100 Great Iowa Nurses
We have all met at least one outstanding nurse whose courage, competence, and commitment to patients and the nursing profession stands out above all others. May 4, 2014, marked the 10th annual celebration of Iowa’s Great Nurses. The 2014 honorees gathered at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines with more than 1,000 family members, friends, and colleagues to be recognized for outstanding careers and achievements. The keynote address was given by Dr. Melanie Dreher, former University of Iowa College of Nursing Dean and creator of the 100 Great Iowa Nurses program.
She is the voice for children and trauma victims. She is passionate about their care and their outcomes, and this passion brings about a positive change in not only her own patients, but also in the care of all those she comes in contact with.
She is a constant mentor for kindness and compassion. She underplays her role in the end of life for patients. She is a breath of fresh air; her presence allows everyone involved to take a deep breath and relax. Her compassion is natural, and she educates staff and physicians on how to approach families and patients with compassion.
Her most significant contribution has been shaping the end-of-life journey for hundreds of people. She makes certain that people have understandable healthcare information to make decisions. Before health literacy received so much attention, she assured that people understood what was being explained.
One day, after feeling overwhelmed by all the details that must be addressed in ICU, I felt very unrecognized and unappreciated. As I told her about my feelings, I realized nobody ever thanks her. She does work for the entire hospital, and it’s hard work. She is the person who reminds people to chart more. She asks the tough questions of staff. When she finds a problem, people don’t thank her or appreciate her for addressing it, but she continues on with a positive attitude, glowing with pride at the great work being done in the ICU. That day, when I sat there talking to her, she smiled with empathy. She listened, not once pointing out that I get thank yous from staff, and I get recognized when I stay on a busy day or come in on my vacation. Words aren’t enough for all she does.
She brings wise counsel, unmatched character, a seemingly endless catalog of resources for families and survivors, and an indomitable spirit to give hope when there seems to be none.
We tragically lost our flight team in an accident: a nurse, a paramedic, and the pilot. The director of the flight program showed such courage and strength during this difficult time. She was at the hospital around the clock addressing the needs of the other flight nurses and paramedics. She attended every funeral and memorial service, and did it with great dignity and grace. She was a rock during this difficult time.