UnityPoint Health - Des Moines

UnityPoint Health - Des Moines DAISY Award Recipients

Congratulations to each of our very deserving DAISY award recipients. Their incredible commitment to our CORE values is evidenced in each of their touching nomination stories listed below.

June 2015

Myla Weaver, RN
Younker Rehabilitation (Younker 4), Iowa Methodist Medical Center

My mother was critically injured in an auto accident, which claimed the life of my father in 2014. After several weeks of care in another state, my mom was accepted into the Younker Rehab program. She spent six weeks learning to pivot, stand, slide and eventually walk. There were many good days, but there were also days she felt it would be easier to just live in a wheelchair for the remainder of her life. Myla Weaver, RN, was "gently powerful" in reminding Mom that her life was not over. They shared bits and pieces of their lives with one another. My mother is a professional violinist and was devastated over the loss of my father, and her multiple injuries - most notably to her "bowing" arm. The Rehab team worked their magic, and over time, Mom improved.

Mom developed many alliances with other patients and before discharge, Mom and the other "women of rehab" vowed to meet at a West Des Moines restaurant. I did not expect anyone would be there, but Mom had a great visit with a fellow rehab friend. As I sat nearby listening, I realized they were talking about the wonderful nurse named Myla.

Myla, thank you for helping patients who come into your life. Your power of kindness extended far beyond the walls of the hospital. It is a pleasure to have known you, and Mom sends her love.

May 2015

Connie Goodman, RN
Oncology (Powell 3)

Connie is an amazing nurse. My family had the joy of getting to know Connie last month when my stepfather's best friend was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with cancer. It is difficult to put into words how amazing Connie is and was to my family. Our friend was a very special person and someone very dear to all of us. He had a big heart and loved people. All of his life, he surrounded himself with friends and family.

After being admitted to Powell 3, he met Connie and she changed his life, and the lives of those around him. They had an instant connection. She would come in his room and you could see by the look on his face he was so happy to see her. She made him feel comfortable and put all his worries at ease. Not only did Connie go above and beyond to make him comfortable in the hospital she extended this care beyond our doors. He was discharged to hospice and Connie visited him every day. She would sit with him for hours and talk about his life and the difference he made. She would talk about his 40 years as a firefighter and remind him of all the great things he did for his community. Connie would reassure him that he had lived a good life and helped calm his anxieties about dying. She talked with him about death and assured him it was okay to go. The interactions we witnessed brought tears to our eyes and made me so proud to know that this nurse was from UnityPoint Health - Des Moines.

There are no words to describe how important Connie was to him. When he needed acceptance and comfort the most, Connie was there for him. She is an amazing, compassionate and excellent nurse that should be recognized for the great things she has done. She truly made a difference in his final days and my family's final days with our dear friend.

March 2015

Diana "Bucky" Stuart
CCU/ICU, Iowa Methodist Medical Center

Bucky, as she is known to her patients and coworkers, is a very hard working nurse that will go many steps above basic care requirements of the patient. One thing I really felt about the care she gave my son is she treated him as a "person" and not as a patient. My son was in CCU for 39 days. One morning, my wife and I walked into his room and after seeing him lying on his back hooked to many machines and lines, Bucky had him sitting up in a chair! What a shock! Her goal was to get him up once a day for at least an hour. She watched the forecast and could see a day coming where the weather was going to be 68 degrees. Her plan was to take our son out into the park. We questioned this because of all of the machines, but her reaction was, "We are going to do this!" A few days later, with two nurses, a nurse's aide and a respiratory person, we began the trip to the park. It looked like a train of equipment and people, but she made it to the park with him. We all spent 10 minutes outside with him before we began the trip back. Going above and beyond for the patient and making them feel like a person again, that's Bucky!

