Willing and Able: Advocating for the Patient

Able Nasser HFH

As is talked about in the column this month by Henry Ford Hospital CNO Gwen Gnam, listening to the patient and the family, then speaking up on their behalf is extremely important to the complete care of those who entrust their health and lives with us. A perfect example of this type of advocating involved nurse Able Nassar, who has been with HFHS for only two years.

Nassar, has worked on the I-5 Cardiac/Telemetry Unit for those two years and is both open and skilled at adapting the care she provides based on the unique circumstances of each patient. She was recently caring for an elderly man who was scheduled for surgery on the following Monday. On the Saturday before the surgery, the patient’s physician said he could go home and return Monday morning for surgery. While this is something most patients would love to hear, this was not the case in this instance. Instead, the patient and family feared his health would deteriorate while at home and expressed this to Nassar. She listened and not only advocated for the patient by speaking with the doctor on his behalf, but, to help ease his and his family’s emotional suffering, she “worked her magic” to have him transferred into a private room where his wife could stay with him during the nights leading up to surgery.

“I have come across many great patients like this family,” says Nassar. “During his time in the hospital we grew close. I have always loved to interact with my patients and (their) family members. I incorporate the ‘Take 5’ during my assessments and while walking the patient around the unit to check pulse oximetry and to exchange concerns and questions in order to get to know the patient more.”

It is Nassar’s efforts to truly understand the suffering that her patients experience, both physical and emotional, that helps them feel more at ease and creates a healing atmosphere.

“Patient stays can be lengthy so we have time to create a bond,” she explains. “I also understand that health care can be confusing and overwhelming. Sometimes it can be hard to get your voice heard by health care professionals and I feel that's where nurses come in. Our patients expect us to care for them. So, I know it is important to advocate for my patients to help alleviate any stress that my patient may have. I try to resolve patient concerns and include them in decision-making. I do whatever it takes for my patient’s voice to be heard.”

In addition to the great appreciation for accommodating the patient leading up to the surgery, Nassar’s bedside manner was noted by a family member on the Daisy nomination form:

“Our nurse, Able, was firm yet caring and compassionate. She took extra time to speak clearly to him as he has trouble hearing, and she made sure he understood her before she left him. She would return within the time she told him. … Although there were several nurses caring for him that were also kind, Able seemed to go above and beyond for the patient and the family. She is humorous but makes sure the correct procedure is followed. Our experience at Henry Ford is one we will never forget.”

This is not an isolated comment regarding Nassar and the care and compassion she exhibits, says Wafaa Shami, Assistant Clinical Manager.

“Able is a caring and compassionate nurse,” Shami says. “We are happy to have her as part of the I-5 team. She has a wonderful sense of humor that keeps the staff laughing and keeps her patients at ease, making it easy to have a special connection. She is knowledgeable and does an excellent job educating the patient and family and keeping them informed. She has been nominated for a Daisy Award several times by her patients and she was also nominated by her peers for Employee of the Month for her teamwork, commitment and enthusiasm.”

Nassar reflects the type of nursing care that so many of the HFHS team deliver on a daily basis. Thank you to Able Nassar for her passion for nursing.