Vedna HeywoodVedna Heywood, RN
Burn, Trauma and Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Braunwald Tower 8CD

Vedna Heywood, RN, is known for her devotion to providing exemplary care to all patients and families, especially those suffering from violence.

As former co-director of Tower 8CD’s Nursing Practice Council, Heywood focused on redesigning the unit’s visitor guidelines for the protection of these patients.

“Vedna’s perspective changed the conversation. Instead of looking at why the patient came to the hospital, we look at them for who they are — a patient who needs our care and a safe, nonjudgmental environment,” wrote Nursing Director Diane Tsitos, MSN, RN, in a letter of support. “Vedna’s guiding principle is support and advocacy for those in need, an attribute essential to the art and science of nursing.”

In Heywood’s clinical narrative, she wrote about supporting the loved ones of a victim of violence she never had the opportunity to care for because the patient passed away before arriving on the unit.

“On this particular day, interpretation of lab values, knowledge of progression of symptomatology or medications weren’t necessary,” she wrote. “The family needed the core elements of nursing: care, connection and empathy.”

Rahsaan Peters, advocate for the Brigham’s Violence Recovery Program (VRP), wrote about the way that Heywood supported the grieving family. “Vedna was instrumental in helping VRP with coordinating services for this family to receive the terrible news,” he shared in a letter of support. “The team assembled around the family with compassion and empathy.”

Redesigning visitor guidelines was one of Heywood’s most noteworthy accomplishments while leading the Practice Council; the other was revamping the council itself.

“Vedna exemplified authentic nursing leadership at its best when she took over what had become a stagnant council,” wrote Taryn Chase, BSN, RN, CCRN, who nominated Heywood. “Not willing to accept the status quo, Vedna came with a plan.”

That included adopting a vision, formal roles for members and goal-based initiatives for the council. The structure Heywood implemented remains in place even after she left the council to focus on other areas.

Outside of the hospital, Heywood is passionate about contributing to her community as a member of various committees and organizations. These include election to the Plymouth School Committee and serving as a volunteer group leader for Hope Floats, speaking to parents who have experienced peri-natal loss or the loss of a young child. She also helped to implement the first public school district training of Stop the Bleed in Massachusetts.

Before coming to the Brigham in 2008, Heywood was a charge nurse at Broward General Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, FL. She graduated from Broward College.