Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

Washakie Medical Center nurse receives DAISY Award

WORLAND – Banner Health Washakie Medical Center, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Jaime Mertz received the first annual DAISY Award to be awarded at the hospital, Friday, May 10, in recognition of her skillful, compassionate care and going above and beyond for her patients.

When asked for comments, Mertz said that she was only doing her job.

Mertz learned that she was the DAISY Award honoree during a ceremony in the Meadowlark conference room of the hospital. During the ceremony, Mertz received the DAISY Award certificate, a bouquet of daisies, reduced tuition at Chamberlin University, if she wants to further her education; a triple daisy pin and the Healer's Touch sculpture.

The Healer's Touch sculpture is from Zimbabwe and hand-crafted by a Shona artist. According to the DAISY Foundation website, "These serpentine stone sculptures are hand-carved for us by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe. The sculptures are especially meaningful because of the profound respect the Shona people pay their traditional healers. Shona healers are affectionately regarded as treasures by those they care for, and the well-being and safety of the healer is of community-wide importance. This describes exactly how we and our Partners feel about nurses!"

DAISY nurses all share the following traits, according to the DAISY Foundation website:

- Have assessment skills so acute that they spot the tiny changes in the patient's symptoms or behavior that monitors cannot detect, often leading to life saving action.

- Are always calm, focused, communicative and comforting when patients and families are most upset.

- Are often nominated by the new graduates they precept. The young registered nurses know they are being trained by a nurse who leads by example and exemplifies who a nurse truly is: highly skilled clinician, a true patient advocate, a dedicated mentor, and insightful educator and a sensitive caregiver.

- Are consummate team players and their colleagues feel working with them is a "gift."

- Don't "pass the buck." They are decisive and involved, doing what is required and then some, often working outside their comfort zone when a situation necessitates.

- Know that "the little things" can make a big difference in their patients' care and outcomes.

- Not only listen with their ears but with their hearts, as well.

- Are persistent when their well-honed judgement speaks to them, they act persuasively even when a patient says, "No, I'm fine," or a physician disagrees.

- Are not nurses only when they are on duty, they are nurses in the supermarkets, in their health care organization parking lots, in restaurants at dinner with their families, on airplanes, on the highway driving home from work – intervening and caring for total strangers in trouble.

- Meet the needs of their patients by not only providing excellent nursing care but also paying close attention to the emotional and psychological needs of their patients. They treat each patient as a human being who has a personality, a history, a time of good health and strength, value and dignity.

- Are entrusted with the lives and care of children and the comfort and kindness these nurses show help their parents get through their worst nightmare; a child seriously ill or injured.

- Know that taking the time for compassionate communication can help a family make a good decision for their loved one.

- On their own time, with their own money, do special things for their patients' children, for patients who are indigent, for families who are desperate.

- Don't let their personal situations interfere with their ability to deliver professional, skillful, compassionate care, even when they are dealing with their own tragedies.

- Are the nurses about who patients have written to health care organization administrators, "Every day she/he was my nurses was a "good day."

The DAISY Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, established in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, by members of his family to honor the efforts of nurses, the "unsung heroes." DAISY is an acronym for diseases attacking the immune system.

"We were there to see the clinical skill that dealt with his very complex medical situation, the fast thinking of nurses who saved his life more than once, and that nursing excellence that took years to hone to the best of the profession. But frankly, as a patient family, we rather expected that Pat would have great clinical care. That was why he was in the hospital. What we did not expect was the way his nurses delivered that care - the kindness and compassion they gave Pat and all of us in his family every day. We were awed by the way the nurses touched him and spoke with him, even when he was on a ventilator and totally sedated. The way they informed and educated us eased our minds. They truly helped us through the darkest hours of our lives, with soft voices of hope and strong loving hugs that to this day, we still feel," Patrick's father Mark Barnes stated on the foundation's website.

Mertz was nominated by Worland residents Lyle and Shelley Spence for going above and beyond to make sure Lyle was OK, even calling his home days after he was discharged to make sure he was doing OK. The Spence's sent a letter to the hospital stating how wonderful, thoughtful and caring Mertz is.

DAISY Award nominees can be nominated by anyone who wishes to nominate them either by contacting the hospital or the DAISY Foundation.

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