The most important lesson Emily Smith, RN, has learned as a nurse at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital it to just “go with the flow.” And she shares that wisdom with every nurse she trains.
“It’s good to have a plan but it’s also a valuable skill to make the best of whatever is thrown at you because you never know what’s going to happen each day,” Emily explains. “Plans change and that’s OK. It’s all about having a positive attitude and rolling with the punches.”
Sage advice from a nurse still early in her career. But that’s one of the many reasons Emily was recently honored with the prestigious DAISY Award.
The DAISY Award is an international recognition program honoring extraordinary nurses for their skills and compassion. Nurses are nominated by patients, family members, or team members.
Living the Mission
Emily has patient care in her genes. Her mother is a nurse and her father is a paramedic and fire fighter. “It felt like a natural step to go into health care,” Emily says. “I grew up hearing my parents’ stories and they were always doing something to better the lives of people around them. It was so inspiring. I decided nursing was a great way to live life serving others.”
After Emily graduated from nursing school in 2019, she knew Ranken Jordan was where she wanted to stay. “I fell in love with the kids and was drawn to the mission of Ranken Jordan. I love being able to get kids out and about to play. That’s totally different and exciting from anywhere else I’ve ever seen.”
What's kept me here is the people. The nurses at Ranken Jordan are some of the best people you'll ever meet. They are so hard working and compassionate and they put their all into caring for kids and learning their quirks and what motivates them. Our nurses are so invested in getting kids better to go home. I couldn't imagine a better team of people to work with every day. Having a good support system around you makes days better. When you enjoy the people you work with, you enjoy your job more.Emily Smith, ADT Nurse
Leading with Contagious Smiles and Compassion
Emily’s natural leadership abilities were shining through even while she was a CNA transitioning to become a nurse.
“She was a role model for me from the very beginning,” says a nurse who was trained by Emily. “Emily has continued to inspire me in her compassion for the patients and dedication to their overall care. I am grateful for the skills she taught me while I began my nursing career. Emily encourages others to be their best every day. Her leadership on the floor and ability to advocate for her patients and fellow staff members is more appreciated than words can describe.”
Emily’s positivity and passion for Ranken Jordan’s mission radiates from her and makes her a welcome presence for both her patients and team members.
“Emily’s cheerful demeanor and happy-go-lucky attitude are contagious and you can’t help but smile or laugh when working with her,” says another co-worker who nominated Emily for the DAISY Award. “Emily is more than willing to jump in to assist or collaborate to ensure all the patients are receiving the best care.”
Emily says it felt surreal to be nominated by her co-workers for the DAISY Award. “It means so much to be nominated by the people you work with. We’re in the trenches working hard together every day so I feel they deserve this award, too. We inspire each other. It takes all of us working side by side to get kids better to go home.”
Most recently, Emily has taken extra time to provide emotional support and encouragement to a young adult patient who has experienced a life-altering injury.
“I try to take a playful attitude to inspire kids to keep going and stay motivated,” she says. “And I’ve learned how impactful it is just sit with kids and listen to them. It’s very special to connect on a personal level with them and see the successes on their journey.”
Cheering Progress and Team Work
Since September 2021, Emily has been the admissions, discharge and transfer (ADT) nurse at Ranken Jordan. “Many times, I get to see kids come to us in a wheelchair and later walk out of here,” she says. “It’s super cool to see the progress they make while they’re here.”
When it’s time for patients to go home, Emily makes sure they are treated to a celebration to remind them how far they’ve come.
“I love being their cheerleader and giving positive reinforcement,” she says. “And they love showing off their new skills.”
While the pandemic has challenged every health care worker, Emily says the kids she cares for and her team members keep her motivated.
“When you keep your focus on the kids and the impact you’re making on their lives, it’s easy to stay positive, especially when you see the smiles on their faces. And the nurses at Ranken Jordan are some of the best people you’ll ever meet. They are so hard working and compassionate and they put their all into caring for kids, learning their quirks and what motivates them. Our nurses are so invested in getting kids better. I couldn’t imagine a better team of people to work with every day.”