Recognizing a Compassionate Advocate for Patients
Christina Lane is a third-generation nurse, following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother. As a nurse on the cardiac surgical floor at Tampa General Hospital, in Tampa, Florida, Christina was selected as a DAISY Honoree, receiving The DAISY Award® For Extraordinary Nurses (The DAISY Award) in January of 2020 for being a compassionate advocate for her patients.
We recently caught up with Christina to learn about her DAISY nomination and nursing career.
In Christina’s first placement as a nurse, she was assigned to care for a young adult patient, who we’ll refer to as Jill, who was not feeling in control of her body and required additional monitoring for safety. The patient had been sick for most of her life, and she felt that no one was advocating for her.
In the two days that Christina treated this patient, Christina’s expressed goal was to identify what it would take to make Jill feel back in control of her own care. Christina wanted to act as a compassionate advocate, keeping the patient comfortable. She wanted to do what had to be done task-wise, but also let Jill know she had someone in her corner.
“[The patient] said that not one person had asked her that whole admission what she wanted for her body and what she wanted in her care. She'd been sick since she was a little girl and everybody was saying, ‘You need this, that, or the other thing.’ And she had no control.” — Christina Lane
To help combat this feeling of helplessness, Christina stayed in the room whenever doctors went in. She made herself available to speak to any family members Jill wanted her to speak to, and respected her choices if she didn’t want family communication.
“I just wanted her to know that it's her body. And at the end of the day, yes, I'm your nurse and I'm giving you medicine and I'm checking on you, but I'm also your advocate. That was the main gist of what I was trying to do. I'm glad that she felt heard.” — Christina Lane
Christina’s efforts didn’t stop there — she also came into the hospital on her day off to continue to act as a compassionate advocate for Jill during a full interdisciplinary meeting about the patient’s next steps. She arrived early and talked with Jill about every point the patient herself wanted to make in the meeting, and what she felt needed to be discussed for her own care. In the meeting, Christina sat with Jill and the notes they’d drawn up and ensured the woman’s own concerns were heard.
What does it mean to you to be a DAISY Honoree?
Christina had only been a nurse for eight months at the time she was nominated. To her, the nomination was unexpected, since she felt that there were so many things in her field she hadn’t yet seen or done. She believes The DAISY Award recognition was a true honor, not just due to the prestige, but what it signaled about the impact she had made:
“You get so much with [The DAISY Award for] your career, but to know that you made a difference in a person's life so much that they'll always remember you…it's a very rewarding feeling.” — Christina Lane
When receiving The DAISY Award, Christina was honored to read what her patient had written about her care, and humbled by the experience of her colleagues coming to the nurses’ station to recognize her.
How important is it to recognize and thank healthcare professionals today?
With the advent of the pandemic, Christina says she and many other nurses didn't know what they were getting into as professionals. It was her first year as a nurse — the work can be exhausting, and healthcare workers are still feeling the effects of COVID-19 in the hospital. For many health systems, COVID-19 patient numbers are as high or even higher today than they were last year. The pandemic has also brought staffing issues in addition to nursing and other care concerns.
“You don't realize what goes on in a period of a 12-hour shift with seeing how sick people get and how much you forget about taking care of yourself if you're so focused on taking care of others and wanting to be the best for your patients and making sure that everything is enough for them.” — Christina Lane
Recognition means so much, Christina feels, because many healthcare professionals don’t put themselves first and struggle with taking care of their own needs.
Why did you become a nurse?
Christina is following in the proud footsteps of other members of her family. Her grandmother and mother both became nurses later in life — Christina’s grandmother when she was 63 years old, because she wanted to change her life, and Christina’s mother when she was 48, after her kids were grown, because she wanted to make a difference.
As for Christina herself, she did volunteering as a part of National Honor Society, and while volunteering with her mother, she was struck by how the small impacts of care could have a massive impact on patients:
“I remember [Mom] was dealing with her patients in the procedure room and she was singing to them and holding their hand like, ‘It's going to be okay.’ And I was like, ‘Wow, something so simple means so much to somebody and you're making such a difference in someone's life.’ I said, ‘I want to be like my Mom.’ …I wouldn't be in this profession without watching her be such a role model to me. …My mom was the reason that I got here and did everything that I did.” — Christina Lane
For Christina, having the support of family and being able to talk to her mother about the things she goes through, and the feelings that come with nursing, has been invaluable. And the family tradition is continuing — Christina’s younger sister graduated in May of 2021, and just passed her nursing boards herself.
“Knowing that inspiration my mom had [on me], now I have on my sister….we're keeping our family strong and being able to support one another. And there's a very deep connection that nurses have because you can only talk about so much and get so in-depth with it. So to be able to have that support of my family is huge.” — Christina Lane
What do you wish people knew about the nursing field?
Christina believes that many people aren’t aware of how much effort is put in by nursing staff behind closed doors. Nurses are often the first to receive critiques since they are a constant bedside presence for patients and a constant support for providers. Shouldering those concerns can be difficult, Christina said:
“I would want anybody to know that we feel a lot and a lot goes on [behind the scenes], and we try our best. At the end of the day, we're all humans too. Everybody has emotions, has feelings, has hurt, has things going on, but when we clock on, our only goal is our patient and to make them feel better.” — Christina Lane
Do you have any advice for nursing students or new nurses?
Despite not yet feeling experienced herself, Christina has certainly gained her own wisdom in her two years on the job.
“You are not going to know everything. You will feel overwhelmed. You feel like you need to know everything. You'll feel like you might not be doing the best job. But it's expected that you don't know everything and you need to tell yourself that you will learn in time. You learn as you go. As long as you stay motivated and focus on what's safe for the patient, what's mentally okay for you…in time, you will develop a routine, you'll develop your skills. Take it day by day, week by week, and just tell yourself that it's okay.” — Christina Lane
Christina’s excellent advice is relevant not just for nurses, but for individuals across the helping professions, and her story is one of true compassion for the patients in her care. These attributes exemplify why she is a DAISY Honoree for life. We congratulate Christina again, and thank her for sharing these answers with us.
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 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 www.DAISYfoundation.org using GetWellNetwork’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.