Have you ever wondered what a patient’s story is prior to admission to a health care facility? I’ll never forget that question that was asked many years ago by my nursing instructor. Today I teach LVN students at Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts and encourage them to be curious and find out more than just their patients’ diagnosis and vital data. Fortunately there is already a program, called My Story, which offers steps in finding out about who the patient really is beyond their room number. In 2003, Michael Dann became the inspiration to his wife Doreen for starting this program. After a motor vehicle accident, Michael became just another “John Doe” comatose patient in a trauma unit.
During those last 8 days of life, Doreen Dann, C.O.O. of St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, California, created a life-serving tool to bring connection between Michael and his caregivers. The My Story brochure includes questions about the patient’s support system and what they enjoy, such as their favorite pets, hobbies, movies, music, and food. Depending upon each facility’s policy, these valuable brochures may be filled-out by nurses, volunteers, family, patients, and student nurses. After the brochure is filled-out it is then posted up in the patient’s room, which allows each caregiver, including LVN/LPN students to easily read about their patient prior to administering care. A DVD is also provided for the caregivers to understand the purpose and story behind the My Story program.
In the DVD Doreen Dann shares her view about how there is healing power in the life story itself. She explains that when we are able to connect to the life essence, then we can truly become a partner with each other. With this healing intent, it is no surprise that this program has a history of not only being beneficial to the patient, but also to the caregivers. For those who enroll in a LVN/LPN program they usually are filled with excitement about their new career. To keep this spark of enthusiasm, it is important to utilize tools, such as My Story to continue their nursing education even after graduating from a LVN/LPN school.