Written by Jill Jansen
When it comes to advocating for patients, Bailey Womble, RN, is a fast learner. Just a few months into her job as a nurse on the stem cell transplant unit at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, Womble had an experience with a patient family that caused her to speak up.
“I was taking care of a newly diagnosed cancer patient who was nonverbal, and his mom only spoke Spanish,” explains Womble, who graduated from IU School of Nursing in December 2020.
Womble reached out to nursing leadership at Riley and explained she had identified a gap in care and had some ideas. Riley’s associate chief nursing officer at the time scheduled a meeting with Womble to learn more about the situation with the Spanish-speaking family. To prepare for the meeting, Womble contacted Andrea Cohee, PhD, RN, assistant professor at IU School of Nursing to ask for some help.
“I emailed Dr. Cohee because I know that evidence speaks louder than words,” Womble says.
In preparation for the meeting, Womble had a folder with journal articles related to the topic. She was ready to share her ideas about what the hospital could do, the impact of the program and how it had been documented in the literature.
That first meeting turned into a series of meetings with key stakeholders at Riley, including representatives from interpreter services, patient experience and the hospital’s patient family advisory council.
“Bailey’s insight, compassion and attention to what matters to patients has sparked this bigger conversation at the executive level regarding how we can make the patient experience better for our patients who don’t speak English,” says Megan Isley, chief nursing officer at Riley. “While interpreters are present and available for clinical care discussions, what Bailey was referring to is the impromptu conversations that happen as a part of human connection.”
Bailey’s insight, compassion and attention to what matters to patients has sparked this bigger conversation at the executive level regarding how we can make the patient experience better for our patients who don’t speak English.”
“You can’t truly perform the best patient-centered care without those little conversations, and I think that’s what spoke volumes to me in this situation,” Womble adds.
Working with the associate chief nursing officer, Womble studied the existing literature and brainstormed potential interventions. Insights and information gathered as part of this process may form the basis for a nursing research project in the future.
While Womble says she had no idea that speaking up about her interaction with a patient family would result in possible research collaboration, the experience proves the value and potential of nursing research.