Heroes of West Texas Spotlight: Cynthia Grissman
Cynthia Grissman: Nurse Manager on CICU Unit (Cardiac Intensive Care Unit)
Cynthia has been in this position over 10 years. She began her career at Covenant in 1982 as a biomed tech, then as an environmental tech for several years and decided to go to nursing school.
“We were chosen to become the COVID ICU in the very beginning of the pandemic. There was so much unknown and so much fear in our nurses because they did not know what to expect or how to handle it. My husband is a firefighter, so we both live to do these things. It didn’t affect me personally at home it was more in relation to my team and how I could help them. I would show up and just help ease their fears and try to tell them, “You’ve got this. This is what we do.” When your nurses are fearful it’s hard to see that. You can see the weariness, the tiredness, and the defeat and you can’t fix that for them. As time went on, they got very comfortable with it. They knew this was a challenge we had to take on.
My educator and I wanted to do something, so we started a research project for mindfulness, and we sent the nurses to classes to educate them about self-care and some meditation techniques. Then we got with Covenant Health Foundation and did our rest and relaxation room. It was a big hit. They love being able to take a break when they can. Burnout is something that affects our nurses, so those things helped.
Watching my team come together and really supporting each other has helped me a lot. Now that things are getting better, their stresses are finally coming down. They can breathe again and are being reminded of how to work when they aren’t in survival mode. For me it’s just rewarding to be able to help my nurses and support them.
If we ever have to do something like the pandemic again, we know we can do it. We’re ready. That gives my nurses more confidence. They learned to believe in themselves, and they took that challenge and ran with it.”