February 2015

Jaime Young, RN
Maternity Services, Iowa Methodist Medical Center

My wife and I came to the OB unit after learning we had just lost our son and would be forced to deliver a stillborn baby. Jaime was our nurse for two days, during which my wife was in induced labor, lasting almost 48 hours. Jaime made many appearances whenever we called, and even when we didn't, to make sure we were as comfortable as possible and we understood what was happening. She never acted as if she was rushed and always made us feel like the only people in the unit. She was one of our most compassionate supporters during this devastating time. She even sat and talked with my wife for 45 minutes, listening to her feelings and concerns and doing her best to console and help us understand. She never once took for granted the gravity of our situation. She was more than accommodating, not only to us as patients, but also to our entire family.

On the second day, the possibility of a C-section started to turn into reality. Jaime was worried it would happen during shift change. My wife and I both hoped it wouldn't as we didn't want anyone but Jaime. Little did we know, Jaime was not going to allow that to happen and stayed three hours past her shift to hold my wife's hand during her C-section. She also delivered my son to me and stayed while our family spent time with him that night. She was and is a Godsend to our family. We all agreed Jaime became a family member during her time with us. We will always look back at those days with sadness, but will be able to smile a little because of the impact she had on our lives. My wife is an RN and fully understands the gravity of this award and that it takes a special person to earn one. Jaime is a living example of everything that health care should be. - Submitted by a Patient's Family

January 2015

Kelly Muth, RN
Maternity Services

As my husband and I anticipated the birth of our second son, we were nervous about making the drive from our small town in Southwest Iowa to Des Moines. The day finally came, and we made the hour drive to Methodist Medical Center. After being assigned a room, shift change occurred, and I was greeted by my labor and delivery nurses, Kelly and Michelle. Michelle is in the Nurse Residency program and Kelly is her mentor. They were both exceptional.

During our stay, my husband and I had the great honor to have Kelly not only as a L&D nurse, but also as a postpartum nurse. As our labor and delivery nurse, she provided a sense of calm during a time which is often not serene. Additionally, she shared her expertise in labor positioning to help the overall process. Kelly's quick thinking and actions helped to safely bring our son into the world. The days following his birth, Kelly answered all our questions and provided great care. She instilled confidence in our ability to parent a newborn again through great communication and compassion.

I am grateful Kelly was assigned to us and was able to follow us throughout our stay. Kelly is exceptional and I can only hope that our next child will be surrounded by her poise, knowledge and genuine kindness upon arrival. 'I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.' -- Maya Angelou

December 2014

Morgan Brown, RN
Blank 3 and 4, Blank Children's Hospital

When I received the news that my two-year-old little girl had a massive tumor in her abdomen, my whole world started crashing down around me. As we were admitted to surgery, and then told it was non-cancerous, a shining light of hope poured down on us. However, holding my baby girl in pain being taken up to the pediatric floor was heart wrenching.

When we arrived on the floor, I was terrified. The room had a large metal crib with plastic sides and immediately I wanted to cry. Then we met Morgan, our nurse that day. She knelt down in front of me, held my hand and said, "Do you want a regular bed for her?" I said, "Yes," and she smiled, no problem at all. She was so warm, and talked soft. As we got settled, she walked us through everything -- getting our baby set up, what her days and nights would be like and who would be in the room. She showed so much care and consideration for my daughter and my family.

I asked if we could keep her all week, but unfortunately she was not on again until later. The next morning we saw Morgan. She was not our nurse that day, but she came in to check on my daughter anyway. She asked how the results came back, how our stay had been and she listened to us. She took time from her morning when she didn't have to. She truly was an amazing nurse. Morgan explained any procedure or test that was being done using her excellence in clinical expertise. She provided extraordinary service and I think she is a real role model in the nursing community. - Nominated by: Patient's family member

September 2014

Stacie Walther, RN
Blank 3 and 4, Blank Children's Hospital

I am nominating Stacie for the Daisy Award because she goes above and beyond to make our patients' stay special and fun. Stacie recently had the opportunity to meet a young man on our unit that just received a cancer diagnosis. Stacie took the time to sit down with this patient and his family to answer his questions about kids with cancer. She explained some of the things to expect and reassured him he was in a great place to receive care. The patient felt comfortable asking Stacie questions and she answered in a way he could understand.

