Cindy French, NP, Awarded Compassionate Caregiver of the Year
Nurse practitioner recognized for making 'the unbearable bearable'
WORCESTER - Cynthia T. French of Boylston was a 19-year-old nurse navigating the intensive care unit.
A new graduate, she
was proud of the skills she
brought to her
patients, particularly the people with severe lung and neuromuscular disease who needed respirators to breathe.
Cindy T. French, nurse practitioner at UMass Memorial Medical Center, was honored with the Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award.
"I was out there diligently caring for IVs and tubes and taking their blood pressures," she
Caring for the whole patient and by extension their families is a cornerstone of the compassion for which Ms. French
was honored last week with the Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award.
Now a nurse practitioner who coordinates critical care operations at UMass Memorial Medical Center and serves as assistant editor for the medical journal Chest, Ms. French still cares for patients in the hospital's Lung and Allergy Center.
"The population of patients I care for is not a population that someone who cares would ever walk away from," she
patients have disabling shortness of breath or coughs so bad they interfere with daily life.
They have emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (better known as COPD) or lung cancer or chronic asthma.
They come to the outpatient clinic for years as they manage their disease, building relationships with their caregivers.
treats all of her patients just like they were her own family," said Dr. Richard S. Irwin, chair of critical care at UMass Memorial
and professor of medicine and nursing at University of Massachusetts Medical School
was always his nurse," his wife, Mary Skinner, said last week about her husband, who died last year at age 67.
met him, hanging over his
car door, and ushered him into the hospital.
Fifteen minutes later, he
is able to work with patients and let them know she
feels their pain, but not just that.
also leaves them with the impression that she
will do something about it," he
"We never let go of hope," Ms. French
"We can't always cure the illness but my own definition of hope is the spiritual grace that allows us to help our patients find the strength to face the next day and whatever it may bring."
also has a definition for compassion.