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SRMC announces four DAISY Award winners during Nurses Month

Starr Regional Medical Center recently announced that four nurses — Bailey Burns, Dana Davis, Regenea Gibson and Joshua Poole — have been recognized as DAISY Award recipients.

The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses is a recognition program honoring “the super-human work nurses do for patients and families every day.” The announcement is shared in celebration of National Nurses Month this May.

“At Starr Regional, we are committed to providing the best possible care to everyone who walks through our doors. We are extremely proud to recognize these nurses for serving as examples of this commitment, to both their patients and their co-workers,” said Ronald Hall, RN, chief nursing officer at Starr Regional Medical Center. “Too often the efforts of all nurses, who are always on the front lines of caring for the sick and injured, go unrecognized. The DAISY Award program provides us the opportunity to honor our nurses for their dedication to extraordinary patient care not only in May, but throughout the year.”

The nominations, which may be submitted by anyone who experiences or observes what they consider to be “extraordinary, compassionate care being provided by a nurse,” tell the stories as to why these four nurses are deserving of the honor and recognition given to DAISY Award recipients.

Bailey Burns, RN, Women’s Services — nomination submitted by patient

“This past weekend, my sister and I were vacationing in Tellico Plains. Unfortunately for me, I ended up in the ER at Starr Hospital and was transferred to the Medical Center in Athens. Getting sick while on vacation is bad, but during the holidays even more so,” the nomination read. “But, I had Bailey in charge of caring for me. She was truly amazing! She was caring, kind and very professional. I was so impressed. I wanted to pass on to you what a wonderful nurse (and person) she is and such an asset to your Medical Center.

“It is rare to see such a caring and dedicated individual working in hospitals I have visited. In fact, every person who came into my room was so friendly and nice. Your group made a bad situation for me a tolerable one and Bailey was the angel taking care of me.

“Anyone coming into your Medical Center, needing care and who is fortunate enough to have Bailey caring for them, I would tell them, do not worry, you are in good hands. I know I was and well cared for while there!”

Regenea Gibson, RN, Emergency Department — nomination submitted by patient’s family member

“I was in the ER with my father on a crazy Saturday. Things were seeming to be moving at a fast pace. Several tests had been run on my father. The physician gave a report of the findings, but we had no way of knowing what was normal or what to expect,” the nomination read. “This very special nurse came into the room and explained everything to us in a way we could understand. She also educated us on safety hazards and precautions to be aware of.

“Regenea Gibson, thanks for calming us with information and keeping us updated on the status of things. Your care and compassion will never be forgotten. The love you have for your job is evident. Thank you for treating us with such love and respect.”

Dana Davis, RN, Senior Care — nomination submitted by co-worker

“When I think of what an ideal nurse should be, I think of someone who is able to provide exceptional care while also showing compassion, genuine concern and sympathy to everyone they encounter. Dana exhibits all of these characteristics and so much more,” stated the nominator. “Whether you call it dependability, reliability or something else entirely, you will not find someone who is there for patients and coworkers the way Dana is. She not only shows up for work every single day like clockwork, but her performance never suffers from personal feelings or physical ailments.

“She’s the same person day in and day out and provides consistently superior care for patients and unwavering leadership for staff. Dana is an example to other nurses, an advocate for patients, a stand-in for family members, a resource for doctors and support staff and an exemplary employee for management.

“No matter how unique of an honor she is given, it will pale in comparison to the unique combination of traits that make up this amazing person that in many ways changes the definition of what a nurse should be.”

Joshua Poole, RN, Medical/Surgical Unit — nomination submitted by patient’s family member

“Josh was very helpful and never made you feel like you were bothering him. My husband has terminal cancer and was admitted for pneumonia and thrush. Nighttime always seems to be the worst,” the nomination read. “Josh was always either very quick to respond or he would pop his head in and ask if we needed anything if my husband was awake. He is a true professional and was a blessing when we were frightened. Thank you for having him there.”

Honorees are selected by a committee of nurses at Starr Regional Medical Center who thoroughly review and consider each nomination. The presentation of the award is a surprise and takes place in front of the nurse’s colleagues, patients and visitors. Each honoree receives a certificate commending her or him for being an “Extraordinary Nurse.”

The certificate reads: “In deep appreciation of all you do, who you are, and the incredibly meaningful difference you make in the lives of so many people.” They are also given a sculpture, called “A Healer’s Touch,” which is hand-carved by artists of the Shona Tribe in Africa.

