PFCC Star of the month: Doris DeMelo, Licensed Practical Nurse
Nadia Aiello, June’s PFCC Star, nominated her colleague Doris De Melo, a Licenced Practical Nurse (LPN), to receive the PFCC Star award. “Doris is a great LPN,” says Nadia. “We go way back and I’ve always admired her hard work and dedication. She’s a great team player, and always ready to help. Some of us have a nickname for her: we call her ‘Lavender Girl’ because she has such a calming way with patients!”
For Doris, focusing on the patient and their family is one of the most important parts of her job. “Working as an LPN, I’m often the first person a family meets at the hospital,” she says. “Sometimes, a parent doesn’t really understand why their child has been referred to a specialist at the Children’s, so I do my best to answer some of their questions and reassure them that the doctor will help them understand more as they go along. Sometimes it takes a few extra minutes but it’s worth it to help families feel more at ease.”
When Doris started at the Children’s, she worked exclusively in Urology. “It’s a really great team,” she says. “Over time, we’ve built such a rapport in that department, and we work so well together.” Doris currently divides her time between clinics in Urology, Plastic Surgery, Nephrology, and Gastroenterology, as well as the Cystic Fibrosis clinic and Diabetes clinic. One of the children she sees in the Nephrology clinic is Nayyab-Wania, who was only 10 days old when she first came to the Children’s. Her mother Nashrin said when they met Doris it was like they had known her for years. “Doris was so caring from the very first moment. And every time we’ve seen her since—even if we just run into her in the hallway—she always remembers every detail about my daughter and asks how she’s doing,” says Nashrin. “It’s just a completely natural thing for Doris, she just cares so much about her patients and their families. We’re so lucky to have her as part of our healthcare team.”
After 10 years at the Children’s, Doris says she still continues to learn new things every day—and not just from her colleagues. “Quite often, it comes from the parents. Listening to what they have to say can teach us a lot about how their child is doing and what the outcome might be.”
What Doris has also learned is that finding a way to make a child laugh or smile can help ease their stress and in turn, help their parents too. For example, she came up with a foolproof technique for taking blood pressure. “I call the blood pressure cuff a robot, and I tell the kids, ‘Listen… it’s talking. The lights are flashing and it’s giving you tight, tight hugs.’ The next time they come to clinic, I ask if they remember the robot. A lot of the kids say ‘yes’, and with a big smile on their face, put their arm out to take the test,” she says with a laugh.
“I enjoy my work so much because I’ve created great relationships with the families I’ve met,” says Doris. “It’s a great feeling when the kids come back for a follow-up visit and they’re happy to see me. There’s a lot that we give on both sides, and it’s really wonderful.”