It’s not unusual for patients and loved ones to return to the hospital to visit Dawn Walters-Howard, BSN, RN, and thank her for the care that she provided during a difficult time, her nominators say.
“Dawn has the utmost care and compassion for every patient she takes care of,” wrote Kathryn McMahon, MSN, RN, on behalf the Braunwald Tower 16AB Practice Council. “She makes sure that every patient is known and heard. As nurse colleagues of Dawn, we have been able to witness the incredible care she provides daily to her patients.”
Walters-Howard is a role model and mentor for the many newly licensed nurses she precepts on Braunwald Tower 16AB, a general medicine unit.
“Dawn demonstrates what extraordinary care looks like through exceptional compassion, clinical inquiry and authentic leadership at the bedside,” wrote Linda Delaporta, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, nursing director of Tower 16AB. “Many of her orientees compliment her on the patience and never-ending support she provides during and beyond the orientation period.”
Vitoria Saraiva BSN, RN, is among those nurses. She spent her first 12 weeks as a newly licensed nurse with Walters-Howard.
“Dawn made me feel at ease. Her confidence and approachability made me feel safe. I could go to her with anything,” Saraiva wrote. “She believed in me, and she always made it known that she was right there to support me if I needed it. Dawn was the push I needed to become the nurse I am today, and she is the kind of nurse I aspire to be.”
Saraiva says she was especially inspired by watching Walters-Howard care for patients and witnessing the bonds she forms with them.
“Her ability to see beyond the patient, beyond the illness that we are treating, is something I’ve admired since the day I met Dawn,” Saraiva shared. “She never forgets that her patients are real people with families and lives and stories outside of their hospital stay.”
Walters-Howard is also devoted to advancing her practice and supporting quality improvement initiatives that lead to better patient outcomes on the unit.
“Dawn demonstrates a remarkable commitment to new knowledge, innovation and improving practice,” wrote Delaporta. “She joined the unit-based Skin Champion team this past year. Her passion for taking on this role, gaining advanced knowledge about pressure injuries and providing education to staff at the bedside has been incredible.”
McMahon agreed. “Dawn is passionate about providing education on the plan of care and identification of pressure injuries,” she wrote. “She is frequently seen educating new nurses and even seasoned nurses on new products or practice changes related to care of patients with pressure injuries.”
Walters-Howard received her BSN from Emmanuel College. She joined the Brigham in 2006 with prior experience at several other hospitals.
Nominated by Kathryn McMahon on behalf of the Tower 16AB Practice Committee, with letters of support from Linda Delaporta, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, nursing director of Tower 16AB, and Vitoria Saraiva BSN, RN