daily basis, you push yourself to be better.” — Kedus Getaneh

Kedus has certainly modeled how to do this, for other nursing staff and for the patients he interacts with daily. Thank you for talking with us, Kedus, and congratulations again on the DAISY nomination!

About The DAISY Award

The DAISY Award is a recognition program run by the non-profit organization The DAISY Foundation™ (an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune SYstem), which seeks to honor nurses at any stage of their careers, in any role, and in any setting. 

This includes student and faculty awards, team awards, nurse leader awards, lifetime achievement awards, and even awards honoring those nurses specifically addressing social determinants of health. All of this is done in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, who died from complications of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura in 1999 but received exceptional nursing care during his illness.

For more on The DAISY Award, please visit The DAISY Foundation’s website. Nominations can be submitted at the healthcare facility or via using Get Well’s best practice rounding tool, Rounds+. To make a nomination for a specific nurse who has provided compassionate care, complete the online nomination form today.

Read our other Get Well DAISY Honoree spotlight stories: