Lakken Cox: Making a difference in patient outcomes

Lakken Cox, nursing assistant

Checking on patients for Lakken Cox means more than just checking their vitals, it also means keeping them company when they have none.

“If they’re having a bad day, I’ll just stay with them for five or 10 minutes and have a conversation with them and try to keep them relaxed,” says Cox, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at UI Hospitals & Clinics. “If I’ve got some down time, I’ll go talk to patients because the hospital can be lonely for them.”

It was Cox’s attentiveness to one patient’s well-being that led to her nomination for a Helping Hands Award.

Following her instincts

Cox often works the night shift, meaning she may help patients get ready for bed or sit beside them as they fall asleep, if necessary. One night—the third in a row she had monitored a confused patient who repeatedly tried to remove a medical collar around his neck—Cox noticed something different about the patient’s condition.

Cox knew something was wrong when the patient began wheezing and having trouble breathing, and she immediately hooked him up to oxygen before calling for assistance.

By the time the nurse arrived, the patient was quickly becoming unresponsive and ended up intubated in the Surgical and Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit.

“Lakken’s quick actions and attention to the patient’s condition allowed us to intervene before this became a code,” wrote a nurse in Cox’s nomination form. “Lakken should be recognized for her professionalism and the difference she made in this patient’s outcome.”

Learning from her teammates

Cox hopes to soon become a nurse and says she is grateful for the opportunity to work with and learn from others.

“I love the health care field,” she says, “and I love helping people.”

Cox says she was so taken aback at receiving the award that it took her a couple of days to process that she had even been nominated.

“I’m just very grateful for the person that nominated me,” she says. “I’m also thankful for all the people that helped out that night.”