I promised you an inspirational post after my last lapse of a post. Last night on my 3rd out of 4 nights working, I received an email that someone was now following me on twitter. THAT someone was one of MY most memorable patients from 10 years ago.  10 years ago……

The year was 2000 and it was Oct 20th when she came into the PICU. I heard about her the next day, as I was walking into work from one of my coworkers in the parking garage. The nurse telling the story was still shaking from watching the girls drama unfold .

I went into the unit and was assigned to care for the girl.

What began that night was a 10 year relationship and bond that will stay with me forever.

When I tell my younger coworkers about the 12-year-old girl who forever changed me as a nurse, they get teary eyed, as I am now remembering …..

I am the nurse I am today because of my time caring for this girl and her family.

I carry her with me and to know she is now 22, and a pre med student, makes me so grateful for the blessing of life and being at the right place at the right time.

As I have said in previous posts, working in the PICU can be one of the most challenging careers and also one of the most rewarding.

I wrote of my time working with the girl and won a mentoring award from the AACN. It was 2005 and I was sent to New Orleans to accept the award.

Here is an excerpt of the story.


Please read on….

Shauna Helene Lobre, RN, BSN, CCRN
Daly City, Calif.
UCSF Hospital

For 17 years, I have dedicated myself to caring for critically ill children and their families. One of my most memorable patients was a 12-year-old girl whose heart valves had been attacked by a virus. During transport to our PICU, she repeatedly went into ventricular tachycardia.

Upon arrival at our unit, she told the staff, “It’s happening again; you are going to have to shock me!”

Soon, her heart succumbed to the viral myocarditis and went asystolic. Intubated and fighting for her life, she endured one hour and 48 minutes of CPR by the staff. She was cannulated for bypass and later for an ECMO circuit. One of her complications was acute renal failure. She had been placed on a type of dialysis known as continuous veno venous hemofiltration (CVVH), which was my clinical specialty.

On my next shift, I was assigned to her.

As I did my assessment, the family member at the bedside told me she was M.’s mother and had a hard time staying in the room. I held her hand and reassured her that her daughter was in a safe place, and we were dedicated to doing everything to make her and her daughter comfortable.

She looked up and we connected.

Care plan after revised care plan, I spent the next three months as M.’s primary nurse. I utilized my time training the staff on CVVH and called in on my days off to check her progress. I blended my critical-thinking skills with the art of caring to provide family-centered care.

I smile when I think of the girl who taught me a life lesson that I carry with me as I care for other critically ill children.

Take nothing for granted, for your life can change “in a heartbeat.”