Nurse’s compassionate care inspires patient to prioritize mental health
Only two years into her career, Karlee Carey, BSN, RN, has developed the type of compassionate touch that makes a pronounced difference to patients being cared for in the Burn Treatment Center.
Her attitude proved to be a blessing for one particular patient who was under Carey’s care after suffering severe burns.
“I was hospitalized in the middle of the night,” the patient recalls. “As someone who struggles with anxiety, this was very difficult and created a lot of distress for me. However, during my stay, Karlee did such an amazing job at making me feel like a person and not just another patient. She provided me with a safe space to openly talk about my anxiety and guided me towards professional help. This resulted in me finally getting medication for my anxiety. This has and will continue to impact my life forever.”
Carey notes that it was ultimately the patient’s trust in her that got them to seek treatment for their anxiety.
“Trust is a huge part of health care,” she says. “I see a lot of patients who don’t trust health care providers. It can make them scared to have treatment. Making sure your patient knows they can trust you and that you will advocate for them is really important. That was the number one thing that led me into nursing—caring for people.”
The power of positive relationships
Given the intensity of their work, Carey notes that the team in the Burn Treatment Center is close with each other, which is one reason why she plans to remain in the unit.
“The atmosphere on our unit is very teamwork-oriented,” she says. “If you’re not busy, you’re up asking other nurses if they need help. I can’t imagine a better team to work with. We’re a small unit—17 beds—so that also helps. I’ve only been there a little over two years, and our unit already has given me lifelong friends.”
Carey adds that along with her coworkers, she also gets close to her patients.
“I still talk to some of the patients I had when I first started on the unit,” says Carey. “That’s what makes us really unique—being able to see how patients are doing when they come back for their checkups. On most units, when the patient is discharged, you don’t see them again. But to see patients come back and see the progress they made, and to know I had a part in that progress, is something that brings me great joy.”