From staff reports
Despite the stress, anxiety and burnout healthcare workers are experiencing on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, two nurses at Beaufort Memorial Hospital (BMH) have fearlessly stepped up to ease the burden on their coworkers and tend to their patients with kindness and humanity.
For their selfless compassion and commitment to patient care, nurses Nina McKinnon and Eliza Hendricks were recently awarded the DAISY Award for Exceptional Nurses, a prestigious national honor reserved for RNs who go the extra mile to care for patients and their families.
Hendricks, a nighttime charge nurse in the hospital’s Progressive Care Unit (PCU), was nominated for the award by Michigan-based traveling nurse Jessica Sapp, who worked at the hospital for four months in 2020 during a surge in the pandemic.
“Eliza was always ready to jump right in to help any of her nurses,” Sapp recalled in a media release. “I cared for some very sick COVID patients and she didn’t hesitate to go into their rooms even if it put her at increased risk of contracting the virus. She is a wonderful, caring person and provides extraordinary care in every situation.”
A nurse at the hospital for 10 years, Hendricks said treating COVID patients takes a lot of teamwork.
“They require more care,” she said. “I do have concerns with COVID, but those people need my help. They didn’t ask to get this disease. So, I protect myself as best I can and just do my job.”
McKinnon, a charge nurse on the Fourth Floor, also was nominated by a traveling nurse.
“Coming to a new place and not knowing anyone can be overwhelming,” said Corey Smith, an RN from Denver who worked the night shift at BMH from April to November of 2020. “Nina was welcoming from the start. Even though she had patients of her own and had extra duties as a charge nurse, she would drop everything to help you with your patient if you needed it. And she was pregnant at the time. She’s like Wonder Nurse.”
Though she only works weekends, McKinnon is just as happy to help on her days off, answering texts from nurses who have questions or concerns.
“We have less staff on nights so we have to pull together,” McKinnon said. “I try to be there for them. I have four kids, so I’m usually up.”
The two DAISY winners were presented their awards at surprise ceremonies held at the hospital. They each received a hand-carved sculpture titled “A Healer’s Touch” and a bouquet of daisies.
Created in 1999 by a Seattle couple as a way to honor the nurses who took care of their dying son, the DAISY Award has since been adopted by healthcare facilities all over the world. Anyone can nominate a Beaufort Memorial nurse for the honor. Applications are available throughout the hospital.