Kassandra Gauna, RN, a nurse in the emergency department at Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital (HGB) in Charlotte, Michigan, was recently honored with the quarterly MHA Keystone Center Speak-up! Award from the Michigan Health & Hospital Association. The award celebrates patient and staff safety through the recognition of individuals or teams in Michigan hospitals who demonstrate a commitment to the prevention of harm to patients or staff.
Gauna is the first recipient of the award at HGB for speaking up about a medication that was erroneously ordered and her refusal to administer it to a patient. Nurses are often the last line of defense between the patient and medicinal administration. Her uncompromising diligence protected the patient from harm.
“I chose to speak up because it was the absolute right thing to do,” Gauna said. “Throughout my training and career, I’ve been very fortunate to work with and learn from some of the best nurses in Michigan. The advice I’ve received from those nurses has always had a resounding theme: If you are unsure about something, ask questions. Use your resources and trust your gut. Be 100 percent positive that what you do is appropriate and will not bring harm to the patient. You’re responsible for the patient while they are in your care, and you are their advocate.”