Christmas in April at the Josie King Foundation

April is an especially exciting month at the Josie King Foundation.  For me it is a little bit like Christmas. It is that time of year when little treats arrive in the mail, big manila envelopes filled with letters and reflection papers from nursing students who have read my book, Josie’s Story.

Most of the students are about to embark on their careers. In their letters they tell me the impact that Josie’s Story has had on them not only as future caregivers but also in their lives. These letters are thoughtful, insightful and very moving. What these letters tell me is something I have come to know over the years — sometimes it takes more than power point presentations and text books to move the hearts and minds of our caregivers. Sometimes it takes a story, a real story.

 

I am honored that Josie’s Story is being used in the healthcare industry and after reading so many wonderful letters I am excited to know that her story will continue to make for a very special new generation of healthcare providers.

 

I wanted to share with you some excerpts from a few of the many reflection letters we have
received in the years since Josie’s Story was published.  Also, check out the picture of some of the students. The Josie King Foundation was so moved by their letters that we threw a little pizza party for them to show our appreciation 🙂 See below —

 

From a professor:  “As you can tell by their letters, they were deeply touched by the story. Reading Josie’s Story has
not only helped the students and I grow as nurses professionally, but also personally as well.”
“This book lit a fire in me. It makes me want to
strive to be the best caregiver I possibly can be. I want to be the nurse that patients rave about.”
“Josie’s Story has inspired me to advocate for my patients as a
nurse and promote patient safety. In my practice, I want to ensure that my patients feel safe and are well cared for at all times. This story has affected me personally because it really shows how one simple thing such as not listening to a worrying mother can dramatically affect your patient’s care. Listening to my patients and their families is something I will do as a nurse
and I will work hard to ensure patient safety so that I can avoid any medical
errors.”
“Josie’s Story will forever be my beacon for patient safety. I will keep
open communication between myself the patient, the family and the doctors. If I
am unsure about something I will speak up. I will be a leader by not letting
concerns go unnoticed.”
 “This story gave me a new insight into my patient’s experience
and how important my job is as a Patient Care Assistant.  As a lesson from Josie’s Story I will practice
for quality and accuracy. Josie’s Story has brought on many positive changes
within the healthcare system. Through the completion of this story, I am
thankful to have the insight, and I can now personally influence the
transformation to a safer health care system.”
 “One part of the book that I truly loved is the part about reconnecting
the nurses and doctors who had made mistakes with the patients or their
families. I have wondered about the possibility of making a mistake in my own
practice. I’m sure I would be very upset with myself and I
didn’t know how
it would be handled if I ever did. Learning about the initial separation of the
patient and the doctor or nurse was horrifying. There must be a system in place
for if mistakes are made and how healing can be made on both ends. This is
something that I personally can work on setting up or learning about in my own
hospitals.”
“After reading Josie’s Story I realize my role, as a nurse in the patient
safety movement is monumental.”
“It is quite powerful how one person (you), could implement numerous
ways to enhance patient advocacy and safety. Not only did you implement
multiple advocacies and safety measures as the focus, but also acknowledged the
suffering that healthcare workers endure when an error is made, and teaching
them how to handle the patient and their families when one occurs. If
one individual can make all of these improvements to save lives, and
improve patient outcomes, it makes me wonder what else is there that I can do
to further enhance your crusade??  Josie’s
story has further solidified my conviction in enhancing patient safety and
advocacy.”
“As a senior year nursing student I had always believed I was just an
ordinary student nurse – going through the program, working two jobs, writing
papers and gaining the knowledge I needed. Although, I found the work interesting
there were times when it was difficult and tedious. But then I read Josie’s
Story. Never before has something touched me the way that this story has and I
have never felt so moved and passionate about any topic discussed in school.”
“Josie’s Story has changed me profoundly. It has made me more aware of my
actions. Every action (no matter how big or small) has an impact on the patient
and their family.”
“After reading Josie’s Story I realized my role as a nurse is so crucial
when it comes to patient safety. I will be sure to follow the protocols, voice
my concerns and give the patient everything I’ve got. I now know that it is
essential to double check orders and medications because in the end we are all
human and mistakes can happen.”
“Josie’s Story was brought up in my hospital in a mandatory High
Reliability Training course…. Throughout school and in practice doctors and
nurses get fed so much information on patient safety that they sometimes just
glaze over it all. Josie’s Story is one of the most valuable patient safety
lessons and I will never forget it.”
“I would like to spread the word of the Josie King Foundation and Josie’s Story to other nursing underclassmen.”
“Josie’s Story has truly impacted the way I will practice nursing. It will be forever engrained in my mind and I will carry it with me and use it to influence my decisions in providing safe care to my patients.”
Students from a Nursing School in Connecticut after the JKF pizza party

Students from a Nursing School in Connecticut after the JKF pizza party

A special thank you to the many students who have contacted us. It is clear to me that you will make a difference in the lives of many.

 

On a side note, the Josie King Foundation was so inspired by the many nurses who contacted us that we partnered with some brilliant minds at Duke University School of Medicine. Together we created a more robust patient safety curriculum/educational tool based off of Josie’s Story.  Can’t wait to tell you about it. Stay tuned, more to come in the next few weeks.

 

Many thanks,

 

Sorrel and the Josie King Foundation

1 Comment

  1. I just came across this story, however, I was practicing as a PICU nurse during the time of RRT implementation.
    In this story and many like it, I would agree that communication among disciplines played a key role in its unfortunate outcome. It breaks my heart to hear this story and can place blame on many factors.
    As a PICU nurse for now 14 years, I have noticed that it is the fear of expressing concerns from family members to the providers. I have heard many times from physicians that the parents concerns are not valid. The numbers speak louder than words. Thankfully, this is not the case anymore. Also, many physicians do not like to be disturbed in the evenings and into the night. The ICU setting is very different from the floors. The nursing staff gets scolded from physicians when they express concerns which may not be valid/subjective. Anything the parent says is considered subjective in documentation. Often times, the nurses on the night shift are inexperienced. Having asked for a charge nurse may have helped, however, not a guarantee. Even to this day, if a nurse questions a doctor, they are scolded and dismissed. I can easily see why the nurses in this case dismissed the mother's concerns. They feared getting laughed at by a physician and may not have been experienced enough to pick up on these signs of dehydration. Another factor is the misscommunication which takes place following transfers. Huge problem but academic hospitals place a lot of effort into resolving this.

    Overall take home, PHYSICIANS need to realize that the medical community is a TEAM. We are all human and make mistakes which is why a TEAM approach is crucial. Checks and balances among providers to eliminate errors. Open friendly communication using every opportunity as a teaching one. If the new nurse asked a "stupid" question, use this as a teaching opportunity. Then they are more likely to present all concerns rather than filter out ones which may be critical such as Josie's case. They do not yet have the critical thinking abilities which an experienced nurse has. Physicians get 4 years+ to develop these skills as residents and fellows. And if it wasn't for the nurses, they would have made many mistakes of their own.
    Bottom line, Physicians are not gods and need to eliminate that thinking early on in medical school in order to facilitate open communication. A child's life is not worth it! This is a horrible thing to have happened. I am thankful to have seen the efforts of this foundation across the country at leading hospitals on the west side. This can happen anywhere!