Dawn Kirk

Dawn Kirk

Dawn "Ru" Kirk, RN, BSN, CCRN

Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
Loma Linda University Health
Loma Linda, California
United States
Not only does she want to help her coworkers be the best, Ru wants to be the best for them. I have never seen a person strive to be better for others as she does.

Ru is a very compassionate, friendly, hardworking PICU nurse and we are so blessed to have her here. Ru was charge nurse one day and we received a call for a very sick, intubated septic child coming from an outside hospital. She even let me know, and as a pharmacist it is very nice to have a heads up, especially when they are on multiple pressors and needing help when the kid comes in. Right when he came in, Ru was so quick to her feet to help out the nurses in caring for this patient it was so intense and so many things were needed for this patient. She was a great leader even when asking other nurses for help which she wasn’t afraid to do. We ended up coding the patient and I tried to help get medications ready. She kept thanking me for all my help, which was very nice to be recognized. This is what she always does… thanks everyone for their hard work. She brings a smile to our faces. Unfortunately, the patient passed away but she worked so hard and helped out any way she could.  – Pharmacist

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There is no one more deserving of this award than Dawn “Ru” Kirk. Ru is not only the most extraordinary nurse, but one of the kindest people I have met. She plays many roles on the unit. She is a bedside nurse, a preceptor, a circulator, and a relief charge nurse. She always goes above and beyond and makes everyone feel calm and sane amongst the chaos. As a new nurse, people like her are vital to growth. When she is Charge, she always allows opportunities for growth for new nurses and she takes the time to be there until you feel comfortable on your own.

Recently, she gave two of us the opportunity to care for a patient who was in need of 2:1 care; being new nurses this was terrifying at first. She took the time to assure us that she had faith in us and that she would be there for whatever we needed. In the middle of the chaos, she took the time to calmly explain what was going on and showed me how to do things. She was able to calmly and efficiently take control of the room, as well as delegating tasks to others to make sure that the rest of the unit was running smoothly. When the patient didn’t make it she had the room cleared and expressed her condolences to the mother. After the code, she took the time immediately after and the following days to see how I was doing and made herself available for questions.

That day and every day, she makes a great leader by giving positive, constructive criticism, being encouraging, and always displaying a smile. This is someone who loves what they do and genuinely cares about others. Not only does she want to help her coworkers be the best, she wants to be the best for them. I have never seen a person strive to be better for others as she does. Ru always asks what she can do better for growth as a Charge, but there really isn’t anything more I could ask for. A nurse in a leadership position who displays patience, kindness, and cares about her patients and coworkers. I really appreciated how she exhibited great leadership skills that day and made me grow as both a nurse and a person.

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I have a million different experiences that just make me feel so grateful for having a great co-worker, Ru! She’s always available to help, always willing to teach and answer my questions despite of how basic or complex it may be. I recently had a very sick patient and there were a lot of things I wasn’t familiar with. Ru was Charge Nurse that day, and she made sure to go over the things I didn’t know. Even though it was a very busy day on the unit, she was there for me. Ru made sure that I had enough emotional support after the patient expired, but she also put together an interdisciplinary debrief meeting to make sure everybody had closure. It doesn’t matter how busy/frustrating/chaotic the day is, Ru is always smiling and willing to go the extra mile.

Ru is that nurse that cares so much about her co-workers that she’s usually the last person to take her break when she is circulating! She also encourages nurses to be involved in unit projects, and to further their education. She even let me borrow her CCRN books when I mentioned I wanted to take the test.

Ru deserves the DAISY Award because she lives all LLU values (compassion, integrity, excellence, teamwork, wholeness), every shift, no matter what!