July 05, 2019
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
Karen A. Daley, PhD, RN, FAAN, discussed compassionate healthcare recently at Mount Saint Mary College.
Karen A. Daley, PhD, RN, FAAN, recently presented “Compassionate Care: A Fundamental Imperative for Today’s Changing Healthcare Environment” at Mount Saint Mary College.
The inaugural Dean’s Lecture at the college, the talk was spearheaded by the Mount’s School of Nursing.
Daley is a visiting scholar at Boston College School of Nursing and has been appointed an adjunct assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University. In addition, she served from 2010 to 2014 as the president of the American Nurses Association, the nation’s largest nursing organization representing the interests of 3.5 million registered nurses. She is a past president of ANA Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Center for Nursing, and has served on the boards of ANA, the American Nurses Credentialing Center, and the ANA-PAC. She is a current member of the Board of Trustees of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, the American Nurses Foundation, and the Barnstable Land Trust.
“Certainly everyone who works in healthcare cares for patients, but not everyone does it beyond the physical care,” Daley said. “The lens that nursing brings is holistic and embraces all aspects of the human being,” she explained, but sometimes nurses don’t have more than a few minutes to spend with each patient. Nonetheless, patient-centered, compassionate care is “critically important,” she noted.
Daley discovered the need for compassionate healthcare firsthand when, about two decades ago, she was diagnosed as HIV and Hepatitis C positive after accidently pricking herself with a used needle she was discarding.
“What makes maybe the biggest impression on a patient are those moments that punctuate their care in terms of compassion, kindness, and willingness of a caregiver to stop, be present, and be part of whatever it is that is at the center of a patient’s concern,” Daley noted. “These are the moments of my own care that I will never, ever forget.”
Compassionate healthcare did much to help her during a difficult time, she said, and is a key factor to a patient’s mental state.
“The nurse practitioner, whom I’d never met before, stopped me as I stood by the elevator after I had gotten the news,” said Daley. “Still in the robe, she turned to me and she said, ‘What can we do for you?’ That was a really important thing for her to ask.”
Another of those memorable moments was when her new primary care physician called to introduce himself, and added, “I just called you to tell you you’re going to be okay.”
“He didn’t have to do that – but that’s what I really needed,” Daley said.
The Mount’s School of Nursing will be hosting additional Dean’s Lectures in the future. They will be free and open to the public.