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The DAISY team award winners, from left, Brylle de la Cruz, RN; Donna Gunther, RN; Ruth Rudnick, RN, director of Renal Dialysis; Paula Seaman, MSN, DA, RN, director of Quality, Safety, Value, and Education; Pamela Duchene, PhD, APRN, vice president for Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer; and Tammie Bruso, RN

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BENNINGTON — The Renal Dialysis team at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), was the recipient of the DAISY Team Award for Extraordinary Nurses in September. This was the first time SVMC has honored a team with a DAISY award.

“Renal nurses see their patients three times a week and so they have an opportunity to make an extraordinary impact,” said Pamela Duchene, PhD, APRN, SVHC’s chief nursing officer and vice president for Patient Care Services. “The Renal nurses at SVMC translate every bit of that time into quality interactions. That makes a big positive difference in the lives of their patients.”

Duchene presented the award during a surprise presentation in the Renal Dialysis Unit at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC).

The group was nominated by a patient who had been under their care for two years. The nomination included descriptions of each of the nurses’ positive qualities, including knowledge, compassion, good humor, and moral integrity. What was most touching was how the nurses shared their lives with the patient, in addition to their medical skills.

The patient relayed a story within the nomination. Before COVID, one of the nurse’s young children stopped by the unit with his other parent for a quick hello. The toddler was just beginning to learn to blow kisses, and he blew his first kiss to the patient.

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“I will never forget it,” the patient wrote.

“We are so honored to become important people in patients’ lives and honored as they become important to us,” said Ruth Rudnick, RN, the department’s director. “These emotional ties are part of what makes our jobs so fun and rewarding.”

The Renal Dialysis Department is made up of 17 staff members. Together, they offer dialysis care to approximately 45 patients over 6 days each week. The unit holds has earned both a deficiency-free survey and a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In addition, 100 percent of the department’s registered nurses hold a bachelor’s degree and are certified in their specialty.

The DAISY Award is part of a national merit-based recognition program established by the DAISY Foundation. It celebrates nurses’ education, training, and skill. Nominations can be submitted by patients, families, physicians, and colleagues. All nominations are blinded, so that they are anonymous before being reviewed by a selection committee. One nurse is then chosen as the DAISY Award winner. DAISY Awards are presented on a regular basis, usually bi-monthly or quarterly.


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