Nobody knows how hard the COVID-19 pandemic has been on nurses better than nurses. And nobody knows how important recognizing nurses is better than fellow nurses.
As a nurse manager on the Orthopaedic Trauma Unit at Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC, Brandon Goings spends his days providing compassionate care to patients. But he also keenly appreciates his fellow nurses and believes passionately that nurses also deserve compassion and should be showered with recognition for their work. This commitment is what made Brandon the perfect pick to plan Nurses Month in 2021 for more than 8,000 nurses. Likewise, this commitment to recognizing nurses is what made him the perfect candidate for The DAISY Award® For Extraordinary Nurses (The DAISY Award) in August 2021.
Understanding exactly what nurses had been battling through each day for more than a year, Brandon wanted this celebration of nurses to be more than just treats or snacks by way of saying “thank you,” so he set out to do something different. He created self-care opportunities that included virtual healing touch, a blessing of the hands, yoga, qigong exercise class, and dancing. He also developed opportunities for nurses to connect with and serve the community, coordinating collection of food items for teammates with food insecurity, writing cards for troops, and donating items to those in need.
We recently caught up with Brandon to learn more about his DAISY nomination, nursing career, and the importance or recognizing nurses for their hard work and sacrifices.
What does it mean to you to be a DAISY Honoree?
Brandon was nominated by both a peer and his manager, something he says is especially special to him.
Thinking about it, I still get chills because it was such a surprise when they showed up on the unit and awarded it to me. It wasn’t the first recognition, but it was the first major recognition I’ve ever received in nursing. It validated all the hard work and energy that goes into the job. There’s sacrifice of family time and other things and it solidified that the work is worthwhile. — Brandon Goings
He noted that sometimes nurses can go a long time without hearing how they’ve impacted people. Hearing how he had made a difference for his fellow nurses was gratifying and an honor that he won’t soon forget.
Why did you become a nurse?
Brandon has been a nurse for 10 years, but nursing was a second career for him. He embarked on nursing school in his 30s after working in a traditional office setting for 10 years. What prompted the career change?
I got to the point where I felt I needed to make a difference, like I needed that personal responsibility, those personal interactions to make a difference with somebody. — Brandon Goings
Brandon’s father was sick for many years when Brandon was in his teens and early 20s, and he remembered how impactful the nurses were when they were taking care of him. When he started considering a career change, he felt that nursing was a way that he could meaningfully interact with people and truly have an impact.
From day one, CNA school was the right fit. In CNA school, you’re often in nursing homes and while caring for those people, I knew that if I wasn’t there that day, they weren’t going to get that care. So, it really solidified the need to make a difference. — Brandon Goings
What is your favorite part of being a nurse?
Brandon says his favorite part of being a nurse is bringing together a diverse group of people to change a patient’s outcome.
To see all these different people, they all leave here, and they do something different when they get outside of here. But while they’re here, they have one goal and that’s to make sure the patient has a good recovery. Seeing that every day and getting to lead the team is definitely what I enjoy most. — Brandon Goings
He also notes that especially during these times, it takes a lot of peer-to-peer support and support from above as well to truly succeed, adding that it’s peer support that has gotten him through much of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What do you wish people knew about the nursing field?
Nursing takes sacrifice, says Brandon. It’s not just long hours or hard work. Many times, nurses are making personal sacrifices to ensure that they deliver the best care to a patient, often putting their needs and even their health behind everything else.
Something I didn’t realize until I came into nursing is that nurses sacrifice their own wellbeing a lot of the time. Whether that’s not taking lunch, not taking a break, not even going to the restroom when they need to. I think the demands on them are so high and people don’t really see that part of it. — Brandon Goings
Brandon’s advice to new nurses or someone in nursing school is to always take the time to talk to the patient.
Take that time to know your patient. Sit down and ask them questions about their lives. Ask them about something that has nothing to do with their illness or why they’re in the hospital. Make a personal connection to your patient. Even if it’s just five minutes of your day with that patient talking to them about something outside of what’s going on. It makes a huge difference. — Brandon Goings
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 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: