In the Fold: Subramanian now oversees a team of nine nurses. They all have her cellphone number, which she also gives to her patients, encouraging them to call her at any time of the day or night.

Nursing

Those Darn Nurses Make Us Cry Every Time

Get out the Kleenex, people. (And don't forget to cough into your elbow.)

We take all of our professional Best lists seriously, but there’s only one that brings us to tears every year: The Excellence in Nursing Awards. The sniffling is audible as editors do their first-round review of the hundreds of nominations before they are culled down and passed along to our panel of experts for final selections. We are proud to present to you the winners.

That’s because these people are heroes. They find redundancies in the number of phone calls that are made for transplant communications and figure out ways to speed up the process to save lives, and they find homes for the pets of dying patients. On top of their actual job duties running burn centers and helping deliver babies, they host weddings in the ICU, stock bare waiting rooms with toys and books, and raise funds so children of patients can celebrate a final Christmas as a family. They establish ways for quadriplegic patients to communicate so they will no longer be trapped, helpless, in pain, and they diminish fear through humorous YouTube videos. You can find the winners and read some examples of the nominations here.

One nomination stood out from the rest, and it became the basis for the feature “To Protect and Serve” in the March issue, written by Jonathan Auping. Here’s what caught our attention:

Janaki Subramanian is committed to help our city’s most underserved patients at their most vulnerable time. She runs Methodist Dallas Medical Center’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program, the only one serving people south of downtown Dallas. Last year, a patient arrived at our emergency department complaining of nausea and abdominal pain. The patient was with another woman, and the triage nurse quickly noticed that second woman was answering all the questions and contradicting many things the patient was saying. That nurse, sensing something was wrong, separated that patient from the visitor and called Janaki to further assess the patient.

The patient told Janaki she was a victim of human trafficking and wanted to get out but needed help. The patient informed Janaki that another patient who was transported to the hospital the prior day with a gunshot wound was actually another victim of human trafficking in the same house. Janaki called the police, who arrived within minutes. Because of Janaki’s quick thinking, police learned approximately 20 victims of human trafficking were being held at a house less than five miles from Methodist Dallas. Janaki contacted the human trafficking shelters and worked with them to find the victims safe places to stay. Because of Janaki’s compassion, education, and training, one victim felt comfortable enough to confide in her. As a result of her actions, she helped save 20 victims who were being trafficked in the Dallas area.

There was more. Subramanian was also credited with working with the Mexican Consulate to track down the rapist of a 14-year-old girl, and helping to get an Uber driver convicted of sexual assault. What we didn’t know until Auping started writing the story was that Subramanian did it all while living with a rare brain disease. Overachiever. You can read the story here.

Then wash your hands for 20 seconds, and go hug a nurse.

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