The global IT outage related to cybersecurity firm Crowdstrike has impacted some UVM Health Network systems. Emergency departments are open, and anyone experiencing an emergency should seek care at the hospital. Learn more.

Caring for a Colleague in an Emergency

Cancer Center Nurse Practitioner Honored With DAISY Award

Nearly the moment Cheryl Brunet, RN started working her shift at the University of Vermont Health Network-Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital’s (CVPH) FitzPatrick Cancer Center (FCC), she knew something was wrong. Brunet started having chest pains and was fearing the worst: that she was having a heart attack. That’s when Rachel Hite, FNP-BC, OCN, a Nurse Practitioner in the FCC, jumped into action. And the care she provided her colleague is why Hite has been named the hospital’s first Nurse Practitioner recipient of the DAISY Award.

Hite immediately began a quick and thorough medical assessment, including taking Brunet’s vitals, and talked to her about needing to go to the Emergency Department (ED) immediately.

“I knew that is where I needed to go but was anxious and afraid at that point,” Brunet admitted in her nomination letter for Hite.

Knowing that every second counted, Hite helped convince her co-worker-turned-patient to go to the ED, telling her that she would stay by her side the entire time. Hite, who got her start as a Registered Nurse at CVPH in 2002 and has been at the Cancer Center for 6 years, stayed true to her word.

“Rachel stayed right by me while they did the EKG, which led to me being put in a room, an IV started, blood being drawn and being prepared to go to the Catheterization Lab for a stent to be placed when the EKG showed I had a heart attack,” Brunet recalled.

With everything happening so fast and being in a potentially life-threatening situation, she was understandably scared and worried about what would happen. But Hite’s presence helped give Brunet the strength she needed to get through the frightening ordeal.

“Her calmness and knowing that she was there made the biggest difference and lessened my anxiety and fears of so many things happening all at once,” Brunet wrote.

Rachel Hite (left) with Cheryl Brunet, RN,
who nominated Hite for the DAISY Award.

Hite remained in the ED with Brunet until the veteran nurse was sent to the Cath Lab for her procedure. She then came back to visit Brunet while she recovered from the stent placement.

“Rachael is a caregiver who does everything with the most pure intentions to give the best quality care to her patients,” CVPH Director of Oncology Service at the FCC Charleen Tuthill offered. “As a colleague and co-worker, she is a true friend, someone who will give you unending support, thoughtful words of wisdom and heartfelt compassion.”

That kind of compassion for her patients, their loved ones, and those she works with has been shining brightly for years as the person who started the hospital’s inpatient Palliative Care program. And she continues to provide the community with dignity and respect for end of life care through her work as a provider with Hospice of the North Country.

“She is respected and valued by our team. She is a grounding force on some of the hardest days. When I look at Rachael Hite and her essence within the Cancer Center, I see light and so much love, and I feel so blessed to be here with her,” Tuthill added.

Brunet knows all of her co-workers in the FCC care for each other and are ready to help out when someone is in distress, emergency or not. The care Hite provided for her is something that will stay with her forever.

“Rachael is so very compassionate, her calming voice and her knowledge made a very bad situation so much easier. I will never find the words to express to Rachael how thankful I am for everything she did that morning,” Brunet said.

During a surprise ceremony with the FCC team, Hite 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 care licensed nurses provide to 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.