Patient’s gift helping to take sting out of IV sticks

Glen and Rosemarie Wright present two ultrasound-guided IV placement machines to Dave Knott, B.S.N, R.N., unit 87 nurse manager, and the nurses of unit 87 at UF Health Heart & Vascular Hospital.

Glen Wright has high praise for the nursing team on unit 87, the thoracic and vascular surgical intensive care unit at UF Health Neuromedicine Hospital.

“There was a lot of unbelievable care that I received here, on this floor,” Wright shared during a recent visit. He and his wife were back at unit 87 to visit the staff, thank them for his care, and to present a special gift: two ultrasound-guided IV placement machines.

These machines work by using ultrasound technology to display veins that would otherwise be invisible to the human eye. With an accurate display of these smaller veins, the nurses of unit 87 are able to place an IV with fewer sticks, resulting in less pain for the patient.

Two years ago, with a diagnosis of hypersensitivity pneumonitis, an immune system disorder that can result in inflammation of the lungs, Wright was told he would need a lung transplant. In December 2020, he arrived at UF Health for a pre-operative evaluation, expecting a simple outpatient visit before his upcoming transplant. Plans changed however when clinic staff discovered Wright’s enlarged heart during the evaluation. He was admitted immediately and moved to unit 87.

“I really didn’t know how sick I was,” he said. “And when I started talking to the surgeons, it became very clear that I had to take care of this or I was dead.”

After several weeks in unit 87, Wright’s heart condition was under control, and he was able to receive his lung transplant. His recovery was quick, spending three weeks at the hospital. Following the advice of his doctors, he committed himself to a course of physical therapy, which contributed to his accelerated recovery period. Wright also credited the nursing staff of unit 87 for his recovery.

“The nurses were great,” he said. “They’re your best advocate here and they were there 24/7. They were always very positive. It’s amazing how their disposition was never rattled. I was very impressed with the whole staff. Their cumulative effort in my journey was more than anyone else involved in my care. I never had a complaint about a nurse.”

Rosemarie, Glen’s wife, echoed that sentiment.

“The nurses were very supportive of me as well,” she said. “It wasn’t just him being the patient. I was considered part of the team, and it was really nice to be included in so much of the process.”

Glen Wright speaks to the nursing team at unit 87.

Despite his excellent care, there was one issue that Wright could not escape. He had always had trouble with “difficult sticks,” where nurses and phlebotomists struggled to find a proper vein for drawing blood or starting IV lines. So when Wright wanted to give something back to show his gratitude for the care he received, Dave Knott, B.S.N., R.N., unit 87 nurse manager, suggested a new IV placement machine.

Knowing how challenging Wright’s IVs were, and how often the unit’s IV placement machine was being used elsewhere, Knott knew that a dedicated IV placement machine would be the ideal purchase for his team.

“I used to work in a hospital,” Rosemarie said. “They [nurses] felt as bad having to stick him again as he felt receiving the extra stick. So it really was appropriate to be able to help them out there.”

Wright said the original idea to give back was sparked when he was at the hospital during Christmas time. He learned of a patient who had previously had a lung transplant and decided to give blankets to all the transplant patients.

“Lots of times, you know, you would be cold sitting around,” Wright said. “I remember that blanket being so important. I used it all the time, and I still have it.”

Wright said that when the IV placement machine was suggested, it became a nice fit because of his own experience.

“I know what it was like being on the receiving end of those IV placements,” he said. “So this gift was both for the patients, as well as the nurses.”

Rosemarie noted that acts of kindness, like the gift of those blankets, can motivate others to also give back. “It’s like paying that kindness forward,” she said.

Thanks to the Wrights paying forward that kindness, the nurses of unit 87 now have two dedicated IV placement machines, easing a necessary though sometimes difficult and uncomfortable task. “I can’t tell you how much it means to receive this equipment,” Knott shared. “For patients like Mr. Wright whose veins can be difficult to find, these machines mean that our nurses can do their job more efficiently and with a lot less stress or pain for our patients.”

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