2018 Nurse of the Year
Dorothy (Dot) Goodman, BSN, RN, CWOCN
Nominated by: Margaret Hiller
When I think about a nurse who embodies the qualities and characteristics that define “Nurse of the Year,” there is only one name that comes to mind. As a nurse for over forty years, thirty of which have been in WOC nursing, her specific contributions are too numerous to limit to three pages. But, to name a few, she has excelled in acute care, home health, and in an academic medical and Magnet nursing facility. She is considered an expert in these fields and is heavily relied upon by others to provide unparalleled patient care. With regard to acute care, in 2011-2012, she developed, from the ground up, an outpatient Ostomy Clinic, which filled a serious gap in the community.
However, her commitment to home care has not been diminished despite her primary role in acute care. To this end, she routinely visits patients at their home to deliver supplies and provide care and comfort, even if the patient lives far away. She recently worked with a patient with a posterior biliary drain that was leaking around the tube and severely burning his skin. She fit him with a pouch that contained the drainage well. He was otherwise medically stable and was discharged with VNA services. Two days later, this patient called to say he hadn’t seen or heard from home health and that he was now leaking and without supplies. She attempted to rectify what may have gone wrong with VNA but wasn’t getting quick solutions and it was late in the afternoon. She quickly realized that he does not live far from her home and she made arrangements to stop by on her way home. Because of the trusting relationship they developed, she continued to work with him until he was able to go for corrective surgery. And what’s more, she finds time to visit nursing facilities to ensure continuity across the continuum of care. In fact, her expertise has recognized her as an expert in the legal community, which frequently relies upon her knowledge to assist with legal cases.
Her contributions to the field of nursing include her commitment to furthering academics and mentoring programs. For example, she regularly teaches classes and hosts clinical shadow experiences for patient care assistants, nursing students, bedside nurses, med students, physician residents, and attending physicians. She is also a regular guest lecturer for undergraduate nursing classes and has presented expert lectures at numerous conferences including: MAR WOCN, DC Affiliate Memorial Education Day, Diabetic Limb Salvage Conference, and poster presentations at WOCN.
She has precepted more than 60 WOC Nurse students. And mentored many, many more. One recent mentee writes:
She has precepted and taught so many nurses in the DMV area that the mere mention of her name sends every wound care nurse/student to jump in and share a story of how she has had a profound influence. I am a bedside clinical nurse and I recently came out of staffing to fill the role as an interim member on her team. She is a fierce advocate; many who work with her would credit her not only for her skill but for saving lives by speaking up when it’s not comfortable. There was a patient that the plastic surgery team had actually struggled with so much that they asked for her to help. This patient had an ileostomy, NPWT to her abdomen and LE compartment syndrome. Through several complications in her course, she had lost trust in her medical and surgical teams. She advocated for this patient so much and spent hours brainstorming and working on this patient’s dressings, in the end the patient was most comfortable with her.
She elevated me as a professional nurse. She helped me navigate how to attend my first WOCN conference (with no car!), and connected me to be able to attend networking and educational events. Something special about She pours her whole heart into her work, has cried and laughed with patients and for patients, and considered an honorary family member to so many. She is a teacher, advocate, and friend to so many. She is the epitome of what it means to be WOCN Nurse of the Year.
Everyone knows, with her at the bedside, she will work relentlessly to find the best possible outcome considering nursing labor, patient comfort, and always thinking about what’s next for the patient along the road to recovery. As told by her Director:
A past patient with a complicated surgical history was readmitted for management of weeping abdominal wounds. She went right away to see the patient and devise the care plan. She then gathered supplies for NPWT dressing and returned to the bedside and just after the surgeon came in with the intent to perform the dressing change. The two assessed together and agreed on the plan. The surgeon made movement to take the lead on the dressing application. The patient put his hand up and said, “with all due respect, Doc, but I want HER to do this.” The surgeon stepped aside, saying “well I certainly understand that,” and let her do what she does better than anyone.
When it comes to awards and recognition, She has been recognized for her contributions to the field of nursing. These include, but are not limited to, 2014 WOC Nurse of the Year and 2014 Nurse of the Year awarded for excellence in patient care and advocacy. She was recognized at the 46th annual WOCN Conference with the Research Award for her work as a co-author of a multi-site study. In 2017, she and her team were named the Value Analysis Committee VIP for their extreme efforts to reduce cost while considering evidence-based practice and maintaining favorable patient outcomes. And, at the 49th WOCN Annual Conference, her co-authored poster was awarded Sage Poster of Merit and the top-rated poster for performance improvement.
But, the reason she deserves this award goes beyond her individual contributions and accolades, it is more than the hours spent devoted to this profession, it is her love - for patients, for students, for colleagues, and for the improvement of this profession. It is her devotion, which she shows by both actions and words that set her apart and distinguish her as an example of excellence. Her devotion is demonstrated by working late into the night to ensure patient needs are met, by connecting with patients and their families in a way that sets them at ease and makes them comfortable divulging necessary and intricate details about their condition, and by being a calming presence to those facing pain and uncertainty. She knows when to hold a hand, take a break, push through, or give tough love to strengthen confidence and impart courage. She is always thinking ahead, always thinking of ways to enhance patient recovery, and is relentless in her devotion. Patients do not forget her. A colleague writes:
She consistently keeps the patient’s physical, emotional, spiritual and psychosocial needs in mind when planning for the care of a patient.
A young man with rectal cancer was undergoing neoadjunct therapy after having emergency surgery resulting in him having a very challenging transverse colostomy. He was not emotionally prepared for how challenging this was going to be for he and his young wife. He was still trying to work and support his family as he was undergoing treatment. He was dealing with his disease with the support of his wife and family – but had not shared his health issues with many friends and family members.
She worked with the patient and rallied the in-patient and out-patient WOCN team to assist him with the very difficult aspects of his physical care and supported him through the emotional aspects of accepting his worsening prognosis. She coordinated care with the oncology team to know when the patient was undergoing treatment so there was always someone on the team available for him.
She was able to get the patient to the point he could be at home during his last months and was always there for him if he needed to be seen in clinic. The patient and his wife understood the poor prognosis but did not realize how fast his disease would progress. She gave emotional and spiritual support as he planned how to say his final farewells to his wife, family and friends.
It is a very special aspect of the WOCN role and being part of the team supporting a patient and family as they go through the journey with their disease. She was an example to all who worked with her how important it is allow the patient to maintain a sense of dignity and self-respect as they prepare for end of life.
And neither will I. I am proud to call her a friend and I have witnessed her passion and zeal for nursing. She is my “Nurse of the Year” and I ask that she be yours too.