Compassion in crisis led to honor for nurse

By Staff

Erin Dillard

University of Colorado Hospital Surgical Intensive Care Unit nurse Erin Dillard earlier this year fought long and hard to care for a very ill, pregnant 32-year-old patient. For her efforts, Dillard, an RN, received the third-quarter 2011 DAISY Award for Exceptional Nurses during a ceremony earlier this month.

The DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation, based in Glen Ellen, Calif., established the award in 2000 to recognize extraordinary care extended by a provider to a patient or family. Dillard delivered several days of care to the patient, who was five weeks pregnant. Because of a pre-existing condition, the patient developed blood clots, then went into cardiac arrest. Efforts to save her ultimately failed. Her husband, stationed overseas for military service at the time, took an emergency flight home to see his wife before she died.

“Erin was so attentive and compassionate not only to the patient but to the husband who got off an emergency flight to see his critically ill wife,” wrote SICU Nurse Manager Martha Paulsen, RN, who nominated Dillard for the award. “He was in shock, and Erin was so calm and understanding I could see that he was able to start to accept the situation.”

Paulsen also noted Dillard’s attention to both the clinical care of the patient and the emotional stress of her family.

“Oftentimes, the family is the patient as well,” she wrote, “and Erin did a beautiful job attending to their needs as well as her very sick patient.”