Outreach Nurse Gives Heart and Sole
Pictured is Jason Brown, RN, wearing the over-sized Vans.
(He was reimbursed for his personal shoes.)
Nurse Jason Brown went home from work at Asante Rogue Regional on July 2 in a pair of Vans slip-on shoes that were two sizes too big, and with the knowledge he’d done the right thing. His newest friend – a homeless cancer patient – left the hospital in Jason’s running shoes and with renewed faith in humanity.
Jason was working his shift as an outreach nurse on the Critical Care Team at Asante Rogue Regional. The Critical Care Outreach Nurse program helps improve patient safety and reduce clinical risks at the hospital by collaborating with critical care charge nurses on assessments and consultations, and by being available to help intervene with high risk patients.
That’s what Jason did on July 2. He responded to a Code Grey – a crisis intervention – with a combative patient in the Medical Oncology unit. The homeless man was yelling and cursing, and had physically threatened a Medical Oncology nurse.
The patient first wanted to leave the hospital against medical advice. Then, when his shoes couldn’t be found, he refused to leave. He was frustrated, and wanted food and cigarettes.
Jason, a nurse at Asante for 19 years, entered the patient’s room with a paper plate of food and soon was talking with him cordially. “The initial objective in a Code Grey is de-escalation of the situation and safety for the patient and staff,” Jason said. “The first thing I do in a situation like this is to listen and let the patient vent.”
The patient was upset about his lost shoes, so Jason arranged for a pair from the hospital’s surplus clothing to be brought to the room. The patient suffered from diabetic neuropathy and said the shoes weren’t supportive enough. Another pair of shoes, the Vans slip-ons, was brought to the room and the patient declined them as well.
“This patient has a history of being verbally and physically aggressive,” Jason said. “We continued to discuss the issue at hand, over and over, which wasn’t going anywhere. At that point, there were a couple of different ways to proceed.
“So I asked him what size shoe do you wear, and he responded, ‘nine and a half,’ I said, ‘me too,’ and I pointed to the Asics sneakers on my feet, and asked ‘will these work for you?’
“He said, ‘You would really do that?’ I said, ‘Yeah, you could use them more than me.’ He put on my shoes and said, ‘Thanks, bro. ‘I can’t thank you enough.’”
The security staff escorted the man out of the hospital in a wheel chair and Jason arranged for a taxi to pick him up.
“The Outreach Program is about saving lives and preventing harm,” said Sharon Cullen, a critical care nurse manager at Asante Rogue Regional. “It’s also is about supporting the staff and patients with kindness and generosity. Those are soft and fuzzy, and not metrics you measure, but it’s what makes Asante a great place to work.”
Jason said he was attracted to the Outreach Program by the potential to get involved in and troubleshoot various situations. “There is a personal satisfaction in helping all those around you, whether it is the patient, the family, or co-workers – all the way to the level of the community,” he said.