Lara Clark
June 2013
Surgical Services
Kittitas Valley Healthcare
United States




It is no surprise to me that the extraordinary nurse we are honoring today works in Surgical Services. Nurses in this department are known throughout KVH for putting patients first and doing all they can to ensure care is provided to their patients in the safest manner possible for the best possible outcome. Like seasoned pilots, they perform a "preflight checklist" behind the scenes- patients and families are often unaware of the care preparation behind the scenes to ensure precision performance prior to each procedure:

Is the humidity in a safe range to ensure a safe environment and reduce the chance of
a surgical site infection (check)

Are the necessary equipment and supplies available? (check)

Are the medications correct for my patient (check)

Has the consent been signed and the procedure explained? (check)

Is this the correct patient and the correct procedure? (check)

All of this is performed seamlessly, with compassion and skill, focused on caring for the patient.

Whether the procedure or sedation is performed in the Surgical Services department or the nurses are called to assist their colleagues with patient care on the Medical-Surgical Unit, Critical Care Unit, Family Birthing Center or the Emergency Department, the preflight checklist is the same to ensure safety and quality standards are met. Most of the time, care continues smoothly, but If something isn't right, they have to be willing to stop the line- this isn't an easy to do, standing up in front of your team, asking questions of a provider or peer when something doesn't seem right. Inside, the nurse may be fearful- will he/she be ridiculed by peers for questioning the team? Will the provider be angry? Will the Department Director and Administration support me? What if I'm wrong?

Our extraordinary nurse Lara Clark, likely experienced all of these things when recently she was called to the ED to provide sedation for an elderly patient undergoing a procedure at the bedside. Due to the patient's age and other illnesses, she was concerned with the dose of medication ordered and "stopped the line" to clarify the order, expressing her concerns in a professional, knowledgeable and competent manner, ensuring her patient received safe care.

Sometimes, despite the heroic efforts of the medical provider and care team, the patient doesn't survive and the nurse has to let go of the patient and turn the focus on assisting the family as their hopes crash down around them, not focusing on what just happened to them personally. And that is just Lara did. Instead of focusing on the stress and challenges she had just experienced, Lara noticed the patient's son sitting in the corner, devastated after losing his mother. And that is why he nominated Lara for a DAISY Award. In his words:

"My name is WR, my mother passed away recently. I was with her in the Emergency Room and in some shock. Nurse Lara Clark had been called in to assist the ER nurse. When Lara finished her duties she saw me sitting alone. Lara sat beside me and took my hand and was of great comfort to me. I needed the comforting. Lara seemed to know just when an extra squeeze was necessary to comfort me. Neither of us talked much, but the comforting feeling was there. This big, tall, strong (so I thought) man truly appreciated Lara sitting with me. Please accept this nomination of Lara Clark for the DAISY Award for being an Extraordinary Nurse."

We are very fortunate to have Lara in the Surgical Services Division and sincerely appreciate her always keeping patients at the center of her care and advocating for both patients and families even in the most challenging of circumstances.