During National Nurses Week, Brigham and Women’s Hospital celebrates all 3,600 of our nurses, including the Essence of Nursing Award recipient and honorees.
Roberta Viens, RN
Intensive Care Unit Float Pool
Intensive Care Unit Float Pool nurses care for critical patients in multiple units, but they are rarely assigned to the same patient twice, given various needs and scheduling. But even over the course of one shift, Roberta Viens, RN, is able to form trusting relationships and bonds with her patients.
“She has a skill set that is not learned, but comes from within,” said Allison Bell, MSN, ANP-BC, professional development manager for the ICU Float Pool, who supported Viens’ Essence of Nursing Award nomination. “She cares for all her patients as if they were her own family members. She is the nurse I would want at my loved one’s bedside.”
Viens also takes on the role of STAT nurse, responding to codes and rapid response requests throughout the hospital. Her nominators say that she is known for keeping calm, collaborating closely with all team members and ensuring that patients feel safe and cared for.
During the pandemic, this is the role Viens most often assumes. She and her colleagues round on Special Pathogens Units and work to identify patients with potential respiratory compromise. When and if these patients need airway rescue, time is of the essence, she says.
“When I meet these patients, they are struggling,” said Viens. “Making eye contact with my patients has become more important than ever when the rest of my face is covered and unrecognizable. Holding my patient’s hand and communicating my commitment to help them is how I start every conversation. I am here, I will stay with you, you are not alone.”
Viens is equally dedicated to supporting her colleagues in the Float Pool and beyond. During COVID-19, she says that the collaboration and genuine concern for each other’s well-being are what she counts on most.
“In this ever-changing environment, the one constant I have experienced is the camaraderie felt throughout the facility. It is as if we all have the same unstated purpose,” she said. “It is evident in the kind eyes you see as people pass in the hallway or the elevator; gentle greetings of hello or goodbye all followed by the same words ‘stay safe.’ It is comforting to know we are in this together. Environmental Services, patient care assistants, Respiratory Therapy, management, nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians, physician assistants and others. PA, NP. As staff are deployed into unfamiliar surroundings, clinicians are supporting each other throughout the institution.”
She added: “I don’t know what tomorrow will bring but I know I will remain steadfast in my commitment to providing the best care possible knowing I have the strongest and most devoted clinicians to be there beside me. We can do this together.”
Roberta Viens was nominated for the Essence of Nursing Award by Allison Webster, DNP, RN, nursing director, with letters of support from Lindsay Osgood, BSN, RN, of the Float Pool, and Allison Bell, MSN, ANP-BC, professional development manager for the Float Pool.