“If I can’t recognize my staff, I can only imagine how patients must feel having nurses and physicians coming in and not being able to differentiate who is who,” she says.
Her idea was simple: have staff members wear pictures of themselves so that patients can see their faces.
“Our unit had pictures left over from a previous project to help physicians identify nurses caring for their patients,” Couch explains. “I realized we could use those pictures for our patients.”
Now nurses, intensive care unit technicians, environmental services staff, and physical therapists on the orthopedics unit walk around with photos of themselves easily visible in clear, plastic pouches that dangle from their neck.
“A lot of our patients feel alone or afraid,” says Gleiry Diaz, a nurse on the orthopedics unit. “They can’t have visitors, no one from outside. When they can’t see your face — even just a small smile that expresses you’re happy or that you’re listening — it’s hard to build a relationship. This helps with care and compassion.”