When Sheri Ardini, RN, saw a 19-year-old patient at University Hospital and his sister overwhelmed and far away from home, she quickly stepped in to ease their nerves.
“My favorite part of my job is making people at ease,” said Ardini, who has worked at MU Health Care for 24 years. “When I met Max and Cassidy, there were so many coincidences that I had to take it as a sign I was supposed to be their surrogate mom.”
Max Goldner and Cassidy Goldner, 22, attend college at the University of Missouri in Columbia, more than 1,300 miles from their home in Duxbury, Massachusetts. On Feb. 1, Max became violently ill and quickly learned that he needed emergency surgery to have his appendix removed. Sheri soon welcomed them at University Hospital.
“Mrs. Ardini is very nice,” Max Goldner said. “I liked how she stayed with us even after she finished her shift. She made my sister and me feel more comfortable. She made the process feel more enjoyable — as enjoyable as a hospital stay can be.”
The coincidences Ardini shared with the Goldner siblings started with their hometown and didn’t end there. Ardini grew up in a neighboring town in Massachusetts. Ardini’s husband and Cassidy, who transferred to MU, both attended the same college on the east coast. Ardini’s son, C.J., is also a sophomore at MU like Max. Both are members of the Theta Chi fraternity.
“Sheri took it upon herself to be their ‘mother’ since their own mother was in Boston,” said Julie Brown, RN, a nurse at University Hospital. “Sheri stayed with the sister during her brother’s surgery, checked on the patient in the recovery room and communicated to the sister about the brother’s condition while he recovered.”
Inspired by the compassion she witnessed, Brown nominated Ardini for a DAISY Award for nursing excellence. Ardini’s coworkers clapped and cheered as she was surprised with the award at an impromptu ceremony at University Hospital on April 14.
Deb Pasch, RN, executive director of University Hospital and chief nurse executive for MU Health Care, understands the impact nurses make.
“The role of the nursing profession is to be present,” Pasch said. “The nurse is the individual who is readily available, quickly called upon and responds, and advocates for the patient and the family on the needs observed, assessed or heard. Each health care profession certainly has an integral role in the caring for the members of our community. Nurses, however, enjoy the touch points and seeing the difference they make in the lives of others.”
The DAISY Award’s history is rooted in patient appreciation. The family of J. Patrick Barnes, who were impressed with the clinical skills and compassion of the nurses who cared for Patrick, created this international award to thank nurses everywhere. Patrick died of an auto-immune disease at the age of 33. DAISY is an acronym for “diseases attacking the immune system.
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Years of Excellence
MU Health Care is home to some of the best nurses in the state, including nine nurses who received the March of Dimes’ Nurse of the Year Award since the honor was introduced in 2012.
“We celebrate nurses who inspire and go above and beyond to bring about change,” said Alyssa Wolf, community director for the St. Louis Division of the Missouri chapter of the March of Dimes. “Finalists and winners represent this elite group of nursing professionals, through their tireless dedication, compassion, commitment and kindness.”
Nurses can be nominated in 19 categories. The MU Health Care nurses honored during the previous four years are:
Top row, from left
- Heather Dennis, RN, 2015 Pediatric Nurse of the Year
- Helen Jankowski, RN-BC, 2015 Clinical Informatics Nurse of the Year
- Jean Sword, RN, 2014 Surgical Services Nurse of the Year
- Sue Scott, RN, PhD, 2014 Infection Control and Quality Risk Management Nurse of the Year
- Lori Lampe, RN, 2014 Pediatric Nurse of the Year
- Jennifer Hanford, RNC, 2013 Critical Care Nurse of the Year
- Gregory Alexander, RN, PhD, 2013 Clinical Informatics Nurse of the Year
- Sarah Cammack, RNC, 2013 Critical Care Nurse of the Year
- Tina Bloom, RN, PhD, 2012 Women’s Health Nurse of the Year