It started like any shift. Then we get a call – full trauma 5 minutes out. This full trauma was one of those traumas you pray you never have to do: young female hit by a car while she was crossing the street. For a select few, working to save someone’s life in a trauma situation is second nature and this is true of Deneen. She is a great team player. It is my personal belief that she is one of the people that makes the Emergency Department run more smoothly. She also has, and shows, a compassion for the patient and their families. The worst job in a trauma is having to go talk to the family member and tell them we are doing all we can but your loved one is touch and go, and that day was no exception when Deneen was called upon by the Chaplin to come and talk to the family of that young girl. Deneen rose to the challenge, but she did not stop there. She stayed by that mother’s side when the young girl passed away from her extensive injuries. I remember the moment that made me want to write this story about Deneen’s compassion. The doctor called time of death, it was one of the most emotional environments in the department that I have ever felt to date. The rest of the team of RNs filed out of the room to let the family grieve; crying could be heard outside the room from the RNs and inside the room from the family. Deneen stood by the mother, rubbing her back and giving her a hug; being a support to a person that had lost their whole world. The thing is, this is nothing new for Deneen. On many occasions, she is there not only for the patient, but the family and staff as well. And that is why I believe that Deneen Sitton deserves the daisy award!
Deneen Sitton, RN, where do I even begin? Deneen is one of the night shift charge nurses, working at Salem Health for over ten years. I have worked with Deneen since I first started 6 years ago. At the beginning of every night shift, Deneen walks through the department and rounds with each nurse – asking how our day is going, checking in to see if there is anything she can assist with. She is always conscientious about being an available resource and responds immediately to your needs. Deneen’s nursing skills are impeccable and many consider her the department’s pediatric IV queen. There have been many times I’ve called upon her expertise with tricky IV starts and she swoops in to the rescue. Deneen is approachable, leads by example, is respectful, takes accountability, and is always an active listener. She truly puts her staff and patients before herself through her ever-growing altruistic acts made daily. Deneen responds to rapidly changing situations in the ER with grace and calmness. This is a rare trait, but is so important in our field of nursing. One evening, we had a patient come in to the emergency department that was stabbed in the chest and quickly declining. This patient required quick action amongst our trauma team: multiple IVs, many medications, bilateral chest tubes, and intubation. Deneen jumped in and took on the task of rapidly transfusing the patient with blood products. She remained with the patient administering blood and keeping him alive until she turned over care to the OR team for emergent surgery. This is an example of how she never hesitates to assist others and provide life-saving measures to those in need. One of the most recent patient care situations I was witness to was a heart-wrenching one yet a prime example of the type of nurse Deneen is. This specific incident involved a young man that was 17 years old who had been driving his best friend in an ATV at her family’s farm. A tragic accident occurred, where they were both ejected from the ATV and the girl was killed instantly from a crush injury. I was working when this young man came in via medic as a trauma patient. As the ambulance bay doors opened, his whaling cries carried across the entire department as he knew his best friend had not survived. His extreme remorse could be felt by all and weighed heavy on us. Deneen was at the patient’s side from the moment of his arrival until his eventual discharge 4 hours later. Deneen comforted the patient and his family during this unimaginable time of loss, ensuring all their needs were met. She cried with them, she hugged them, she consoled them. She spoke to this young patient in a soft, motherly tone, reassuring him, listening to him, and holding his hand while he cried out in immense guilt. I have observed Deneen on multiple occasions exhibit this kind of support, compassion and empathy during my nursing career at Salem. I cannot imagine a better candidate for receiving such recognition as the Daisy award. I believe Deneen is one of the strongest, most compassionate, sincere and fierce leaders I have ever had the joy of working alongside. I feel extremely fortunate to have her as a role model and am thankful I am witness to the care she spreads to those around her every day.