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Sarah Lee, RN, exemplifies great patient care

This year’s Kaiser Permanente Nurses Week theme was “Leading with Purpose” — and one person who demonstrates this theme in her everyday work is Sarah Lee, RN. A staff nurse for the Ambulatory Specialty Float Pool at the Kaiser Permanente Bellevue Medical Center, Lee provides nursing care for the general surgery clinic and the obstetrics-gynecology department.

As an international board-certified lactation consultant, Lee helps many young parents in Washington with their lactation needs. In this role, she helped change the approach to treating milk blebs (blocked nipple pores) for our members. She recognized a need for change when one of her patients received routine medical care but still experienced problems.

Recognizing the limitations of basic treatments, and supported by Kaiser Permanente’s speak-up culture, Lee dug into new research on inflammation in the breast. Merely opening the blocked pore can fail to address underlying inflammation. She identified that treatments with needles, deep massage, or heating pads have the potential to aggravate inflammation and introduce infection.

In response, Lee worked closely with the member’s personal doctor, advocated for the use of anti-inflammatory techniques, and ensured the patient received prescription-strength steroid cream therapy to reduce inflammation.

Now Lee is in the process of sharing these treatment methods with all lactation nurses across the Washington area to highlight useful alternatives for basic care for milk blebs. And she enjoys speaking up and being part of the solution.

“A little curiosity and the desire to never stop learning keeps me contributing,” Lee says. “I find things outside my daily role. I do that by networking with other people. It helps me learn about things that don’t even impact me.”

“I like thinking in new ways,” she adds. “It makes me want to learn more and ask questions. If we can all share with each other, there are things each of us can learn from.”

Lee exemplifies what it means to be a Kaiser Permanente nurse — delivering compassionate, evidence-based care in partnership with leaders, physicians, and other colleagues on the care team. It means working within an environment of integrity, trust, and collaboration. We are pleased to honor Sarah Lee and all Kaiser Permanente Washington nurses.

Nurses Week, celebrated May 6 to 10, is an opportunity to recognize Kaiser Permanente Washington’s nearly 1,800 advanced registered nurse practitioners, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and midwives — along with the 74,000 nurses across Kaiser Permanente. Our nurses advance the nursing profession, transform care, and improve the health of our members, patients, and communities.

All plans offered and underwritten by Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington

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