Middletown nurse surprised with recognition in national magazine

A national award given to a nurse at Atrium Medical Center has now garnered her recognition in a national publication.

Caitlyn Russell, a critical care nurse at Atrium in Middletown, received the DAISY Award for nursing excellence last year.

She was surprised recently to learn she is featured in an article about the award in “Bold Voices,” the national magazine of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

Russell said she awed that someone recognized her for nursing and that her story was featured in the national magazine.

“I had no idea I was being put into the magazine,” she said.

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The DAISY Award for nursing excellence was created in 1999. More than 2,500 healthcare facilities in the U.S. honor nurses with the DAISY Award program. Each hospital establishes their own criteria to recognize nursing excellence.

DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. Award recipients are nominated for a specific act of extraordinary care that was experienced by the person making the nomination.

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Russell, a Fairfield Twp. resident, was recognized for the care she gave to a severely ill man who was also a heroin user, according to the magazine.

The nominator said Russell went out of her way to ensure the family felt good about leaving him in the hospital, especially since a younger brother had died recently, according to the magazine. The nominator was also impressed with Russell’s interpersonal style and openness that included answering “every tedious question” that was asked by the family as well as skipping lunch and staying late.

The patient went into respiratory and cardiac arrest several days after admission and died, the magazine said.

“Caitlyn genuinely wanted to give my brother the best care, regardless of the circumstances that brought him to the hospital,” the nominator said. “I respect her and truly believe that the DAISY Award was developed for nurses like her.”

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A year later, Russell, 34, remains honored about the recognition.

“I became a nurse to take care of people,” she said. “I enjoy being there to hold the hands of patients and loved one. Being a nurse is more than passing meds. It’s giving care and giving your heart to someone else when a patient is at their lowest and the family is lost.”

Russell grew up in West Chester Twp. and went to Bishop Fenwick High School as well as Wright State University and Cincinnati State.

Russell said she became interested in nursing while in high school when her best friend was a patient at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and saw the passionate care the nurses there gave to their patients.

“I’m amazed and honored,” she said. “I’m one nurse and there are so many other nurses that deserve recognition. It’s not about me. It’s about every nurse who gives their heart and soul to their patients.”

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