2021 Nightingale Award Winner - Priscilla Powell, BSN, RN, CPN, CPHON
Nothing Lost in Translation
Priscilla Powell - BSN, RN, CPN, CPHON
A long-time patient advocate, Priscilla Powell is now sharing her knowledge and insights as a clinical instructor at Children’s National Hospital.
Earth-shattering news is best delivered in your native language. Tough diagnoses are easier to comprehend when explained by a friendly face. It was these simple premises that drew Priscilla Powell, BSN, RN, CPN, CPHON, into her current role as a clinical instructor at Children’s National Hospital.
“We see a lot of Latino kids, and a lot of kids from diverse backgrounds,” Priscilla explained. “I feel like I am a face for them. When they see me and hear that I speak their language, they trust that I can teach them and help them.”
Pricilla has been working in hematology and oncology at Children’s now for 10 years. During that time, she has served as a patient education resource, and she recently became a clinical instructor, helping to train other nurses. In both her roles, developing trust is essential—either the trust of patients or of fellow nurses.
In many of her most challenging cases, Priscilla has gone out of her way to establish communication and trust. She recalled working with a Spanish-speaking mom who was unable to read. The woman’s child had recently been diagnosed with cancer.
“I worked with the team to create a calendar for her. It had to be visual because she couldn’t read, but we wanted her to understand her child’s needs,” Priscilla explained. Priscilla and her team also entered important phone numbers into the woman’s phone, so she would know who to call if her child developed a fever or had another emergency.
Ensuring that everyone gets top-quality, compassionate care is a big motivator for Priscilla. Ultimately, parents and medical professionals have one goal that they must work toward together: healthy kids.
“It makes me so happy when I see kids go home. When they walk out the door, the happiness and excitement you see in them is amazing,” Priscilla explained.
While oncology is a difficult field, Pricilla focuses on the patients—not the disease. She said, “Oncology is not easy, but the parents and the kids give me the strength to keep doing it—to keep moving forward. The kids in particular are so resilient—so strong!”
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