Gena Sandor
November 2022
Perioperative Services
Memorial Medical Center
United States




I recall a time in the recovery room when I was in the worst pain of my life, and Gena instinctively knew and advocated for me to do everything she could to control my discomfort.
This should be my fifth nomination and it should have been written years ago, but it has been so difficult to find the words that can describe a nurse that should be wearing a superhero cape instead of scrubs! I am not a stranger to surgical procedures, as I have had nine since 2015. Out of those nine surgeries, I believe that Gena has been my nurse at least 75% of the time whether it is during admission, recovery, or discharge.

One may believe that surgery gets easier the more you have, but it actually gets much scarier. Fortunately for me, I had the comfort of some consistency with having Gena. I knew that we would be going through the admission with lots of light-hearted laughter with her infectious laugh; helping me ease the pre-procedure jitters. She is very intuitive about what you need without having to say a word. I recall a time in the recovery room when I was in the worst pain of my life, and Gena instinctively knew and advocated for me to do everything she could to control my discomfort. When the medication wasn’t working, I could see the care and concern in her eyes which was a comfort measure in itself. She continued with everything in her bag of tricks from repositioning me, to putting lip balm on my lips (at one point you even had to get me on a bedpan, which may have been the last thing I ever wanted to do). I eventually was able to endure the discomfort and knew that she did everything she could to get me to that point.

Honestly, I can’t recall much about my time with her during any of the discharges (I believe that is due to the medications that I had for the procedures). However, I know that Gena does an amazing job going through discharge instructions, because not only have I been her patient multiple times, but I have the honor to work alongside her as a colleague. I have worked with Gena since 2015 but met her in 2013 when I volunteered in the surgical department waiting for a position to open up. I knew I liked her then by watching her treat every new patient with care and compassion as she brought them back to have surgery comforting them every step of the way. I have been able to learn so much from her with her countless years of experience, as well as watching her train and mentor many other new nurses.

She has never been the nurse that “eats her young” but has given so much encouragement and brought excitement to the field. I know that if there are questions, Gena is the first person I would go to because of her depth of knowledge and years of experience. You always know when Gena is working, because you can hear her comforting and contagious laughter from several departments away. Gena is consistently an amazing nurse and an all-around person. She doesn’t stop caring after she punches the time clock. She is always putting 100% into her work and family. She also has made her fellow employees her “family”. She listens to people and knows their needs at all times, even when she is so exhausted from everything she does around the clock.

I have seen her bring in thoughtful gifts “just because”, as she listens to people's wants and needs. During my last surgery, I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to get myself to the hospital, and there was Gena insisting that she would pick me up at home. I argued with her because I knew she didn’t have to wake up that early, yet she didn’t want me to stress about having to figure something else out, so she came in early so I would be on time for my check-in time. She went out of her way to go above and beyond her job description. I continue to watch her perform selfless acts daily and always wished there was a way to show her gratitude.

As I mentioned, I wish I wrote this long ago. When I returned from that surgery, I was awarded a DAISY Award. I was extremely honored and humbled by the amazing nomination, but all I could think about was I wish I had written a nomination for Gena and that she would have received this award instead of me. I have never seen her put herself first and she would rather go under the radar to put everyone else on a pedestal.

Gena, I can’t thank you enough for being the encouragement that we have all needed, the caring heart through our times of fear, and a leader when we feel lost. I am grateful to be a patient, colleague, and most importantly a friend. I wish I could mention more attributes about Gena, but I don’t want to take up any more time. I can’t thank her enough for being the most caring person one could meet. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!