Memorial nurse embodies ‘Spirit of Caring’

Nurse has keen ability to connect with patients
July 6, 2016

Some people make such an impression on you, you feel like they need special recognition for their competence, caring or compassion.

“When I saw that American Nurse Today [a professional magazine] wanted people to nominate a colleague for their first annual Spirit of Caring award, the first person I thought of was Pat Ducklow,” said Marilyn H. Jiggitts, a nurse in Outpatient Infusion Services at the UCHealth Memorial Hospital Cancer Center.

Jiggitts, who has her own impressive set of credentials (RN, MSN, AOCN, CBCN), met Ducklow about five months after starting work at Memorial in 2011.

“She made an impression on me then as someone who wanted the best for the patients at Memorial and the people of Memorial,” Jiggitts said.

Pat Ducklow, a Memorial nurse, is finalist for nursing magazine’s ‘Spirit of Caring’ award.

“Every encounter I have had with her has been positive,” Jiggitts said. “When I felt overwhelmed, Pat was there to help me get back in focus.  I have watched her interact with patients and each and every time she has been able to connect with them and get to what is bothering them, see what they need and then be able to express that to the staff taking care of the patient.”

It’s not like Ducklow has an easy job, Jiggitts said.

“Pat has a service line that is huge – Acute Care.  It has to be the largest service line in the hospital.  The staff and patients who pass through that service line are so diverse.  Pat fights for that service excellence that [management] keeps talking about in our safety huddle each morning.”

In her nomination letter, Jiggitts wrote:

“Pat has been instrumental in getting Memorial’s patient fall rate down. She is the chair of the Falls Resource Team, which has only two other nurses on it at any given time. …  The team is on call 24/7 and helps the staff manage the high-risk fall population. Within the first quarter of the FRT being established, a significant decrease in falls occurred, with only two subsequent falls after 33 interventions … for a 94% success rate.”

Jiggitts’ nomination helped Ducklow become a finalist in the Spirit of Caring Award.  And though Ducklow didn’t win the top award, she’s honored just to be a finalist.

“I was one of six who were picked as finalists. It was a real surprise because I had no idea she had submitted it,” Ducklow said.  “I was very flattered. It was wonderful.”

Her honor is mentioned in the electronic version of the April issue of American Nurse Today.

Ducklow found out about the honor when she received an email from the magazine informing her and asking for a photo.

The email said, in part:

“We thank you for ‘going above and beyond’ and your outstanding nursing care exemplifies the very best in the nursing profession.

“We have chosen 6 finalists from the hundreds of nominations we received.  Your story will be included in Nurse Today, our twice-weekly e-newsletters as well as on the journal’s companion website, ”

All finalists received 30 CE hours.

Ducklow said that although she was surprised at becoming a finalist, she is not surprised by who nominated her.

“I have known Marilyn about five years and first worked with her on the nursing quality improvement council when I was studying to become a clinical nurse specialist. She [Jiggitts] has been one of my mentors and supporters ever since I came to Memorial,” she said. “We were co-workers that became good friends. ”

Ducklow isn’t sure why she was picked as a finalist but said she grew up with a strong work ethic and was taught that if she does something, she should do it well.

Jiggitts said, “I do hope that her immediate supervisors and all of upper management at Memorial realize just what a gem that they have in Pat.  I wrote what I wrote because I wanted to honor her. She is the nurse I want to be. “

About the author

Linda DuVal is a freelance writer based in Colorado Springs and a regular contributor to UCHealth Today. She has written travel articles for major U.S. newspapers and national, regional and local magazines. She spent 32 years as an award-winning writer, reporter and editor for The Gazette in Colorado Springs.