NIHD recognizes National Nurses Week with awards ceremony

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All the nurse nominees put forward for the 2023 DAISY honor gathered to congratulate Knight and Kruse. From left, Cindy Knight (Emergency), Devon Delattre (Acute-Subacute), Lynn Kruse (Specialty Clinic), Ellen Bartlett (Rural Health Clinic), Reneé Mattovich (House Supervisor), and Joel Nicholson (Acute-Subacute). Photo by Barbara Laughon/Northern Inyo Healthcare District

Northern Inyo Healthcare District paused Tuesday to recognize its nurses’ extraordinary care and compassion with an abbreviated celebration of National Nurses Week. Nursing leaders presented three awards to honor nurses who went above-and-beyond for their patients or co-workers.

Lynn Kruse, a nurse in NIHD’s Specialty Clinic, received the prestigious DAISY Award, an international recognition that honors and celebrates nurses’ skillful and compassionate care. To receive the DAISY Award, patients, patient families or colleagues nominate nurses who they feel provide extraordinary care. For nurses working at NIHD, a two-tiered selection committee reviews nominations and selects one DAISY Award winner annually.

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Lynn Kruse, 2023 NIHD DAISY Award honoree. Photo by Barbara Laughon/Northern Inyo Healthcare District

Kruse’s NIHD colleague, Michelle Garcia, nominated Kruse for the DAISY Award after witnessing the care provided to Garcia’s mother, Josefina Carrillo, following a cancer diagnosis.

In her nomination, Garcia wrote of the positivity and joy her mother brings to their family and friends, and how overwhelming the fear of possibly losing her was. Garcia, versed in the healthcare system, wrote of the daunting feelings and uncertainty that clouded their family for weeks. Fear persisted until the first appointment when they met Kruse.

“Though she wore a mask, I could feel her radiating smile,” Garcia wrote. “She looks to my mom and says, ‘Hi, I am Lynn, your nurse. It is so nice to meet you!’ With a warm embrace, she lightly touches my mother’s shoulder. At that moment, before care was even discussed, I recognized compassion, kindness, and warmth in Lynn. She cared about this patient, my mother, not because it was her job but because she cared. I knew at that moment that she spoke my mother’s language.”

Garcia continued saying her mother primarily speaks Spanish, often smiling, nodding, and keeping her words short because “communicating with someone who doesn’t fully understand her is hard.”

“We oftentimes oversee the struggles of a non-English speaker and may not recognize that we stop interacting with them as a person,” Garcia wrote. “But not Lynn. With every visit, phone call, and interaction, her focus has been my mother. Lynn naturally bonded with my mother. Her dedication to ensuring she was taken care of, informed about her care through the unspoken language of kindness (shined). Her words, charisma, and actions exemplify a nurse worthy of recognition for her outstanding care.”

Garcia concluded on her family’s behalf, “In simple words, thank you, Lynn. Thank you for your kindness and compassion towards my mother in one of the scariest times of her life. You’ve demonstrated dedication and admiration for your patients, the care you deliver, and how you make others feel.”

Kruse received the DAISY Award sculpture, “The Healer’s Touch,” and other DAISY gifts. Yet, the most visibly touching gift was the bouquet of yellow flowers presented by the Garcia family.

Also nominated for the DAISY Award were Cindy Knight (Emergency), Devon Delattre (Acute-Subacute), Ellen Bartlett (Rural Health Clinic), Renee Mattovich (House Supervisor), and Joel Nicholson (Acute-Subacute).

Other awards were the NIHD Mission and Spirit Award presented to Emergency Department nurse Cindy Knight. The Mission and Spirit Award goes to the nurse who best exemplifies the mission and core values of NIHD.

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Cindy Knight of the Emergency Department received the Mission & Spirit Award. Photo by Barbara Laughon/Northern Inyo Healthcare District

In her nomination for the award, it was noted that Knight, while practicing the NIHD mission of “one team, one goal, your health,” is much more than one simple example. “Cindy is a mentor to everyone at NIHD. She challenges us to use clinical reasoning and critical thinking while delivering high-quality patient care. She encourages us to practice with integrity, resiliency, and confidence in our abilities.”

Also nominated for this award were Internal Medicine’s Carla Mendoza and Rural Health Clinic’s Ellen Bartlett.

Emergency Department nurse Melissa Galvan received the “Rookie of the Year” honor. Rookie of the Year is a nurse either new to the profession or new to a specialty area that has demonstrated a dedication to learning, teamwork, and overall professionalism.

In nominating her for the award, Galvan’s colleague wrote, “Melissa is always a team player, motivated to learn, and communicates efficiently with patients and staff. She has a strong ability to look at the big picture as well as the task at hand. Above all, she is a genuinely kind person. Without fail, she gives high-quality, compassionate care to all patients, especially the most challenging ones, and does it with such grace and always a smile on her face.”

Galvan received the 2023 “NIHD Rookie of the Year” football jersey with the award title on the front and her name on the back.

(From Northern Inyo Healthcare District)

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