Katie Cottingim

Health Care Hero: ‘Nursing isn’t for the faint of heart’

The Dayton Daily News is profiling the people who work hard every day to save lives and take care of us. Nominate a Health Care Hero by emailing Rebecca.Mullins@coxinc.com.

Name: Katie Cottingim

Hometown (where you live now): Camden, Ohio

Job title: Registered Nurse

Where do you work: Grandview Medical Center

COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

Describe what your day is like/what you do: My days at work are typically pretty busy. I start my shift with assessing my patients needs and how well they are doing based off what they came into the hospital for. I pass medications, feed my patients if needed, bathe and dress them, getting them out of the bed and walking if they are able, along with being their person to talk to when family isn’t able to come see them and giving them that emotional support they are craving. Between getting a hold of doctors, updating family members and making sure my patients have all of their needs addressed, there’s not much time to sit until the end of my shift after 12 hours.

Health Care Hero: ‘I became a nurse to make a difference’

What inspired you to get into health care? At a young age, my mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which is an autoimmune disorder. I did not understand it much then, but as I grew older and had taken human anatomy in high school, the human body intrigued me greatly and I absolutely loved the science behind how our bodies work the way they do.

What’s a memorable experience you’ve had in health care? My most memorable experience as a nurse would have to be a time where I personally had taken care of a patient who had been in the hospital for weeks with a poor prognosis initially. Doctors weren’t sure of her outcome and it had come down to how much the patient really wanted to get better. She had cancer of the throat and radiation/chemotherapy wasn’t quiet an option yet. She had to have surgery for a tracheostomy (tube in your neck to breathe) and she was very hesitant with caring for her trach while still experiencing some denial with her situation. Our staff and respiratory therapists were very encouraging with her and helped her gain the confidence that she could indeed care for herself and be able to get home and live a happy life with what time she did have left.

Health Care Hero: ‘I really love my job’

The medical staff and myself included saw tremendous mental self growth with this patient. She went from not acknowledging she had a trach to cleaning the area and suctioning herself when needed. She became self aware of her situation and we saw a light come back in her eyes. She was able to go home after weeks and weeks in the hospital with minimal help from home care. This is what our job is about — caring for those who cannot do so for themselves, teaching them what to do and watching them grow and relearn tasks that are now needed in their daily lives. Being an emotional support system is a huge part of nursing and one of the most special gifts we can give our patients.

What do you want readers to know about your job right now? My job as a registered nurse has changed drastically in the last two months but it doesn’t mean I or my other fellow nurses love it any less. It makes us think about all of the things we took for granted, like the availability of our protective equipment, the help from other staff members, assistance from the environmental, laboratory, therapy and dietary departments. Before hospital units turned into COVID-19 units, we had the help from those other departments in the hospital. Now, the nurses are responsible for all of those areas of care, including making sure our patients are taken care of medically. I greatly appreciate those other hospital departments even more now. I want you to know that health care workers do not take this situation lightly and we are all doing our very best every day at the job we still love and care about greatly. Nursing isn’t for the faint of heart and we do experience a great amount of loss and struggle. But the outcomes that leave us speechless and put the smile on our patients faces when they are able to go home make up for all of the bad and make our hard work and tears worth it.

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