From left: Shelly Rust, director of medical surgical; Lauren Conaway, RN, Daisy award winner; and Chris Strickland, CEO. Credit: (Submitted photo)

Texas County Memorial Hospital celebrated the work of its 97 nurses May 2-6 during National Nurses Week.

It is celebrated annually at TCMH.  Nurses work in many departments of the hospital – medical, obstetrics, emergency room, surgery, intensive care, home health, hospice and clinics.

“I want to thank all of our nurses for everything that they do every day,” Courtney Owens, TCMH director of nursing, said.

The Scrubs on Site from Holden came to TCMH to allow nurses and other employees the opportunity to shop for uniforms during the day on Monday. 

On Tuesday and Wednesday the TCMH nurse managers held a “skills lab” training session for all TCMH licensed practical nurses (LPN) and registered nurses (RN).  The skills lab included 14 hands-on training activities such as medication test, crash cart, transfusions, restraints, fire safety, stroke/STEMI, patient safety, infection control hand washing and more.

“We had very good participation from our nurses,” Owens noted. “92 percent of our nurses completed the skills lab.”

The nurse managers at TCMH hold the annual skills lab training annually during the week to help nurses keep up with in-house educational needs.

Culminating the week, a luncheon and ceremony were held Friday, May 6, for all nurses.

TCMH nurses Heather Busby, med-surg RN; Lauren Conaway, med-surg RN; Jeff Hawkins, emergency RN; MaKenzie Richards, Houston Clinic LPN; April Crites, Hospice/Home Health RN; Shelby Creek, Hospice/Home Health RN; Denise Coonts, Mountain Grove Clinic LPN; and Kristel Barton, Obstetrics RN; were all nominated for the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Award.  Each was honored with special recognition and a DAISY pin.

“All the nominees represent nurses that are recognized as ‘outstanding nurses,’ ” Owens explained. “The DAISY Award is the highest recognition award for a RN and LPN at TCMH.”

The DAISY Award is part of the non-profit DAISY Foundation of Glen Ellen, Calif. The foundation was established by the family of J. Patrick Barnes, who died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease. 

The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill and hospitalized inspired the DAISY Award as a way of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families. The DAISY Award recipient must be nominated for a specific act of extraordinary care that was experienced by the person making the nomination. 

“We have a lot of great nurses at TCMH, and we want to recognize the meaningful impact they have on the lives of so many people,” Angela Cox, RN in obstetrics and Daisy coordinator, said.

From the nominees, Lauren Conaway of Salem was selected as the recipient of the spring award. Conaway has worked at TCMH for three years.   

Chris Strickland, chief executive officer at TCMH, presented the award to Conaway.

“I appreciate those that submitted the nominations and recognized the good acts of our TCMH nurses that were above and beyond.” Strickland said.

Conaway received the DAISY Award from the nomination she received from a patient’s daughter. 

The patient’s daughter explained how her dad was in the hospital recently.  She said she didn’t think her dad would be alive today if it wouldn’t been for Lauren.  She said Lauren advocated for him, calmed her nerves, prayed with her and just listened to her cry. 

The patient’s daughter further explained that Lauren treated her dad like her own family and went above and beyond to provide him with exceptional care. She said they were blessed to have Lauren for three of the seven days of her father’s inpatient stay, and that she was an absolute God send to her father and the family.

“Lauren is an outstanding and compassionate nurse who will do whatever it takes to get patients the care they need,” Owens said. “She is very deserving of this award.”

Conaway received a special DAISY Award pin; a recognition certificate, a bouquet of fresh flowers, and a hand-carved stone sculpture called “A Healer’s Touch.” 

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