Health Care Hero: ‘We are all in this together’

Katie Spencer. Contributed photo

The Dayton Daily News is profiling the people who work hard every day to save lives and take care of us. Nominate a Health Care Hero by emailing Rebecca.Mullins@coxinc.com.

Name: Katie Spencer

Hometown (where you live now): Beavercreek

Job title: Registered Nurse (ICU)

Where do you work: Southview Medical Center

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Describe what your day is like/what you do: Every day I am assigned a list of patients for whom I am their primary nurse. I care for these patients by giving them prescribed medications, monitoring their vitals, and making sure that their basic needs are met. However, it doesn't stop there. As a nurse I am the eyes and ears of their physicians, and as such I am constantly reassessing my patients and passing along their status to the doctors. Along with physically caring for my patients, I also try to comfort them emotionally, because it can be scary to be in the hospital and even more so to be in the intensive care unit. In addition to caring for my patients, I also assist in the care of all the patients on the floor to help out other nurses, as needed. Because our unit is small, it takes working as a team to provide excellent care to each patient and their families. As an intensive care nurse, there isn't one day like another.

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What inspired you to get into health care? For as long as I can remember, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my response was, "I want to be a nurse." My mom is a nurse, and I grew up hearing stories of her experiences working in hospitals, and it made me want to follow in her footsteps by caring for those in need, like she continues to do today.

What's a memorable experience you've had in health care? Being appreciated is always a memorable experience for most health care providers. I remember a gentleman that I cared for in my first year of nursing who just needed someone to listen to him. Being a new nurse, I felt overwhelmed and didn't feel like I had the time, but I decided to pull up a chair next to his bed anyway. I sat there quietly and listened. He told me about the things going on in his life, and after about 15 minutes, he turned and thanked me for being there, caring for him and most of all listening. At that moment I realized that I made a difference to him by just sitting and listening to him. His appreciation has stuck with me over the years and reminds me every day to stop and listen to my patients. After all, it's the little gestures that make a difference.

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What do you want readers to know about your job right now: COVID-19 is intimidating because there are still so many unknowns. I personally have not had to care for a patient with it; however, I know nurses who have and are still caring for those patients. We are all in this together, and together we will get through this rough time, and things will slowly get back to normal. Some call us heroes, but honestly, we are doing what nurses have always done: caring for those in need.

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