DAISY Award celebrates a special nurse
Surgical Care nurse Mary Kelly, RN, has been selected as the 6th recipient of the Daisy Award at Advocate Sherman Hospital. The DAISY Award is a nationwide program that rewards and celebrates extraordinary bedside nurses who consistently model excellence. Mary was nominated for the high level of care and compassion she provides her patients and their families every day.
Mary started her career at Sherman in the mailroom as a temporary associate back in 1977. From there, she worked in many different roles, including an X-ray technician assistant and nursing assistant in Post-Partum. She credits the late Dr. George Scaravelli for inspiring her to enter the nursing field. “He challenged me to think about becoming a nurse and was a tremendous influence,” she explains. With the help of a scholarship from Sherman, Mary completed nursing school in 1983 while she was pregnant with her first daughter.
Today, Mary is a nurse in Surgical Care 5A where she cares for patients who have recently underwent surgery. “After patients come out of recovery, they come to our floor,” Mary says. “I encounter many patients who have had bowel, gall bladder, appendix and thyroid surgery as well as surgery for breast cancer.” She is passionate about patient education and helps to ensure patients understand their home care instructions and become more knowledgeable on the anatomy of their own body.
As a nursing preceptor, Mary serves as a role model and educator for nursing students. “In her preceptor role, I receive numerous comments on how caring Mary is toward her patients and the amount of education she provides to her patients each and every time she enters the room,” says Donna Kruse, RN, MS, CCRN-CMC-CSC, Clinical Educator/Magnet Program Director at Advocate Sherman Hospital. “Nursing students learn a wealth of information from her teaching and patience with them.”
Recently, Mary even inspired one of her patients, continually hospitalized due to a chronic illness, to stay in school and become a nurse. “This patient was two years into her nursing program at Chamberlain University and due to her multiple hospitalizations had decided not to continue her dream to become a nurse,” Kruse says. “That all changed when she met Mary.” As a result of Mary’s love of the nursing profession and encouragement, this young woman was inspired to continue with her studies.
Mary exemplifies patient-centered care and what it means to be a DAISY recipient. For example, she often sits down on the bed and holds the hands of patients who need comforted and will give them a hug when they are discharged. “My patients are always my priority,” Mary says. “That’s the compassionate aspect of nursing that I want nursing students to understand. This is a person going through something that we might see every day as nurses, but they are going through it for the first time.”
With her kindness, compassion and outstanding care, Mary is truly making a difference in the lives of Sherman’s patients. “I don’t see nursing as simply a job, I really feel like it’s my calling. My birthday and National Nurses Day fall on the same day, so maybe this was meant to be from the beginning,” she says with a smile.
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