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‘The definition of a selfless nurse’

VDMC RN Deb Thielen presented the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses

— Daily Freeman-Journal photos by Anne Blankenship Nurse Deb Thielen hugs her mother, Sharon Seibert after Thielen was presented with the DAISY award at Van Diest Medical Center Wednesday afternoon. Her son, Dylan Thielen looks on.

An emergency room and infusion center nurse at Van Diest Medical Center, described as the “definition of a selfless nurse,” was named the recipient of this year’s DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses.

Deb Thielen, RN, was selected for the honor and was presented with a certificate, bouquet of daisies and a small figurine to commemorate the award. The award ceremony was held in the courtyard of Van Diest Medical Center Wednesday afternoon.

Lisa Ridge, chief executive officer of VDMC, welcomed those in attendance and offered congratulations to all of the nominees.

“It feels great to be here gathered outside on this beautiful day to honor and celebrate such wonderful individuals,” she said. “I’d like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to all of our nominees for your dedication to serving others and giving back in such a selfless way.”

Eight nurses were nominated for the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, including Thielen, who has worked for the hospital for a total of 33 years; Jacob Studer, RN, who has worked one year in the surgery department; Ashley Bubeck, LPN, who has worked at the family health clinic for two years; Tracy Henderson, RN, who has worked five years in the surgery department; Alison Keane, RN, 13 years of service in surgery; Robin Meyer, RN, surgery manager with nine years of service; Cindy Christensen, RN, seven years in the med/surg department; and Jackie Loux, RN, nine years service in the surgery department.

Deb Thielen, RN, center, was awarded the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses at Van Diest Medical Center Wednesday. She’s pictured with Chief Executive Officer Lisa Ridge and Amy McDonough, chief nursing officer.

Amy McDonough, chief nursing officer, explained that the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses was created by the family of J. Patrick Barnes as a way to say thank you to the nurses who cared for him and to thank nurses everywhere for what they do for patients.

“What started as a thank you to nurses from the Barnes family has turned into a meaningful recognition program embraced by healthcare organizations all around the world,” McDonough said.

McDonough said the past 15 months had been challenging for those in healthcare.

“The global pandemic has put stress and strain on all of us,” she said. “In the midst of growing restrictions, the need to wear extra personal protective equipment, patients being uncertain about utilizing the healthcare system, fear for their own lives and health, nurses continued to extend compassion and kindness, making extraordinary differences in the lives of patients and families.

“It is the comfort and compassion that patients remember most,” she said.

McDonough also shared some comments from Thielen’s nomination.

“This nurse is a leader for her teammates and jumps in in times of crisis. This nurse is respected by her peers, management, physicians and health care providers. This nurse willingly takes on new projects and does each task flawlessly. Even when faced with personal obstacles, this nurse dedicates herself to patients, team members, church and community,” she said.

“This nurse loves to educate others and shares the incredible knowledge she’s gained over the years,” McDonough said. “This nurse has proven time and time again that their passion is giving exceptional care to patients.”

Thielen was joined by her mother, Sharon Seibert, and son, Dylan Thielen. Organizers of the celebration sneaked the two into the ceremony to surprise Thielen.

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