By SCOTT AUST, FCEDC Director of Communications.
While carrying one of their young children in his arms, Ross Jameson battled through emotion Friday afternoon while accepting the 2018 Clinical Excellence in Nursing Award from St. Catherine Hospital on behalf of his wife, Sarah Jameson, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 29 following a two year battle with cancer.
“Sarah was nothing but humble,” Ross Jameson said. “She wouldn’t take anything away from all the other candidates and everybody that was nominated at the start.”
Sarah Jameson was one of three finalists selected by peers for the annual nursing excellence award. Leslie Hart, Emergency Medicine, and Stephanie Thummel, Medical/Surgical, were also finalists. Fifty nurses throughout St. Catherine Hospital, Siena Medical, Women’s Clinic and Convenient Care were nominated for the award.
This year marked the 32nd year St. Catherine Hospital has formally recognized clinical excellence. The award program began in 1986. Since then, there have been 36 recipients and half of them still work at St. Catherine Hospital.
Friday’s ceremony was especially moving, given Jameson’s death.
“With the passing of Sarah this week, there’s been a lot of discussion about whether to continue this service,” said Heather Wright-Renick, Director of the Breast Program, Nursing Advocacy and Diversity Council Chair. “And I said there is nothing Sarah would love more than for us to honor all of the deserving nurses that are not only nominees today, but other nurses in the building.”
Ross Jameson said the care Sarah received, from the onset of diagnosis through this week, was great.
“Her friends and co-workers have gone above and beyond, more so in the last two to three weeks, but they have been by her side constantly. If that’s the quality of nurses going through here, all of you should be very proud,” he said, adding that the hardest thing about a nomination like this one is every nurse is as deserving as the next.
“Everybody here has such a mountain of compassion and caring that it all rubbed off on Sarah, and Sarah rubbed off on you,” he said. “I wanted to write something down, but it’s been a rough week. I just want to say on behalf of all of her family, we thank you very much, and all of you continue on in her memory with her caring and her compassion in everything that you do.”
Sarah’s family was presented with the Clinical Excellence in Nursing plaque, and Sarah’s name will be embroidered on the nursing cape, a long time St. Catherine Hospital tradition.
During the ceremony, biographies written by each finalist were read:
Sarah Jameson, RN – Maternal Child
Jameson wrote that she was born at St. Catherine Hospital, graduated from Holcomb High School and earned an Associate’s Degree in Nursing from Garden City Community College. She said she was blessed to land her dream job right out of college in 2010 in the Maternal Child Department at St. Catherine. She and her husband Ross have six children.
Touching on her cancer diagnosis, Jameson wrote that it changed her view of nursing as she switched from caregiver to patient a number of times.
“I feel like this transition has taught me to show my patients more compassion, integrity, kindness, love and understanding. I have also been taught that my nurses and caretakers throughout this journey have shown extreme dedication to my care and well-being,” she wrote. “My family here at St. Catherine Hospital has blessed me with an outpouring of love and generosity. In the last two years living this cycle as a nurse and a patient, it has taught me that every day you can touch a life or a life can touch yours.”
Leslie Hart, BSN, RN – ER
Originally from Ulysses, Hart has worked in the Emergency Department for the past three years. She initially majored in Mass Communications at K-State following high school before changing to nursing and graduating from Baker University. She and her husband Derek have two dogs, a bulldog named Moose and Australian Shepherd called Apollo.
“I can truly say I’ve been very lucky to work with the many amazing co-workers I’ve had in the ER and will always consider them family,” she wrote. “For me, being a nurse is knowing when to turn on your ‘tough’ and when to turn on your ‘human,’ and finding the balance in between for those in need.”
Stephanie Thummel, RN – Med/Surg
Thummel graduated from Garden City High School in 2004 and then from North Central Kansas Technical College in Hays with her RN. She worked at Hays Med for five years then became a travelling nurse for a few years. She was worked in the Med/Surge unit at St. Catherine the past two years as a charge nurse. She and her husband Kenny have a two year old son, Killian, and a second child on the way.
“Nursing is an amazing field to be in. There is always something new to learn and so many opportunities,” she wrote. “I am thankful every day that I am part of this amazing field where I get to meet and work with the most wonderful, compassionate people around.”