Security officer makes meaningful, healing connection with patients

Eugene | October 15, 2019
PeaceHealth Security Guard John Nesslin
John Nesslin’s knack for calming patients makes him valuable part of the care team

A hospital stay can be confusing and scary for some patients—especially those with memory issues.

Security officer John Nesslin understands that.

He is a calming presence for both patients and caregivers in the Acute Care of the Elderly unit at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center – University District in Eugene, Oregon.

When patients feel stirred up and fearful, they can sometimes become volatile. Some people, like John, help alleviate fear and concern with patience, skill and thoughtful, caring interaction.

When John is on duty, he provides just that. Not only are patients grateful, but caregivers and providers in the ACE recognize the power of his calming presence as well.

John creates a bond

Terese Jay, CSWA, social worker, Care Management, remembers John calming an agitated patient by simply pointing out that he and the patient shared the same name. As they talked together, the patient’s mood became pleasant and they allowed caregivers to provide the personal care they needed.

John’s willingness to create a bond with patients has also impressed the Vice Chair of Hospital Medicine, Charlotte Yeomans, MD. She remembers an extremely troubled patient with a traumatic brain injury and dementia who was initially quite suspicious of everyone and all interventions.

John helped the patient get set up for breakfast and, when he initially refused to accept food from a nurse, John fed the patient and assisted in building rapport between the patient and his nurse. The patient’s trust improved so the nurse could care for him. Later that day, John also walked with this same patient multiple times then redirected him back to his bed. This helped the patient feel safe and allowed him to sleep.

The patient took all his medicines

Thanks to John’s thoughtful care and understanding, this same patient took all of his scheduled medicines and participated in self-care, which he initially wouldn’t do, and - for the first time since his admission four days prior - did not require any chemical restraints for agitated behavior.

The following day the patient was greatly improved. “I have no doubt John’s actions shortened the patient’s delirium, helping to keep both the patients and caregivers safe,” says Dr. Yeomans. “Thank you and well done!”

John’s heart of care brings peace to patients and caregivers, alike, and exemplifies PeaceHealth’s healing Mission.