Beaufort Memorial RNs honored with DAISY Award

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Margo Wehrenberg and Nicole Viskovich. Photo by Paul Nurnberg.

After 53 years of marriage, Ron and Wanda Cady found themselves admitted to Beaufort Memorial Hospital on the very same day earlier this spring.

Critically ill and deteriorating quickly, Ron was moved to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on the second floor. His wife, suffering from less-serious health issues, was taken to the fifth floor Medical-Surgical-Oncology unit.

Thanks to a pair of compassionate nurses determined to reunite the couple, the Cadys shared one final day together before Ron passed away. Lying side by side in hospital beds, they held hands as Ron took his final breath.

Last week, hospital administrators and coworkers surprised nurses Margo Wehrenberg and Nicole Viskovich with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, a national tribute reserved for RNs who go the extra mile to care for patients and their families.

For Wehrenberg, it was the second time she has been honored with the prestigious award. The veteran nurse, who retired in 1997 only to return to the profession 17 years later, received her first DAISY in 2016 for the care she showed to a dying patient.

“I want to be there for my patients,” Wehrenberg said. “It fulfills me.”

Viskovich, on the other hand, is just three years into her career as an ICU nurse.

“I was speechless,” she said after receiving the award. “I am very grateful and honored to receive a DAISY for doing what I love to do.”

The pair came up with a plan to bring the couple together after Ron’s doctor came into Wanda’s hospital room and told her that her 89-year-old husband was gravely ill and unlikely to live much longer.

After obtaining a physician’s order that would allow Wanda to visit Ron in the ICU, Wehrenberg asked Viskovich if she could bring her patient down in a wheelchair to spend time with her husband.

Viskovich agreed and Wehrenberg promised to be available to check on Mrs. Cady and give her any medications she needed.

As the hours passed, it was evident that the patient was growing weak sitting in the wheelchair. Viskovich and her charge nurse brought in another hospital bed for Wanda, a decision Wehrenberg supported.

“Fortunately, the ICU was renovated a couple of years ago and the rooms now have enough space to squeeze in two beds side by side,” Viskovich said. “It was crowded, but I left myself wiggle room to get around his bed if I needed to get to the IV.”

Having the couple in the same room also made it easier for their children, who had gathered at the hospital to be with their dying father. Viskovich even brought in a comfort cart with snacks and beverages so they wouldn’t have to leave his bedside.

After Ron passed away, Wehrenberg moved Wanda to a 5T suite where the family would have more room to be together and grieve.

“These two nurses demonstrated incredible teamwork,” said 5T nursing director Nancy Fu, who nominated the pair for the DAISY Award. “It was a beautiful act of compassion to find a way for this couple to be together at the end of his life.”

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