What It Takes To Be A Fabulous Nurse? One Word, She Says: Patience

August 15, 2017

Often, it’s an encounter with a tremendous, caring, out-of-this-world nurse that leads people to a career in nursing.

For Sammi Hatfield, it was just the opposite. She was 17 years old, a senior in high school, recovering from reconstructive jaw surgery.

“And I had horrible, horrible nurses,” Hatfield says. “I was miserable.”

At the time, she was set on going off to college to become a teacher.

“After that, I was like, ‘Now, I want to be a nurse and I want to be the nurse that I never got,’” Hatfield says. “It was horrific, but it was a life changing thing.”

Today, Hatfield works as a nurse in cardiovascular critical care at IU Health Methodist Hospital. She’s known as a terrific nurse – the cream of the crop.

“I’m passionate about the bedside,” Hatfield says, “because I know how much it’s affected me.”

We sat down with Hatfield to learn more about this IU Health nursing standout.

What it takes to be a fabulous nurse? One word: “Patience,” Hatfield says.

How do you try to stand out? “Treat them like you would want to be treated, like you would want your family member to be treated. I always think of that,” she says. Two years ago, when Hatfield’s grandmother was dying in the hospital, Hatfield brushed her teeth, bathed her, put lotion on her and brushed her hair. “That would have meant so much to her,” Hatfield says. “I got to give her that, even though she wasn’t aware of it. And that’s what I do for my patients.”

Key to compassionate nursing: “I try to allow the patient and the family to have quality time,” she says. “I tell them, ‘You’re welcome to hold their hand, kiss them on the forehead. You can talk to them. I don’t know if they can hear you, but I like to think that they can.’”

It’s OK to have fun: “If somebody has been here for a long time, I’m going to go in there and joke with them or watch a show with them,” Hatfield says. “I want them to feel human.”

The good stuff: “I love watching the progress and I think that is something that as nurses we are blessed to get to see,” she says. “From seeing somebody at their worst to seeing them maybe not at their best, but getting better.”

She’s been around: Hatfield has plenty of IU Health experience under her belt. As a student nurse at IUPUI, Hatfield worked at IU Health University Hospital. After graduation, she was a nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit at Methodist. She then went to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, where she was a pre- and post-operating room nurse. Nearly three years ago, she came back to Methodist for her role in cardiovascular critical care. Along the way, she held a second job at IU Health West Hospital.

Favorite part of her job: “I’m kind of a big nerd. I love learning things,” Hatfield says. “This is a position where I get to learn things all the time. I can go up to a doctor and say, ‘Hey, can you explain this to me? I really want you to teach me something.’ I feel like in this profession we have that luxury of continuing our education every day.” Side note: Hatfield is in school now to get her MSN (Master of Science in Nursing).

This and that: Hatfield was recently married in April to husband, Justin, and the couple is building a house. She is a daredevil and loves to sky dive (for a while she wanted to be a sky dive instructor). She was a competitive dancer in high school and now teaches dance to youth. Hatfield helped start a program at Methodist to onboard new nurses with key training.

-- By Dana Benbow, Senior Journalist at IU Health.

Reach Benbow via email dbenbow@iuhealth.org or on Twitter @danabenbow.

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