Stan Brown: Using teamwork and empathy to help patients
Spotlight on Staff
Stanley Brown has been a clinical nurse for two years, all of it in the Vascular/GI Surgery Unit at UC Davis Health System. His daily routine consists of rounding on patients, monitoring vitals and labs, listening to concerns and answering questions, and appropriately addressing any needs.
By jumping in wherever he's needed, Brown received the health system's Excellence in Teamwork and Collaboration award.
By jumping in wherever he’s needed — helping his team ensure that all patients are safe and stable — Brown last year received the Excellence in Teamwork and Collaboration award at the health system's Employee Excellence Awards and Diversity Celebration.
Anticipating others' needs
Brown defines collaboration as anticipating the needs of others — fellow staff and patients alike — before they turn into crises.
“It's being aware of the big picture and hearing the pulse of your working environment,” he says. “It's about more than just helping out when asked.
"It’s a collaboratively shared ethic that if any team member is struggling, we will all pull together to help. Here, teamwork isn't just a theory we aspire to — it's something we put into practice every day.”
“Stan exemplifies teamwork and collaboration,” says Shirley Thomas, nurse manager and bariatric consultant on the unit. “He works with his peers to reach creative solutions to problems, and he has a wonderful sense of humor and a positive attitude.”
"Educating, without lecturing, with respect to a patient's personal health monitoring and interventions, will hopefully culminate in improved health and quality of life."
-- Stan Brown, clinical nurse
The best part of his job, Brown says, is seeing that the care he provides — both clinically and personally — has a visible and positive impact. This can be especially gratifying because his environment is one where he routinely sees the “catastrophic results of inadequate self-care.” He works diligently to help his patients understand that they are the most important stakeholder in their own health — more teamwork at play.
“Educating them, without lecturing, with respect to their personal health monitoring and interventions, will hopefully culminate in improved health and quality of life,” Brown says.
Helping patients deal with stress
One primary challenge is the actual acute-care environment, which by its nature is a large source of stress for patients.
“The uncertainty, lack of control and physiological stressors — such as pain — can result in a great deal of physical, mental and emotional discomfort,” he says. “Recognizing the source of a patient's stress when even they are unable to is more art than science, but it’s invaluable when we are successful in making their course of treatment an easier and more humane experience.”
For example, Brown had under his care an elderly patient who was confused and was losing her memory. While walking by her room one night, he heard her calling for help.
“She asked with very real fear in her eyes, ‘Tell me, am I all alone in the world?’" Brown says.
Brown calmed her, redirecting her attention to other topics — including agreeing that they would go dancing together someday.
“Even when patients can't understand cognitive concepts any longer, they still understand emotional ones,” he says. “Being able to effectively respond in that way has been one of the most satisfying aspects of my career. It's been an honor working at Davis 12.”