Though we did not expect the strong reaction to our request for readers’ nominations about special nurses who have touched their lives, the fact that many of these wonderful caregivers work in the obstetrics department is not surprising. But we also had thanks from patients who were extremely well-cared for in other places like the emergency room.
Congratulations to all the nurses in Northwest Indiana on your special week and thanks to those healthy and happy patients and their friends and family who value you.
ANGELA BURSAC ON NURSE KRISTEN DZUROVICK: Helen Keller once said, "When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another." Through the rain and the storms, the sunshine and the rainbows, we often lose track of what each day may bring and how our actions may impact the life of another. While I'd love to say that I lived daily with that in mind, the truth is that it wasn't until 2013 that someone else impacted my life, and the life of my family in an unforgettable and beyond selfless way. Here is my story:
My name is Angela Bursac and I am 27 years old. In early 2013, my husband and I were blessed to find out that we were expecting a baby girl, our first child. I was originally due in September, however, plans changed. On June 25th, 2013, I was admitted into Community Hospital in Munster due to my water breaking. While I may not be able to tell you what happened the moment I walked frantically into the emergency room, or about the moments leading up to the two IV's in my arms and the tests run nonstop, I can tell you about a nurse named Kristen Dzurovcik who works in the Labor and Delivery Unit. Kristen was my admitting nurse that night, and she was my guiding light for the next month and half. I was admitted into the hospital that night and expected to stay until I delivered Elliana, our daughter. While there, they were able to stop my contractions and delay delivery. We took things day by day; some days I felt as strong as a super hero, while other days I felt as weak as an ant. Through every tear, smile, question, or concern, Kristen was there. Kristen visited me every day that she worked. She called nearly every day that she was off to check on me with the other nurses. She brought me books, movies, and even home-cooked food. She always had my back when it felt like the world was against me. She was there when my husband worked late, and she was there when I needed that extra hug to keep me encouraged that we would all be okay. In the six weeks that I was on bed rest at Community, Kristen made sure I was taken well care of. She knew what was important to us, and made sure to remind me that those important things and people were the reasons I would make it through okay.
On August 5th, 2013, at 34 weeks, I was induced. Kristen was scheduled off that day and ended up surprising me by making sure to come in to work to be there for me. She was my biggest cheerleader during delivery, and stayed four hours past her shift to make sure to give me one last hug as I left her department and entered post-partum. Elliana had to stay in the NICU for almost four weeks after she was born. Kristen made frequent trips to see her and always kept in close contact with us. The last day I had to say goodbye was the most bittersweet day of my life. While we were beyond blessed to be taking home our sweet, healthy baby girl, we were leaving behind a piece of each of our hearts by saying goodbye to Kristen.
While I am sure she hears it all of the time that she is incredible, I would love for others to know just how incredible she is. As Helen Keller once said, "When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another." Kristen defines everything about what Keller was saying and while she may have her bad days, and her good, her rain, and her storms, she will always be the rainbow in our hearts.
KAREN DOORN ON TAYLOR MOORE: I nominate Taylor Moore, my labor and delivery nurse at Porter Regional. She was helpful, attentive, personable, and funny and made my extended stay and delivery as pleasant as it could have been!
KIM SPLANT ON LORA BRAND: There is a very special nurse, Lora Brand, at Community Hospital that works in the NICU. She was my son’s, Nathan Splant, nurse for 3-1/2 months while in the NICU. Her shift was from 3 to 11 p.m. and she will always hold a very special place in our hearts. We cannot thank her enough for her love, support and compassion of being a nurse/mother/professional. The smallest things in life make the biggest impact and our fondest memory is every night she would read to him, “Three Little Monkey’s” and keep a very close watch over him throughout his time at the hospital. Nurses are very special people, but Laura touched our lives in more ways than one and helped us through a most difficult time. Thank you Laura for being more than just a nurse.
SERENA DURR-JONES ON MELINDA JONES: Melinda Jones- Saah is an RN at Chicago Heart and Vascular Consultants Ltd. in Munster and a facilitator, a student in the sense, who's always learning, a mediator, and organizer. Above all she has a love and caring side for people. She's honest and most importantly she's compassionate. She serves as a good partner with her patients and families, not with goals of making them dependent but by fostering empowerment. It's not what she does to them or with them but to strengthen them through the healing process. Melinda is one who constantly goes above and beyond without hesitation. Last but not least I say Melinda exemplifies excellent skills as a nurse with sharp intellect, self-knowledge and empathy. Melinda you rock!!!
SHELINDA JONES ON MELINDA JONES: Not only is Melinda Jones an amazing mother, she is an exceptionally hard-working nurse. She makes her patients feel secure and comfortable. With long years of training and commitment, she has truly blossomed into a dedicated member of the team at Chicago Heart and Vascular Consultants. You are thanked and appreciated every day. I love you and I am a very proud daughter. Keep up the amazing work.
LAUREN BLOUNT ON KRISTINA SLATTERY: I have had two babies via C-section at Community Hospital in Munster and both times I've been blessed to have my post-partum night nurse be Kristina Slattery. As a new Mom you're dealing with so many hormones and emotions, pain, and frustration when things aren't going correctly. Kristina was so patient, helpful, and wonderful with both Mommy and baby! She got me through the rough nights and she truly is an extraordinary nurse who is very passionate about her job and is very good at what she does! I cannot thank her enough for my wonderful postpartum experience! I also love this idea of saluting nurses. They make such a huge difference and are so important!
