Honoring a Special Caregiver
By Tricia Neus, MPH, CHES®, CHW
Program Coordinator and Wellness Coach
Methodist Health System
When I’m asked what healthcare should look like today and in the future, I think of my wife, Stacey Sheffield, MSN, APRN, AG-ACNP-BC, CEN. I know what she believes about how care should be delivered. I have been there with her when she was a patient and have had the honor of working with her at the bedside for almost 25 years. The idea of patient-centered care resonates with her and has really been the keystone in her style of care for as long as I have worked with her. I call it her “orange Jell-O®” mission.
For anyone who has worked with her or has been fortunate to have been a patient of hers, they know that sometimes the most important thing to exceptional patient care is listening. Since I have known her, she has always packed extra food in her lunch bag to share with her patients, co-workers, students, and residents. For those suffering under stress that is almost impossible to bear, Stacey brings out her most powerful weapon — compassion in the form of orange Jell-O (preferably with mandarin oranges). Countless times, I have witnessed her ease pain, suffering, and anxiety with the help of a shared container of orange Jell-O.
In 2014, Stacey began the journey from bedside nurse to bedside provider with the goal of becoming an advanced practice provider. This trip was almost stopped before it started. In 2015, Stacey had a stroke that robbed her of sight in her right eye. It slowed her down — for two months. Undeterred, she picked up where she left off with an expanded vision of how healthcare should be provided. She found a passion for training other nurses to be excellent, compassionate caregivers.
Her growing education and leadership skills have allowed her to become a mentor, colleague, and nurse leader. She is one of the founding members of the advanced practice provider group affiliated with the Methodist Dallas Medical Center hospitalists. The energy that has always been focused on her patients is now also focused on extending the hospitalist program. Now her orange Jell-O mission includes thank-you notes, treats, and enlightened communication with the staff. Her innate ability to form the connections that highlighted her time as a bedside nurse are forging new bonds for the group. Her ultimate goal for the patients that she so dearly loves is to ensure a smooth transition throughout the continuum of care — even when she is not there to share the orange Jell-O.
These days, she works as a hospitalist at Methodist Dallas by night and continues to work on her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Duke University. One of her favorite professors in graduate school repeatedly reminded her of the importance of treating the whole patient, not just the list of symptoms. Recognizing the need to care for patients’ psychosocial needs, she’s made the decision to pursue certification as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Always looking to make new connections and develop new ways to care for her patients and community, Stacey may have lost sight in one eye but hasn’t lost her vision.
If you’re looking for an organization that is committed to honoring the work of all its employees, take a look at Methodist Health System. Visit us at Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.
© Methodist Health System