She spent a great deal of time with him and his family talking about his interests and taking his mind off of the hospital stay. The patient and his mother told Stacie he had been enjoying watching the helicopters take off during their stay. Stacie asked the patient if he would like to go see the helipad and meet some of the LifeFlight crew. The mom told me his face lit up and was so excited to hear this was a possibility. Stacie passed this along to the day shift the next morning and arrangements were made for him and his mom to visit the helipad and see the helicopter up close. The LifeFlight team was so welcoming and offered a second visit so they could include the family members that weren't there.

This family was so happy with their care and loved talking about Stacie. They all smiled when talking about her and said what a special nurse she was. The mother said she was so impressed the staff takes time to validate the concerns of the patients directly.

Stacie went out of her way to help this patient make the best of being in the hospital and helped him have a great experience that he will always remember. Stacie is a great role model for our nursing family here on Blank 3 and 4 and deserves special recognition for her efforts. - Nominated by Jill Godby, RN, Blank Children's Hospital

August 2014

Deb Odegaard, RN
West 3 (Orthopaedics), Methodist West Hospital

I am employed in the surgical services department at Methodist West Hospital. It is my job to care for patients in the PACU. I am also responsible for their safe return to their inpatient location. I had the pleasure to care for a patient who had successfully awoken from a general anesthetic. He kept mentioning that he had a craving for a banana popsicle. I have never seen or tasted a banana-flavored popsicle, but apparently they have a cult following.

Soon, it was time to return to his room on the third floor. Dawn Odegaard, RN, was there to welcome him. After fasting all day, he was excited to finally have food and water. He again mentioned his craving, and Dawn proudly exclaimed that she had gone to the store and found banana popsicles. She brought him a whole box!

We were all overwhelmed by Dawn's simple act of kindness to truly make a difference to this patient and family. Bravo Dawn! I commend you for your kindness and thoughtfulness. You made such an impact! -Nominated by Kathy Kleen, RN, Surgery

July 2014

Audra Nelson, RN
Maternity Center, Iowa Methodist Medical Center

Nearly four months ago, my husband's and my life changed forever. That was the day we gave birth to our long-awaited son, who we knew would not stay with us on this side of heaven. God gave us many angels that day to help us deal with our loss and among them was Audra, our nurse in the maternity center. His birth wasn't the first time we had crossed paths with Audra. Two years before, she was our nurse during our daughter's birth. But this time, Audra was much more than our nurse. In that delivery room, as I gave birth to our stillborn son, she became a friend, an angel and someone who would help us in those early hours of grieving our son's loss.

During and after, Audra displayed so much compassion. She came with every call light and got me all my medications -- but those are easy jobs as a nurse. Audra went above and beyond the call of what a nurse does day in and day out and did what we are called to do on those occasions where nursing isn't learned in a text book.

Audra prayed with us, held us in our sobbing, shared in our smiles, took pictures of our family with our son and helped us make memories in those few, sweet, cherished hours with our son. She and a secretary even orchestrated the delivery of a birthday cake for him so we could sing happy birthday.

Over the last several months, I've struggled to find the words to tell the world what Audra meant to us that day. But the truth is, there aren't any. There aren't any words to tell the world how one person made a difference in the hearts of parents who were dealing with the loss of their child. There aren't words to say how Audra displayed a caring nature and how, through her actions, we could tell that she was sharing our loss and hurting with us. I am a nurse myself, and I know how hard situations can be, and I hope that I can display a fraction of the love, compassion and excellence that Audra displayed that day.

