Nursing Excellence Spotlight: Wendy Till, MSN, RN, PHN, CNL

Wendy Till, MSN, RN, PHN, CNL from NorthBay Health VacaValley Hospital is our nursing excellence spotlight for the month of September! Scroll to read her full interview.

How long have you been in nursing, and what are your favorite parts about it?

I have been a nurse for about 13 years, and love many things about my career.  I love the flexibility to work on so many different areas of my career. I believe myself lucky to have the opportunity to explore different environments and specialties that no other careers offer. In my years working as a nurse I have been able to work on Medical-Surgical units, Telemetry, Step Down, Pre and Post-operative, Case Management, Sleep Center, and Infusion Center and Oncology.

I am also very grateful for the opportunity it offers to grow and advance in my career if I choose to do it. Another thing I love about nursing is the flexibility of my schedule as I can accommodate it to my multiple demands and family needs. In addition, I love to have the opportunity to help others and make a difference in someone’s life.

Can you tell us one of your favorite patient stories from your work?

One experience that I will never forget is when I was caring for a Hispanic patient that didn’t speak English at all. It was during Covid season so she didn’t have anyone to stay with her. I will always remember the smile she gave me when I came to her room and spoke in Spanish to her. Besides being able to explain her plan of care and treatment in a way that she could understand, she said I had provided her with so much peace and relief that she felt so much better right away.

She credited me with curing her headache and tachycardia instead of the Tylenol and the Metoprolol I gave her! We developed such a nice connection that made me look forward to my next shift. Initially, I thought it was all about because of the language. However, when she left, she thanked me for my care and kindness, specifically for listening and helping her get through the loneliness in the hospital. The experience made me realize the kind of impact I can have on a patient’s experience. I am not sure if nurses realize all the power we have.

How has NEP helped you as a nurse?

I have watched many NEP 5-minute videos because I truly feel they have helped me to sharpen my nursing skills. I like how it challenges me to apply their tips and recommendations in my everyday interactions with my patients and their families, as well as with my coworkers, even with my family.

Could you tell us about a time that a tip you learned came in handy, with a patient or colleague, for example?

I love to educate my patients and I have made it my purpose to ensure they go home with a clear understanding of their diagnosis, treatment plan, and medications. I used the tips regarding discharge instructions to educate my patient and his wife regarding his discharge medications and diet. He had a liver transplant seven years ago and didn’t know the purpose of his medications. He was also having frequent flare-ups of colitis and didn’t know why. I used the teach-back method and other tips recommended on the video and after finishing with my discharge instructions he thanked me. He said nobody had taken the time to explain the instructions in a way he could understand and with such detail.

What new skills are you looking forward to developing?

I am trying to learn more about how to communicate better with my patients and colleagues. I also would like to develop some leadership skills.

What do you look forward to most after each week’s new tip?

I definitely look forward to put every tip into practice with my patients, coworkers, and my teenage daughter!

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