BOSTON, Nov. 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, a national leader in the movement to make compassion a vital element in every patient-caregiver interaction, named Rana Awdish, MD, of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, the 2017 National Compassionate Caregiver of the Year (NCCY) Award® recipient. This prestigious NCCY Award was presented at the 22nd Annual Kenneth B. Schwartz Compassionate Healthcare Dinner on November 16th, where Dr. Awdish was honored in front of about 1,800 healthcare leaders, clinicians, patients, and family members.
Dr. Awdish's extraordinary care as a pulmonary and critical care physician stems from her own near-death experience. Seven months pregnant, she suffered adenoma (a benign tumor that ruptured in her liver), went into organ failure, was put on a ventilator, suffered a stroke, and miscarried. Due to the extraordinary care of her caregivers, she survived. This experience as a patient changed her approach to medicine forever, and gave her a new-found purpose: to bring the importance of human connection into the healing process.
From her experience, Dr. Awdish wrote a book: "IN SHOCK: My Journey from Death to Recovery and Redemptive Power of Hope," that was released in October 2017. She also created a bold new initiative with two palliative care physicians - CLEAR Conversations. The CLEAR Conversations program hires a group of highly-skilled improvisational actors who serve as patient surrogates for training caregivers in communication skills, empathy and how to have difficult conversations with patients and their families. This training, part of a Physician Communication and Peer Support curriculum launched in 2013, has worked so well that the hospital has seen an increase in engagement and resilience among her caregiving colleagues, and a positive impact on the care of their patients. This program, that was originally intended for use in one department, is now a system-wide initiative.
"It took years of being a patient to understand that medicine cannot exist in a vacuum and that healing also requires a human connection," said Dr. Rana Awdish, of Henry Ford Hospital, the flagship hospital for Henry Ford Health System. "Patients are in a fragile and vulnerable place and need someone who can patiently listen to their concerns, provide clear answers, and provide them greater freedom from anxiety, and this is what I attempt to do with my patients."
"We are very proud of Dr. Awdish as the recipient of this prestigious national honor," says John Popovich Jr., M.D., president and CEO of Henry Ford Hospital. "She is an exceptional physician who is beloved and respected by her patients for her warmth, compassion and unwavering devotion to their care and support of their families. Her leadership in championing our physician communication initiative is enriching the care experience for our patients as well as our providers throughout the organization."
The NCCY Award is a national recognition program that celebrates excellence in compassionate healthcare. Through this program, the Schwartz Center honors caregivers like Dr. Rana Awdish, who embody the attributes of compassionate care, such as effective communication, emotional support, mutual trust and respect, the involvement of families in healthcare decisions, and treating patients as people, not just illnesses.
During her remarks at the dinner, Dr. Awdish shared that during her illness the medicines she had venerated for so long were only one small component of her healing. What contributed greatly to her recovery were providers who were willing to partner with her, understand her unique patient situation, and sit with her through times of utter darkness. It was the caregiver's understanding of what she was experiencing, translated into action, and letting her know that she was not alone, that enabled her to cope.
"When I come in for my check-ups, she is never rushed; she listens patiently to my concerns, provides clear and concise answers, and can always make me feel hopeful, less anxious and extremely blessed to be in her care," said one of her patients.
"Given what Rana has been through and how she has taken this experience to help the lives of other patients is extraordinary," said Ruth Kilduff, RN, Schwartz Center board chair and chair U.S. operations, Integro Insurance Brokers. "People like Rana inspire caregivers to make compassion a vital element throughout the entire healthcare system, knowing that the impact they will have will make a remarkable difference to the patients they care for and the colleagues they work with."
This year's finalists for the 2017 NCCY Awards included:
Alan Rosenthal, MD, of Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital, is a pediatrician with more than 25 years of experience caring for children and their families. He is known throughout the Cleveland community as a role model for students and colleagues, and as a compassionate, caring, and genuine caregiver. Throughout his career, Dr. Rosenthal has led by example in attending to his patients' human needs as much as their medical ones, and for fostering relationships that go far beyond traditional medical training.
Lynne McAtee-Harris, BSRN, an ICU nurse from Boulder Community Health has made it her personal commitment to make compassion a priority in her organization which has fostered greater resiliency among caregivers, and which makes them better equipped to provide the highest quality care to patients. Through her efforts she has changed the culture of Boulder Community Health by weaving compassionate care into the fabric of their institution.
Terrie Inder, MBChB, MD, an internationally renowned researcher, neonatologist and pediatric neurologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, with more than 20 years in the field of Neonatology, who is leading the development of an innovative NICU that promotes family-centered care.
Victor Fagan, LPN, a licensed practical nurse in primary care at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System that works with veterans and demonstrate exceptional acts of compassionate care like remembering their birthdays and buying needed clothes for these patients and their family.
Jonathan Bartels, RN, is a nurse at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, Virginia with more than 20 years of experience in emergency, trauma, oncology, and palliative care, who has developed a practice implemented by the care team after the death of a patient called 'The Pause', where caregivers take a moment to honor a person's last rite of passage and an opportunity for healthcare professionals to come together amidst suffering and loss.
The NCCY Award is made possible through the generous support of Novo Nordisk.
About the NCCY Award
The Schwartz Center's National Compassionate Caregiver of the Year (NCCY) Award is a national recognition program that elevates excellence in compassionate healthcare. Since 1999, the Schwartz Center has honored caregivers who embody the characteristics of compassionate care, which include effective communication, emotional support, mutual trust and respect, the involvement of families in healthcare decisions, and treating patients as people, not just illnesses. Award finalists are chosen by a national review committee, which includes past award recipients, in collaboration with representatives from the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Visit theschwartzcenter.org/award for award details.
About the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare
Established in 1995, the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare, a leader in the movement to make compassion a vital element in every patient-caregiver interaction, was founded on the belief that greater compassion and more meaningful collaboration are fundamental to the kind of care clinicians want to deliver and patients want to receive.
The Schwartz Center is an independent, non-profit organization, with more than 430 healthcare members in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand supporting 265,000 healthcare professionals each year. In partnership with the Point of Care Foundation, more than 150 hospitals, hospices and other healthcare organizations conduct the innovative Schwartz Rounds® program in the U.K. and Ireland, which unites caregivers from a range of disciplines to share experiences, learn from each other and focus on the human dimension of medicine. Schwartz Center members rely on programs, education and resources to support clinician well-being, enhance the quality of care, enable better outcomes and create a more positive and rewarding experience for all members of the care team, patients and their families.
To help patients and family members acknowledge caregivers who epitomize the qualities of compassionate care, the Schwartz Center established the Honor Your Caregiver program.
Through its National Compassionate Caregiver of the Year Award, the Center celebrates healthcare professionals who display extraordinary devotion and compassion in caring for patients and families.