Kaitlin Fitzmaurice, nurse at Porter Regional Hospital, recently won the honor of being named Porter Health Care System’s 2014 Patient's Choice Award winner. With her inspiring dedication to her patients, she has raised the bar with her commitment to Porter’s mission to provide medical excellence in patient-centered care.
Fitzmaurice wanted to become a nurse as long as she can remember. From the time she was in kindergarten until the age of 14, Fitzmaurice was in and out of hospitals with a variety of medical issues. She was inspired to pursue a nursing profession after an experience with a nurse who took a little extra time to go the extra mile.
"When I was 14, I had back surgery. I couldn't get out of bed and I just wanted to have my hair washed. I don't remember her name, but I remember this nurse who took the time to actually wash my hair. What seems like a little thing meant a lot to me," explained Fitzmaurice. “She treated me with compassion and with respect. That was the turning point for me that made me want to become a nurse. The little things do matter."
When she came to Porter Regional Hospital, Fitzmaurice said she wanted to treat all her patients with the same compassion and respect.
"When I came to Porter, I wanted to inspire other people to show respect and to let the patients know that they're not just a room number,” she continued. “We treat each patient as a person, because that was what really hit home for me - when that nurse treated me with respect."
Fitzmaurice wanted a career in critical care, so she began her career in the Medical/Surgical Unit.
"Starting out in the Medical/Surgical Unit, you deal with patients on ventilators and have patients with a vast array of diagnoses,” she said. “Being in this unit helped me to develop my nursing skills and learn time management. You get your hands on everything. Nothing could be accomplished without a great team of nurses and staff. That is a great feeling.”
Leading Fitzmaurice on that team is Medical/Surgical Unit Director Joyce Serville, RN, BSN. Serville has acted as a mentor to Fitzmaurice, helping her achieve the goal of becoming a critical care nurse in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit)
"Joyce knew I wanted to be an ICU nurse, so she has helped gear me in that direction and has supported me in every way to help me achieve my goal,” Fitzmaurice said. “Now I can proudly say I am in critical care as an ICU nurse. I am grateful to have learned from such a great mentor.”
Critical care nurse Jason Wood, RN, BSN, explained, "The transition to ICU can be very difficult, but a positive attitude and having good rapport with the patients can make the transition easier."
Displaying compassion, being inspiring to others, and providing the best in patient-centered care are three reasons why Fitzmaurice won the honor of being the 2014 Patient's Choice Award winner. She has proven that nursing isn't about just doing your job, but it's about learning from a great mentor, working as a team and going the extra mile for your patients.
"Earning the award was unexpected; I was blown away,” she said. “It made me realize that patients notice the little things you do. Receiving this award made me feel appreciated and want to continue to give the best in patient-centered care."
Fitzmaurice's long term goal is to continue to provide patients with the best in patient-centered care. "I want to continue to develop my nursing skills and be the best patient advocate I can be," she said.