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation, based in Glen Ellen, Calif., was established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, who died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little-known but not uncommon auto-immune disease.

The care Barnes and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families. For more information about the DAISY Foundation, visit DAISYFoundation.org

If you would like to nominate a nurse for the DAISY Award, forms are available in the hospital common areas as well as the nursing units on Starr Regional Medical Center’s Athens and Etowah campuses. Nomination forms may also be found online at StarrRegional.com

The DAISY Award program is open to nurses only, such as LPNs, RNs, and nurse practitioners.

If non-nurses receive a nomination, they will be recognized separately from the DAISY Award program.

Etowah to hold parade honoring McMinn Central graduates next weekend

Etowah will soon be hosting a parade to celebrate the accomplishments of the students of McMinn Central High School whose graduation this year has been delayed.

The parade will be held on Saturday, June 6 at 11 a.m. with staging for the parade beginning at 10 a.m. in the parking lot located at Ohio Avenue and 8th Street.

The parade route will travel south to 10th Street then turn to Highway 411 where it will go north to 5th Street.

Etowah Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Durant Tullock stated that this parade was a way to honor the 2020 graduates who were unable to receive the recognition “they deserve” due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They are our future leaders and we were looking for a way to celebrate them and still have good social distancing by spacing ourselves along the highway,” said Tullock.

“We have this several blocks long so that people could recognize their family members and their friends and do it in a safe manner while giving them the recognition they deserve.”

This event is just one way the City of Etowah would like to help citizens who have spent a lot of time at home due to the virus.

“We are very excited, there is always something going on here and this is one of those things where Etowah just seems to know how to celebrate,” Tullock stated before hinting towards other future events. “Unfortunately we will not be having a 4th of July celebration this year, but we are going to be looking at some other things in town when the times are suitable, where we can safely have some good times and provide things to do for people who have been cooped up for a while.”

One of the difficulties they have faced organizing the parade was the timing.

“We just had to wait to the right time. We wanted to make sure that it was safe ... By taking the precautions now, we can do this safely,” said Tullock.

The coronavirus pandemic ended the spring semester of 2020 early this year and has delayed many ceremonial activities at schools, including prom and graduation.

Last month, McMinn County Director of Schools Lee Parkison announced that McMinn Central’s graduation will still be held, but it will be later in the year than normal.

The tentative date set by Parkison for Central’s ceremony is July 24 at 7 p.m.

McMinn County High School’s graduation is set for July 25 at 7:30 p.m. on the football field.

“We’re assuming that we’ll be able to do this,” Parkison told the McMinn County School Board at the time of the announcement. “This is obviously depending on where we are with COVID-19 and the restrictions that we have.”

Parkison said then that discussions have included various different ways that graduation ceremonies could be held, should the traditional method not be an option.

“There are all kinds of options … some of them are drive-through; some of them are online; some of them are going to drive-in theaters; some of them are traditional; some of them are going into sections, meaning they’ll have 50 come in at a time and separate everybody,” Parkison explained. “There are all kinds of options out there. We will make that decision as we go.”

Eureka Trail upgrades continue to make progress

The McMinn County Commission has authorized design work to further expand and improve Eureka Trail.

The Commission voted unanimously earlier this month to approve Lose & Associates as the engineering firm to perform design services for a parking lot at the Athens trailhead, located on Highway 307, as well as to spot the elevation for a proposed restroom at the trailhead and to provide specifications for rubber trail surfacing.

The federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) allocated a $200,000 grant in 2016 for Phase II of Eureka Trail development. This money was earmarked for the purchase of the remaining stretch of abandoned CSX rail bed into Englewood. This purchase was recently finalized. The matching money for this grant was split evenly by Athens and McMinn County government.

The RTP grant was expanded to $600,000 in 2019, which supplied additional funding for restroom construction, parking lot development, and additional trail paving, including some rubber surfacing at the Athens trailhead.

The grant included a $33,000 line item for engineering services due to state approval being required for the parking area. Athens Parks & Recreation Director Austin Fesmire asked the County Commission at its last meeting to authorize the contract with Lose & Associates in an amount not to exceed $36,000.

“Time is of the essence as this money must be spent by Nov. 14, 2020, and Lose has agreed to move our project forward accordingly,” stated Fesmire in a letter to McMinn County Mayor John Gentry.

No additional matching money is required from Athens or McMinn County to proceed with the engineering work since it was already included in the grant.

Work is expected to begin immediately upon Lose & Associates receiving state approval as a subcontractor.