Thank you, Audra, for making a difference in our lives and for all the lives you have inevitably touched in your work. You were our angel that day, one that God knew we needed, and we were so blessed to have you as a part of our care. - Nominated by a patient

June 2014

Micha Reinhold, RN
ICU/CCU, Iowa Methodist Medical Center

I write this letter following the untimely death of my father at the young age of 62. When he was admitted, the doctors informed my mother that I should travel back to Des Moines from my home in Dallas, TX. A couple days after I arrived, his blood pressure dropped, and the doctors frantically notified us my dad needed to move to ICU. It all happened so fast and was the most terrifying feeling as we rushed that direction - toward what everyone just kept calling "the unit." We were whisked into a visitor waiting area while my dad was rushed off with strangers. We were told someone would come get us once he was situated. Maybe 30 minutes later, a sweet nurse came looking for us and informed my mom that my dad's blood pressure was up and he was just fine. In fact, she light heartedly said she had never seen anyone in such good shape in the ICU.

Little did we know, the caring, personable, relatable and just plain likeable nurse would turn into an angel for our family. Micha was her name and making patients and families feel at ease was just one of the reasons we felt fortunate to work with her. She had spunk, an appetite to help others, and the ability to show a level of compassion that very few do. After spending several weeks at the hospital, no one held a candle to Micha. She was funny. She could give my dad a hard time and be rough, but was so extremely gentle at the same time. She told my mom, "I love my job," and it showed.

Getting assigned Micha as my dad's nurse in ICU was a game changer for my dad, as well as for my family's moral. Simply put, Micha made my family comfortable. She was able to bring light to one of our darkest times. As weird as this may sound, when orders were placed to move to another floor, we were bummed. The care WE received from Micha was incredible.

I truly believe that Micha is the reason my dad lived as long as he did, which allowed me to spend some very special time bonding with him. Not only was Micha's demeanor able to bring a sense of normalcy and hope to my dad, but her calmness and ability to find humor got my mom through a painful few days.

Your hospital is beyond lucky to have Micha on their ICU nursing staff. She is such a valuable asset. It is both an honor and privilege that I write this letter nominating Micha as a recipient of the DAISY Award. No one is more deserving. If my dad were alive and well, he would definitely want to repay her. Hopefully, this award can serve as a token of appreciation from my family to Micha. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you! - Nominated by a patient's family member

May 2014

Rebekah Bergen, RN
North 5, Iowa Methodist Medical Center

I was a patient on North 5 this past fall after having surgery. I am a breast cancer survivor and was having surgery due to recurrence of my disease. Rebekah was my night nurse, and I found her to be the most kind, compassionate person I met that day. I did not receive good news, and it was a very emotional night for me and my family. Rebekah had to check on me frequently because I was a new post-op. One time, she approached my bedside and took my hand and simply said, "I know you got some news you didn't expect today and if you need to talk I am here for you." Those few words touched me in such a way that it still gives me goose bumps. She was busy and she took time to not only take excellent care of me from a physical stance, but from an emotional one. My husband and I were very touched by her sincere communication. I know Rebekah is this way with all her patients and I am honored to have had the opportunity to have met her and I am proud of how she cares for her patients at UnityPoint Health - Des Moines. - Nominated by a patient

April 2014

Lena Peloso, RN
PICU, Blank Children's Hospital

Lena has been inspirational since our first visit to PICU, when my 6-week-old daughter was admitted. My husband stayed with her, and Lena helped make him comfortable and involved in the care. She even brought in a mamaroo to soothe our daughter during difficult nights. Lena supported both of them. She explained what was going on, so he was able to tell me what was going on since I was at home.

During our second admit to PICU, Lena constantly checked in with my husband. When I was able to meet Lena, she brought in the mamaroo to comfort the twin brother since he would cry and our daughter would react negatively. Later, Lena came in and rocked our son.

She checked on us throughout that PICU stay. When we were scheduled for surgery on the Peds floor, she stopped in to visit us. Upon being readmitted to the PICU, Lena supported our family by serving as an advocate with the rest of the team. I asked if insurance would cover the RSV immunization (on our first visit) and Lena arranged for insurance to be contacted. She also gave me the support I needed when I was not sure if I should stay the first night after surgery or get some needed rest.

