As we observe Thanksgiving and share stories of gratitude, we feature a piece about Pam Blankenship, R.N., an emergency room nurse at Sutter Davis Hospital in Davis, Calif. and the impact she recently made on one patient.
Sitting in a hospital emergency department is never on anyone’s preferred places list. Whether it is illness or injury that brings a patient there, their physical symptoms can be only heightened by feelings of anxiety and uncertainty.
So, imagine being that patient—with all their mixed emotions—being so impressed by a nurse that the patient nominated her for an award while still sitting in the emergency department?
“During my stay in the Sutter Davis ED I’ve been able to witness many patients come and go, all with varying degrees of emergent situations,” the patient wrote in the winning nomination form for the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing, a widely respected recognition in the field. “I have seen Pam treat each one of these patients (including myself) with cheerfulness, kindness, empathy, dignity and respect.”
The patient acknowledged the efforts of Pam Blankenship, R.N., an emergency room nurse at Sutter Davis Hospital in Davis, Calif., where she has cared for patients for the past six years.
The patient went on to write, “I hope that her efforts (that seem effortless) do not go unnoticed and that all who embody the attributes of empathy and respect as she does receive the praise they so greatly deserve. I can only imagine her shining and vigorously assessing a crisis situation here in the ED… [Your] gestures and spirit do not go unnoticed by the patients you serve, Pam! Thank you for living up to your oath.”
In the age of COVID, the greater public has come to appreciate healthcare professionals more than ever before. But the caring and compassion Blankenship (and those like her) demonstrates is something that is always there—regardless of the circumstances.
“Pam is someone who doesn’t recognize what she does—the authenticity and humbleness she brings to work are very real,” said Tambria Agnew, the emergency department manager at Sutter Davis Hospital. “Her dedication to the profession of nursing comes out in her dedication to her patients, and recognition like this validates what she might not recognize in herself because it’s just who she is.”
For her part, Blankenship’s empathy for her patients is rooted in knowing what she doesn’t know. This, of course, is extremely meaningful to patients and can make a difference in their healing.
“I don’t know what they’ve been through in their life or what type of stress they’re dealing with when they come to us,” she said. “Recognizing that and treating everyone respectfully can help make things calmer.”
To all those healthcare professionals who touch the lives of patients and families: thank you.