Cancer Center Nurse Inspires Patients, Colleagues - Susan Hendrickson, RN Honored With DAISY Award


Smiles are not always the easiest thing to come by given the seriousness of what many patients in the FitzPatrick Cancer Center’s (FCC) Infusion Center are facing. Still, Registered Nurse Susan Hendrickson’s ability to brighten up those darker days is one of many reasons she has been named the latest recipient of the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses at CVPH.

Susan was nominated by Charleen Tuthill. As Manager of Oncology at the FCC, Charleen witnesses Susan’s positive impact on her patients and colleagues on a regular basis.

“Susan is the type of nurse that sets a great example for all nurses and co-workers to follow,” Charleen wrote in her nomination letter. “She is always putting her heart and soul into all that she does for her patients and colleagues. She has raised the energy level, and it is felt and noticed by everyone in our Infusion Center.”

Charleen points to the connections Susan makes with every patient she sees. Often, you can find Susan sitting and talking with a person in her care. Charleen says the conversations range from educating patients on the medications they are about to receive to how the patient is doing on their current therapy and even just listening to updates on loved ones or holiday plans.

“When she interacts with her patients, you can tell that at that moment, her patients and what they have to say are very important to her,” Charleen explained. “Many patients express how much they love the staff of the infusion center, and Susan is always a nurse they mention specifically as having a positive impact on their time there.”

According to Charleen, Susan is always ready to jump into action when a patient is experiencing an infusion reaction, remaining calm and collected. She is also renowned for her willingness to speak up and work with others to find solutions that improve the patient experience.

One example is when patients receiving Gastrointestinal (GI) medication infusions at the Ambulatory Surgery Center would be moved to the Infusion Center. Initially, the medications came from the main pharmacy, which unintentionally caused delays for patients. Susan and several of her colleagues brought their concerns to pharmacy management, working through several solutions before ultimately the decision was made to mix the GI medication in the FCC pharmacy. This had a significantly positive impact on the turnaround time, leading to less waiting for patients.

“Susan is a model nurse, not just in skill but in her presentation of her skill through compassion, kindness and gentle lessons of humility,” Charleen added. “We are a stronger, more confident team with her as a member. Our patients deserve only the best, and with Susan, you know this is what they will get time after time.”

During a surprise ceremony with the FCC team, Susan was presented with a certificate commending her as an extraordinary nurse. She, like all honorees, also received a DAISY Award pin and a beautiful and meaningful sculpture called “A Healer’s Touch,” which is hand-carved by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe.

CVPH launched the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses in 2018 as a way to recognize and reward licensed nurses for making a meaningful difference in the lives of their patients. Nomination forms and boxes are located at each of the hospital’s main entrances and on the CVPH website. Nurses may be nominated by patients, families and colleagues. A committee reviews nominations and awards a deserving nurse each quarter.

The award is part of the DAISY Foundation’s mission to recognize the extraordinary, compassionate nursing care they provide patients and families every day. The DAISY Foundation is a national not-for-profit organization, established in memory of J. Patrick Barnes by members of his family.  Patrick 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 (DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System). The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families. More information is available on the DAISY Foundation website.