When Caring Goes Beyond Clinical Excellence
Christy Trim, RN Honored with DAISY Award
There were very different reasons for Megan Trudeau’s three separate trips to the Emergency Department (ED) at The University of Vermont Health Network-Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) between last October and this past March. For Megan, the constant through those experiences was the extraordinary, compassionate care provided by Christy Trim, RN. The impact Christy had is why she is the hospital’s 15th recipient of the DAISY Award.
Megan has known Christy for several years, having worked together from time to time when Megan was a nurse in the ED and Christy was an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with CVPH. However, it was October when Megan said she truly began to have an opportunity to see Christy shine as a Registered Nurse.
Megan’s mother was very ill when she arrived at the ED last fall. In her nomination letter, she said Christy’s professionalism and kindness toward her mother made her feel comfortable enough to leave her bedside and get some much needed rest for herself.
“There have been very few instances when either of my parents have received care where I have felt comfortable enough to leave,” Megan wrote. “When I returned many hours later, I was relieved to hear my mother speak such praises of Christy and what a wonderful experience she had with her.”
GRIEF AND DESPAIR
While that visit brought her relief, the next trip to the ED in February would bring unimaginable grief and despair. Her 16-year-old son was rushed to CVPH after suffering life-threatening injuries, and he ultimately succumbed to those injuries. Christy was his assigned nurse that night, and Megan’s training told her there was little Christy and the ED team could do to save his life.
“It was the care she provided to ME afterwards that will stick with me for the rest of my life,” Megan added. “That was the last time I will ever see my son. That, to me, is earth-shattering on so many levels. But, the care we received as a family, how I was seen as a human, and the empathy that was given to me that night cannot and will never be topped.”
Understanding the devastation Megan was experiencing, Christy allowed her to take part in her son’s aftercare without questioning her reasons or ability to handle it. They spent a lot of time together that night as Christy did all she could to console the grief-stricken mother and fellow nurse, even staying with Megan when her son was brought to the morgue.
“She never hurried me or made me feel like an inconvenience. She helped me, she cried with me, she laughed with me. She supported me showing up in my two greatest forms that night for my son – a mother and a nurse. I cannot put into words how much peace that brought me in such a horrendous nightmare of a situation,” Megan recalled.
GRIEVING MOTHER BECOMES THE PATIENT
Christy invited her to reach out if she ever needed someone to speak to, and a month later, their paths would cross once again in the ED. Only this time, Megan was the patient. She had slipped on some ice, but the pain she was suffering extended far beyond the physical reasons she went to the hospital.
“I didn’t have to say too much, because Christy already knew the root cause of what brought me in,” the nurse who was now Christy’s patient admitted. “She listened to me sob uncontrollably while I carried on about my struggles with losing my son.”
Christy’s extraordinary empathy kicked in, helping Megan feel comforted and emotionally cared for while also treating the physical injuries resulting from the icy tumble.
“Medically, she’s on point, but that wasn’t the care I truly needed that night. What started as me arriving there feeling devastated, embarrassed and pretty downright awful, I left feeling supported and cared for,” Megan offered.
IMPACTING THOSE AROUND HER
Through all three ED visits, she noticed many other ways Christy impacted those around her, including fielding questions from her co-workers and a willingness to jump in and help at a moment’s notice, all with a pleasant smile. She is also a part of some history with the hospital, as Christy was one of two nurses to complete the inaugural Emergency Department Nurse Residency Program.
“I would also like to speak to Christy’s resilience in the face of adversity,” CVPH Emergency Department Director Gail Bjelko added. “Completing her nursing classes at the beginning of the pandemic and seamlessly transitioning to an ED residency were no easy feats. Adding to that the current state of healthcare, and her continued ability to shine is beyond admirable.”
“No matter the role that Christy plays in the department, she is committed to delivering the best care possible to all of her patients,” CVPH Emergency Department Assistant Nurse Manager Michael Wells added. “Christy has grown into being an exceptional emergency room nurse, and we’re beyond fortunate to have her as a part of our ED family.”
When asked why she became a nurse, Christy said the difficult health challenges her daughter faced inspired her to answer the call to help others through their toughest moments. And the emotions poured out as she admitted how meaningful it was to see Megan and realize the impact she had.
“Just to know that I helped somebody is good. Sometimes, you feel like you’re not doing everything you can, even though you’re trying to. Even if I helped her just a little bit on that day. I can’t imagine what it’s like for her, but I’m so glad I helped,” she said.
“As a daughter, a mother and a patient myself, I don’t believe there is anyone more deserving of this award and what it truly stands for. In the three encounters where I have had Christy as a caregiver for both myself and the people I love, I left feeling cared for way beyond a medical aspect. And that speaks volumes,” Megan concluded.
During a surprise ceremony with the ED team, Christy was presented with a certificate commending her as an extraordinary nurse. She, like all honorees, also received a DAISY Award pin and a beautiful and meaningful sculpture called “A Healer’s Touch,” which is hand-carved by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe.
CVPH launched the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses in 2018 as a way to recognize and reward licensed nurses for making a meaningful difference in the lives of their patients. Nomination forms and boxes are located at each of the hospital’s main entrances and on the CVPH website. Nurses may be nominated by patients, families and colleagues. A committee reviews nominations and awards a deserving nurse each quarter.
The award is part of the DAISY Foundation’s mission to recognize the extraordinary, compassionate care licensed nurses provide to patients and families every day. The DAISY Foundation is a national not-for-profit organization, established in memory of J. Patrick Barnes by members of his family. Patrick died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease (DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System). The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families. More information is available on the DAISY Foundation website.
WATCH THE AWARD CEREMONY