SUSAN NOTTINGHAM ON CINDY YONKMAN: I had a wonderful labor and delivery nurse 24 years ago. Her name was Cindy Yonkman and she helped my son turn to alleviate back labor and help with pain. I experienced back labor with my first and no one did that for me! What a difference! She was an awesome nurse at Munster Community Hospital and is still there in labor and delivery! My daughter, Lauren Nottingham, followed in her footsteps and became a nursery and post-partum nurse. I know she has a passion for these babies and an eye for detail. Many babies lives have been saved because of the good job these nurses have done. These beautiful children are the best gift we will ever have and it is nice to know that there are dedicated nurses who provide great care!
JOY TODD ON TRACY SHARP: I am on the opposite end of nursing care. I work with the nurses. I work as a hospital social worker at St Catherine's Hospital in East Chicago. I must brag about the labor and delivery nursing staff. They are excellent. The entire team. I have had the great pleasure to work with the staff and their awesome nurse supervisor Tracy Sharp. They are easy to work with as colleagues; they are open to ideas and suggestions and always have the health and safety of patients (mothers and newborns) their top priority. I couldn't ask for better co-workers. I'm so glad I work side-by-side with them.
TRACY SHARP ON ST. CATHERINE’S TEAM: I want to say that all of the nurses at The Family Birthing Center at St. Catherine Hospital are the best. Not only am I the manager, but I also had my son there. They have a special caring touch that makes a difference in the lives of Moms every day. I am blessed to be a part of that special group of women and I am so proud that they make sacrifices every day for the better of their patients. Nurses rock!
BRITTANY HARRIS ON ST CATHERINE’S STAFF: You should do a tribute to the emergency room nurses at St. Catherine's. Talk about an amazing group of people. They literally save lives every day. They work through lunches and bathroom breaks to take care of the sick or injured. To the dying and critical patients. They are angels.
SAMANTHA LING ON MARY KATE, ST. ANTHONY CP: Mary Kate in delivery at St Anthony's in Crown Point! This girl was simply amazing. I will never forget her and how she made me feel going through my first delivery of my little girl! Four years later I still brag about how much I loved her and only hope for the next baby that I get to have her by my side again!
THEOFANO RUTHERFORD ON ANGIE OSOJNICKI, COMMUNITY: She went above and beyond to make me feel comfortable after delivering my daughter. Couldn't have asked for a better experience!
KA’TLYN NELSON ON GLADYS, ST. ANTHONY CP: Gladys! She is an OB delivery nurse at Saint Anthony's in CP. I've never had the care from any nurse than what she provided for me. Truly a special gift and such an inspiration. She was not only looking out for my well-being and the well-bring of my newborn baby but also my husband. Such a beautiful person and I can't thank her enough for her care and support.
DONNA RODRIGUEZ ON ST CATHERINE’S ER STAFF: ER (has) a remarkable staff! Thank you for always being there when we need you!
BRIENNE RYAN SNEDECOR ON RAQUEL, LABOR & DELIVERY, ST MARY’S: She stayed with me through my long and scary labor and delivery. I don’t think I could have done it without her encouraging words. She helped save my baby's life! She's amazing and I will never forget her!
APRIL DOYLE ON ST ANTHONY CP: Every nurse we had with both my girls’ deliveries in May 2013 and August 2014 at St. Anthony's in CP was beyond fabulous. I cannot say enough good things about my birthing experiences there because of their amazing nurses!
CHELSEA FEJES ON ST ANTHONY CP: All the nurses at Saint Anthony's on OB are amazing! I watch them go above and beyond for our patients that come through and the team work is phenomenal!
LORI BORDERS BONNELL ON ST CATHERINE: All the labor and delivery team at St Catherine's are awesome! They really are proud of what they do and make the amazing experience as comfortable as possible for Mommy and baby.
MICHELLE LIONBERG ON REBECCA PAPAMIHALAKIS, COMMUNITY CARE: She's an ob/gyn nurse practitioner for Community Care Center in Highland and was my nurse during my three pregnancies (five kids, two twin pregnancies). She's the best!
SHAWNA LURTZ ON KATIE EDMONDS, ST ANTHONY CP: She is an OB delivery nurse at Saint Anthony’s in Crown Point. She was there for my entire 10-hour labor and never left my side. She helped me bring my sweet baby girl into this world. She stayed comforting and compassionate even when I was yelling in pain at her. She made me believe I could keep going when I didn't even know I could.
AMEE LIPTAK ON BETHANY JOY WIGGINS-KOLODZIEJ: Amee just provided us with the name of her heroine nurse.
AMY MAGRUDER ON CINDY YONKMAN, COMMUNITY HOSPITAL: Cindy Yonkman, OB/delivery nurse at Community Hospital in Munster, stayed with me throughout my whole delivery even though her shift ended well before my baby was born
STEPHANIE MITCHELL ON LAURA BOILEK, COMMUNITY HOSPITAL: Laura Boilek, OB/delivery nurse at Community Hospital. She was the best and was bummed when her shift was over and I still had not delivered. She called me in post-partum to check on me before I went home. It was my first pregnancy and I couldn't have asked for a better nurse to help ease my pain, anxiety, and overall emotional roller coaster.
AMY WOLFE-WESLEY ON COMMUNITY HOSPITAL ICU TEAM: Shout out to Mary and Eric, Cheryl and Rachel at Community ICU.
MARY KAY ANDERSON ON DAVID, ST. CATHERINE: Salute’s to David from 6 West at St. Catherine’s.