3 posts tagged “MD”

Compassion for all: Cheryl D. Kane, MEd, BSN, RN – Schwartz Center NCCY Award finalist

Posted November 13th, 2015 by

By now, you’re probably familiar with the National Compassionate Caregiver of the Year (NCCY) Award, presented by our partners at the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare. We’re featuring the six award nominees here on the blog, leading up to the 20th Annual Kenneth B. Schwartz Compassionate Healthcare Dinner in Boston on November 18. We’ve already featured Rick Boyte, MD from The University of Mississippi Medical Center (Jackson, MS) and Melody J. Cunningham, MD from Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN. Next up is Cheryl D. Kane, MEd, BSN, RN.

Cheryl D. Kane, Med, BSN, RN
Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (Boston, Massachusetts)

“Strong relationships of trust are a hallmark of the care Cheryl provides. It is Cheryl to whom we turn to instill and nurture that same sense of compassion in the next generation of nurses in our program.” – A physician colleague

After 23 years of teaching, Cheryl Kane decided to follow her lifelong dream and become a registered nurse. Now Cheryl provides care for the often overlooked homeless population as the Director of Nursing at the Barbara McInnis House at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program.

Cheryl draws on the lessons she learned while teaching, including patience and encouraging others to be their best selves, when serving her patients. The former teacher notes that over the years, her patients have taught her a lot as well.

“The homeless patients I interact with keep me honest; they do not tolerate insincerity or phoniness. They’ve also taught me how to be compassionate, and have given me a greater understanding of what compassion is all about,” says Cheryl.

The majority of Cheryl’s patients have had lives full of physical and emotional trauma, and their capacity to trust is limited. Cheryl’s initial goal when meeting with a new patient is to develop a sincere relationship of trust, which allows her patients to tell her their story and where they’ve come from. Once Cheryl understands who they are and the unique challenges they face, they can work in partnership to create a healthier outcome.

Building strong bonds with her patients and colleagues is at the heart of all Cheryl’s interactions. She was working on the street team when a patient found out that she had recently lost her husband. The patient immediately asked Cheryl to go buy herself a cup of coffee, and put it on his tab, so they could talk about her late husband.

“I realized later that this was an incredible gift that this man gave to me. People would easily pass him by because of his exterior, but he was so gracious to me that day, and had a real concern for what had happened,” says Cheryl.

Both colleagues and patients alike emphasize how Cheryl’s ability to look at someone’s soul, rather than their exterior, has left a longstanding impression on them. Through humor, patience, a gentle touch and her kindhearted nature, Cheryl has become a source of support for those she cares for.

A nursing colleague says, “at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, Cheryl’s name is synonymous with amazing listener, the person who goes the extra mile for patients and staff, non-judgmental, extraordinary nurse, strong leader and advocate for patients and strongest of all…compassionate caregiver.”

Let’s celebrate compassionate care, together.

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Compassion for all: Melody J. Cunningham, MD – Schwartz Center NCCY Award finalist

Posted November 12th, 2015 by

We’ve already introduced you to Rick Boyte, MD, one of the finalists for the National Compassionate Caregiver of the Year (NCCY) Award presented by our partners at the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare. Today, we’re happy to introduce you to another nominated healthcare provider who has displayed extraordinary devotion and compassion in caring for patients and families.

Melody J. Cunningham, MD
Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital (Memphis, Tennessee)

“Melody’s character shines through her every action and her kindness is immeasurable. Her compassion for treating the whole family can not be put into words.” – A former patient’s mother

A series of losses, including the death of her father, during Melody Cunningham’s childhood taught her the definition of compassion and the depth of the human experience. As a pediatric palliative care and hematology/oncology physician and medical director of Threads of Care, the palliative care program at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Melody treasures every individual she comes in contact with.

A winding path of jobs and experiences led her to oncology, where compassionate mentors taught her a powerful distinction: to look at medical relationships as human relationships.

“I teach our medical students, residents and fellows that it’s OK to be human, to make mistakes and to say we’re sorry. As caregivers, we can laugh with families and we can cry with families,” says Melody.

Caring for her team is just as important as caring for her patients. Melody often arranges for her team to gather at her house to prepare food for the week, drops off food at team members’ homes when she knows they’ve had a difficult week, and has also been known to provide free babysitting services for colleagues. An active participant of the Schwartz Center Rounds® program, Melody emphasizes that it’s important for caregivers to remember they are human and to take the time needed to process thoughts and emotions.

Together, Melody and her team work to make sure families feel like they always have a safety net. With a 24/7 phone line, caregivers are never out of reach.

“Throughout our son’s illness, Melody was available, day or night, to answer questions and provide comfort. Melody became our friend, caregiver, confidant and biggest advocate during the darkest period of our lives,” says a former patient’s mother.

Melody approaches her practice with listening ears and an empathizing heart. She often wears a bracelet with a pair of moccasins on it, which reminds her to step into the other person’s shoes and picture their journey from their perspective. Melody believes that listening to patients and understanding their point of view and how they define quality of life is integral to the healing process.

“Melody hugged us, cried with us, laughed and celebrated milestones over the course of our daughter’s illness,” says a former patient’s mother. “With Melody by our side, we never felt alone or incapable of caring for our daughter.”

 

Stay tuned for the remaining NCCY Award nominees as they’re featured on the blog leading up to the 20th Annual Kenneth B. Schwartz Compassionate Healthcare Dinner in Boston on November 18. 

Let’s celebrate compassionate care, together.

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