An oncology nurse clinical leader details how one of her staff members brought out the best in those around her, patients and nurses alike.
My role as a clinical nurse leader has provided me with the opportunity to observe patient interactions, meet with patients about their experiences, and coach and mentor staff members. Molly Conklin, B.S.N., RN, PCCN, is one of many excellent nurses I have worked with in my career, but what stands out is her unconditionally compassionate nature. Molly is loved by all her patients, and there has not been a single complaint about her from patients or her peers. When things get chaotic, Molly keeps her composure, remains kind and exudes the professionalism we all aspire to have.
We cared for a very sick patient who spent several months in the hospital and was deconditioned as a result. The patient had lost motivation and no longer wanted to participate in physical therapy. Given her condition and surgical implications, physical therapy was paramount to her recovery and ultimately her discharge home. Although the therapists and family tried to encourage this patient to participate, she would intermittently decline.
The entire staff came to know this patient and developed a great rapport with her, but on one particular day, she decided that enough was enough. She closed herself off, didn’t want to interact with anyone and refused to work with physical therapy multiple times that day. The holidays were nearing, and the patient expressed her desire to return home, but she had lost sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. A physical therapist, the patient’s daughter and I talked with her in an attempt to get her out of bed, but we were unsuccessful.
Molly was informed of this but would not take no for an answer. She was determined to find a way. The patient’s daughter brought treats for the staff as a token of appreciation, and Molly took that opportunity to motivate her patient. She asked the patient to walk the unit and pass out her treats instead of having staff come to her room. Initially, the patient was reluctant, but Molly kindly pressed on and was successful. She gathered a team to get the patient out of the room and arranged a holiday parade of sorts, comprised of her walker, her wheelchair and the treats. With family at her side and staff cheering her on, the patient walked not just one unit but two. She hand-delivered the goodies with bells and applause before returning to her room.
Molly made her patient feel extra special that day. The woman’s daughter, nearly in tears, told me how thankful she was for the care and attention delivered to her mom. The patient was able to go home a few days later, just in time for Thanksgiving — and what a time to be grateful!
This is just one moment out of so many in which Molly has gone above and beyond for her patients. She does what is best for every patient and encourages them to do the same for themselves. As a nurse certified in adult progressive care nursing, Molly proved that she has solid assessment and critical thinking skills that allow her to proficiently care for patients. As a sweet, compassionate and caring person, Molly proved to this patient and to her peers that she will always advocate for their well-being.