PM&R Nurse Draws from Personal Experience in Her Care for TBI Patients
By Michael Thomas Lowe
With the opening of the Neilsen Rehabilitation Hospital and a large hiring effort, there have been many new faces at the Hospital. One of these is Daysha Clukey. She graduated from Southern Utah University in December and started working as a clinical nurse in January with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Stroke patients.
She was especially drawn to work with this patient population since she has personal knowledge of the obstacles and challenges faced by people with a TBI. Five years ago, Daysha’s mother-in-law was skiing at Park City when she was hit by a snowboarder. The snowboarder left her lying in the snow, and she was not found until ten minutes later. She was examined at a hospital and then released that day, but then a few days later while shoveling snow, she became dizzy and fell down. The TBI was worse than originally suspected. Most of the effects of the TBI have been resolved, but when Daysha’s mother-in-law is facing stressful situations, she can become highly agitated and then remain in a reaction mode for many days.
Experience over the years interacting with a family member with a TBI has helped Daysha with her patients. She knows not to take aggressive or difficult patient interactions personally, and that the TBI can be responsible for many of these negative behaviors. Patients can be very thankful and appreciative when they are approached in a gentle manner and are given an explanation of what is happening during each nurse visit.
Daysha enjoys working at NRH. As a brand new nurse, she wants to learn and experience as many things as she can, and she appreciates the wide variety of patients at NRH. She has had more experience in one month with tube feeds and tracheotomy care at NRH than she did during her entire time in nursing school.
Lexi Brady, a CNC at NRH, thinks that it is a positive thing when members of the rehab team have personal experience with TBIs. They are very passionate and understanding when working with TBI patients. Another advantage is that they have been on the other side – the patient or patient’s family's side. They understand what constitutes excellent care and what things can make a big difference to the families. All of these things can be very beneficial. Lexi is noticing that personal experiences with TBI are brought up more commonly in interviews with new hires, and it is more common to have these experiences than most people realize.