OHSU

Denise Christensen, Nursing Resource Management

November 2013 Golden Rose Recipient

Denise Christensen

Submitted by a patient

Recently, while at my job as a night shift RN, I got the call that working parents dread - it was my husband telling me that he had brought our child to the emergency room by ambulance. I wasnwithin my first few weeks back from maternity leave!

Denise was our day shift nurse for the two full days we were there. The whole ordeal was so stressful and overwhelming and talking to Denise helped me feel sane and human in the midst of it. I was in a daze, crying myself to sleep at night agonizing about the choices I. I was feeling like a bad mother, feeling torn between what my mom (also an RN) told me to do when we talked on the phone, and what the team of doctors wanted to do.

Along with my own medical knowledge and insider awareness, my emotions as a new mother, and wanting us to be an easy, good patient and family! Denise saw all this and talked me through my entire decision making, without telling me what she thought we should decide about anything, even though I kind of wanted her to. She told us that she could see good reasons for any of the choices we might make and empathized with my feelings about them.

I was on my own with the baby quite a bit because my husband went to work during the day and stayed at home with our dog at night, so having Denise to talk to was really meaningful to me. One morning she noticed me struggling to keep the baby happy so I could eat something, so she sat down next to me and held him and chatted with me while I ate. I was so grateful for that!

One thing that was hard for me was feeling like I should know all the right things to do because IDenise also talked with me about being a nurse and was very encouraging and understanding of the emotional difficulties of working in oncology. She even asked me if IDenise gave report to the oncoming nurse one evening, she did it at the bedside and she started out by saying, her child, and he loves his mama very much.Denise said reinforced that sense of comfort and gave me something to hold onto when I was feeling bad about everything I was putting him through. When I think back about the entire hospital stay, what I remember most is that moment, holding my baby, wracked with guilt and uncertainty, and hearing Denise say, Denise.

I really appreciated the care that Denise took with our family. Denise made us feel that we were special to her.