Kevin McEwan, Chief Nursing Officer at Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg, today presented the prestigious Daisy Award, not just to one specific nurse, but to the entire 14-member team of Madison Memorial’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The Daisy Award is an international token of recognition given to nurses who provide exceptional care. Anyone can nominate a nurse, and winners are carefully selected from among the nominees. In this case, Dr. Douglas Cottrell, the Physician NICU Director at Madison Memorial, nominated the entire NICU staff, based on their outstanding efforts during the particularly stressful months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The neonatal nurses at Madison Memorial, under the direction of NICU Clinical Manager Terri Weaver, are charged with caring for the smallest, most vulnerable patients in the hospital. Over the past year, more than 150 newborns (just over 10% of the hospital’s total births) received intensive care in the NICU.
Not many parents enter the Labor & Delivery section of the hospital thinking that their baby is going to have to spend time in the NICU. It can be traumatic for such parents when things don’t always go as planned. The reassurance that comes from nurses who are competent, helpful and empathetic goes a long way toward easing the fears and stresses that sometimes accompany childbirth.
Madison Memorial has long been a hospital which specializes, among other things, in women’s health. The well-staffed Family Maternity Center, with its Labor & Delivery section, NICU, and Mother-Baby Unit, assists in the delivery and care of approximately 1,500 babies each year. At today’s Daisy Award presentation, both Kevin McEwan and Dr. Cottrell took turns speaking to the assembled NICU staff.
“This was in the middle,” said Dr. Cottrell, addressing himself to the nurses, “of having some of the highest sustained census we’d ever had in the unit, over a period of time. A lot of overtime; a lot of working different shifts; a lot of working extra shifts; a lot of lack of family time; a lot of lack of sleep. We add in the coronavirus situation; we add in the high degree of severity of patients, and a lot of changes in management. I thought it was a lot of stress, and I was profoundly proud of you guys, and how you handled it.”