Those who become a nurse often do so to make a difference in the lives of others, by improving health and empowering others to play a more active role in their health. Sarah Smith, RN with Monument Health is one of those nurses. Her colleagues say she makes a difference in the lives of her complex cardiac patients every single day. That is why SDAHO has chosen Sarah Smith for this week’s healthcare hero. The healthcare hero campaign is designed to recognize and celebrate healthcare heroes across the state.
Sarah has been part of the Monument Health team for the past five years. Everyday she looks forward to the variety of patients she can visit with and help. “Making small talk with them, you can make a connection with almost everyone.” Sarah says her coworkers also make it easy to come to work every day as they share the same passion as she does, which is to always do what is best for the patients. Her colleagues say, she goes above and beyond not only for the patients, but Sarah is always looking for ways to improve the delivery of healthcare. “Sarah identified that our process for admitting an outpatient stress testing patient for further treatment to the hospital was broken. Sarah developed a better process for patients, including a quicker admission process.” – Sheena Ross, BSN, RN – Nurse Manager, Cardiovascular Diagnostics and Cardiac Rehab, Monument Health
Sarah grew up in Wyoming, not far where she lives today on a ranch with her husband and children. After graduating from nursing school, Sarah immediately applied for a South Dakota License and has called the Rushmore state home ever since. Sarah says she has always been drawn to helping people, so healthcare was a natural fit. “When someone was injured or ill, I would always run towards the situation.” Sarah started as a first responder at the age of 16 and says she cannot imagine doing anything other than healthcare. “She greets her patients with a smile and has a calm demeanor. Our patients often come to their cardiac testing nervous and scared. Sarah is able to explain the test in a way that calms them and is able to keep them informed and calm through the procedure.” – Sheena Ross, BSN, RN – Nurse Manager, Cardiovascular Diagnostics and Cardiac Rehab, Monument Health. Sarah recently helped a patient get treatment needed based on her gut, after the patient had an abnormal stress test. Her quick thinking helped get the patient to the cardiac cath lab, ultimately changing the patient’s treatment plan. Her colleagues say in addition to being a great patient advocate, she is an amazing teacher, often taking new staff and students under her wings. “She helps them become successful and never makes them feel like the questions they are asking are dumb.” – Sheena Ross, BSN, RN – Nurse Manager, Cardiovascular Diagnostics and Cardiac Rehab, Monument Health.
During COVID-19, Sarah developed a process to help keep patients safe, while still giving them the cardiac care they needed. Sarah says the pandemic did not change her position much, but she did miss having personal interaction with patients. She does worry that healthcare workers will have to always wear masks, which has made healthcare less personal. “It makes sense to keep us, our patients, staff and family safer, it just feels very cold. I miss sharing a warm smile.”
Sarah’s colleagues say she uses her strong work ethic to ensure that the work is always done, its is always correct and always timely. In addition to be a leader within her department, Sarah is also described as a compassionate coworker. “Sarah is often a shoulder to cry on for her peers. When a peer was struggling, she was able to help that person become more confident in their role and she is always giving kudos for victories no matter how small.” Sheena Ross, BSN, RN – Nurse Manager, Cardiovascular Diagnostics and Cardiac Rehab, Monument Health.
When asked how she feels about being considered a healthcare hero, she quickly recognizes those around her. “As a nurse, ranch wife, and mother, I strive to always do my best and give myself whole heartedly. Nurses are notorious for giving patients their all, sometimes to a fault. Putting someone else’s needs before our own, is an admirable quality, even though every nurse will say I am just doing my job. I am so blessed that I can truly say I love my job!”
Sarah Smith, thank you for all you do and congratulations on being a Healthcare Hero.
If you know someone that is a healthcare hero and would like to nominate them, visit us online and nominate them today. https://sdaho.org/heroes/