Baptist Health Richmond telemetry nurse honored with DAISY Award – Richmond Register

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Sierra Marling

Baptist Health Richmond’s most recent DAISY Award recipient, Keta Thomas, ASN, followed her lifelong dream to become a nurse at the age of 43.

According to Thomas, she was drawn to the career by her mother, who was a home health nurse at the health department.

“I got to go with her when I was a child, and I fell in love with it. I couldn’t go back to school to become a nurse until my children were gone and I had grandbabies,” she explained of her prolonged journey. “However, I wanted to be a nurse all my life.”

She said watching her mother gave her an understanding between just living a healthy life and giving people an entirely better quality of life through kindness and accommodation — something she strives for in her work in the telemetry unit at Baptist Health Richmond.

“She made a difference in everybody’s life,” Thomas said of her mother. “That’s one thing about home health. You know, they [patients] can’t get out and go to the doctor. That’s why they have home health. She made a big difference in those people’s lives — that was what I wanted to do.”

While she acknowledges she learned a lot from the nursing program at Eastern Kentucky University, she said nursing also requires special skills that can’t be found in books.

“You learn the management in school, but it’s a whole lot different than what you do when you actually get on the floor. Patient care is something you have to have a heart for. You have to care about these people. You have to actually love these people — that’s when you give the best care. You can learn all you want to from books — but if you don’t love these patients and you don’t care about their loss — you’re not going to be an effective nurse,” she reasoned.

As a nurse in the telemetry unit, Thomas treats and monitors cardiac patients in a time she said can be terrifying for them.

The DAISY Award was created by the family of J. Patrick Barnes, a patient who was awestruck by the clinical skills, caring, and compassion of the nurses who cared for him.

According to Baptist Health Richmond officials, the award is a way to say thank you to nurses everywhere and celebrate the extraordinary clinical skills and compassionate care given by nurses every day.

As a DAISY Award Hospital Partner, Baptist Health Richmond recognizes one nurse with this special honor quarterly.

Thomas was nominated for the award by family members of a patient.

“As the daughter of an aging parent with a terminal illness, there are many shadows that are cast during every hospital stay. There is the looming shadow of the illness that cannot be reversed, there is the shadow of more tests which may reflect the progression of the disease that I fear will emotionally derail my father, and there’s the shadow of doubt, where I question my own abilities to care for him as he deserves,” part of the nomination explained.

The nominee praised the Thomas’ “exceptional care and compassion,” as well as assisting both the patient and his loved ones with those negative feelings.

“Keta’s presence during my father’s recent admission reflected her unwavering dedication and genuine kindness, which made an immeasurable difference, not only to my father’s physical well-being, but also to me,” the nominee said. “Thank you, Keta, for beaming your beautiful light into my father’s hospital room and dimming the shadow that we are facing. Your positive support, reassuring information and calm demeanor is much appreciated. Thank you, Keta, for being our lighthouse.”

Thomas said she was honored to receive “an amazing” award.

She added that she considers it among the “highest level” of achievement because “it means that you truly made a difference in somebody’s life” and “that’s what it’s all about.”

Thomas recently completed a master’s program to become a nurse practitioner.

When asked about her plans for the future, Thomas replied, “We’ll see. Wherever the Lord takes me, that’s where I need to be.”

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