Nurses Week Winners Awarded and Celebrated
By Jennifer Larson, Contributor
NursesRx celebrated two of its travel nurses by honoring their contributions to patient care and the nursing profession through the AMN Commitment to Excellence Awards during 2019’s Nurses Week.
Treasia Clark, RN, received the Commitment to Excellence Award for Innovation, while April Ruder, RN, was honored with the Commitment to Excellence for Customer Service.
And while these two nurses don’t know each other, they have something very important in common: they are dedicated to their patients. They are truly committed to the excellence that their awards highlight. And they always find ways to let their patients know how much they matter to them.
Nurses Week Winner: Commitment to Excellence Award for Innovation
Treasia Clark is all about personalizing the care that she gives to her patients.
Take her experience with diabetes. Treasia was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 16 years old. She is grateful for advances in technology that helps her do the work that she does, like the advanced-model insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor that she wears.
“It allows me to function so well that I can spend my time taking care of others and not be bogged down with management of insulin injections and glucose checks,” she said.
That pump and monitor have also opened up another opportunity for Treasia. “I share the knowledge with my diabetic patients and tell them how they can use technology to manage things better,” she said.
Treasia found another way to personalize the care that she provides. She began giving to her patients a note or card featuring a picture of her family and the message “It is my pleasure to be your nurse today. Please let me know your needs as I plan to exceed your expectations.”
“It started the day right and gave me an opportunity tell them about my family and travel nursing and my experience,” she explained. “It makes it personal, which makes it so much more comfortable for them.”
One of the first recipients was an elderly woman who was so touched that she began to cry. Another patient wrote to the director of Treasia’s unit to express how much the card meant to her. The director praised Treasia, saying the hospital was going to find a way to implement her idea in other units around the Texas hospital. (Treasia now hands out bookmarks with encouraging messages, too.)
Treasia credits her husband of 20 years and her two sisters (who are also nurses) for inspiring her. She also prays regularly to be able to reach people who need her.
“It gives me such personal satisfaction to make things better for my patients just by doing my job well,” she said.
Nurses Week Winner: Commitment to Excellence for Customer Service
No one wants to be hospitalized, especially not for a long period of time. It’s even harder for children, who don’t always understand why they can’t go back to school or go play with their friends. Meanwhile, their parents are often exhausted and overwhelmed, fearful for the person that they love best in the world.
As a pediatrics nurse, April Ruder understands that.
“And while it may not be that big of a deal to us, it’s a very big deal to those families, and I try to always remember that,” she said.
Since nurses are accustomed to the hospital environment, they’re well-positioned to acknowledge the situation for those families and find ways to reassure them.
“I try to talk to the parents on whatever level they’re at, and I try to make sure I’m explaining things to them very thoroughly but in a language that they can understand,” she said.
And she finds little but vitally important ways to connect. When a 13-year-old girl learned that she was going to have to spend an extended period of time in the San Diego hospital where April was working as a travel nurse, she was ready to help.
April had already developed a relationship with this young girl and her family, so she struck up a conversation with her. Turns out, the girl loved to play games, and she was eager to play UNO. April tracked down an UNO game and began visiting the girl during her breaks so they could play together.
“It was something that she looked forward to and that I looked forward to,” April said. “It was nice because it was a time when I wasn’t just in there to assess her or take care of her.”
The patient’s parents were delighted that April was spending some extra time to have “normal conversations” with their daughter when they weren’t able to be with her. And soon some of the hospital techs were swinging by to play a round of UNO, too. It was all helping to make the hospital experience a little less scary for that girl.
And it was for this seemingly small--but actually huge--act that a fellow nurse from that hospital nominated April for the Commitment to Excellence for Customer Service Award.