With this last surgery, our daughter ended up with an ileostomy. I was a bit worried about handling it, but Lena showed me how to empty it and explained all the parts involved. Lena's compassion and communication really helped our family when we needed it most. - Nominated by a patient's family

March 2014

Sheena Schaffer, RN
East 3, Iowa Lutheran Hospital

Nomination #1 - Sheena went above and beyond in her role as an RN. While I was an inpatient, I was confused.  I had so many worries, concerns and emotions. Sheena stepped up to the plate and helped me through those feelings. She shared some of her own experiences and helped me realize I was a good person in spite of my mistakes. I actually began to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Sheena took the time to talk to my husband and my best friend. They were so impressed with her insight and said they felt much more positive after visiting with her. I truly feel Sheena set the path to the road to my recovery. Everyone needs a nurse like her. She made such a difference in my life. I will always remember her as my little guardian angel. Her compassion and professionalism is off the charts!  Thanks to Sheena, my recovery is going smoothly.

Nomination #2 - I think Sheena is a true asset for Lutheran Hospital and truly believe she should win the DAISY award. Sheena's experience and knowledge was number one. Her actions were professional and she was very good with diabetic patients when giving insulin. She was the most devoted nurse on the floor.

- Nominated by two patients

February 2014

Carly Helling, RN
ICU/CCU, Iowa Methodist Medical Center

I don't normally fill these things out, but I'm compelled to write about my nurse. I have a rare blood clotting disorder and lupus. I have chronic health problems and tend to wait until the last minute to come for help. Carly immediately assured me I was in good hands, I would be taken care of and they would get to the root of the problem. When she asked questions, she repeated back my answer to make sure she understood what my issues and symptoms were. You have no idea how much that relaxed me. She was extremely comforting, knowledgeable and professional. Each time I started to freak out, she put me at ease. When you are sick like me and you are in and out of the hospital constantly, you don't get the chance or even want the chance to connect with the person taking care of you. I am blessed I was able to make that connection with Carly today. I find it hard to laugh or smile, or even smirk, but Carly had me doing all three. You can tell that she loves what she does. It takes a lot of courage to take upon the pain, anxiety, fear and anger that are zeroed in on her every day. She stills walks into your room smiling and ready to help. If I were able to leave my bed, I would get her a bouquet of flowers and a day at the spa. We all deserve those days. - Nominated by a patient

February 2014

Angela Dotson, RN
Powell 3, Iowa Methodist Medical Center

My father had end stage liver cancer and was admitted to the Powell building 3rd floor adult oncology last Wednesday. He died on Friday morning. All of the staff and doctors were thoughtful, helpful and understanding. However, one nurse Angela Dotson, went above and beyond and was a tremendous help to our family. She was comforting, emotionally connected and extremely thorough in everything she did. My mom was demanding and Angela kept in constant contact with us. I know she was busy, I know her job has to be challenging, but she never showed the strains of the job to us. Angela was very responsive to my mom's needs and when my dad passed, was there for my mom in a way that I've not experienced before by a medical professional. It's hard to explain in words, but the compassion Angela showed helped comfort my mom and I am forever grateful to her. I'm reaching out to you directly to relay the very positive experience we received in an otherwise very difficult situation. I've met many people over the years who seemed to be a perfect fit for their role, but I can honestly say, Angela is at the top of the list for me. - Nominated by a patient's family member

January 2014

Art Arnold, RN
East 3, Iowa Lutheran Hospital

My family member came into emergency with a severe case of diabetes. Art was the nurse for two or three days. He explained all facets of care extremely well and helped us learn to check blood sugar and give shots. He was very personable and professional. My wife and I felt ready and informed enough to leave the hospital. - Submitted by: Family Member

I was extremely impressed with one particular nurse. Art sat with my wife and answered her questions. He also could see she was anxious and took the time to calm her. He was on top of the problems I was having and persisted in getting to the bottom of them and following through. - Submitted by: a patient