Playful, calm, empathetic, friendly, caring, helpful, phenomenal. These are just some of the many reasons Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital nurses nominated their co-worker Katy Cox, RN, for the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses.
“She is the type of person that gives you a sense of happiness and relief when you see she is working with you that day because you know the day will automatically be a little better with Katy there,” says one team member.
Another says: “Katy steps up to lend a hand when others are in need and always has a great attitude. She goes above and beyond for every single patient she cares for and is one of the most kind and compassionate people I know.”
Her co-workers also nominated Katy for her willingness to teach other nurses and help her teammates as a preceptor. She is an active member of Nursing Shared Leadership as well as subcommittees.
Cox was presented with the DAISY Award in May. This national award is a way of providing nurses recognition and thanks for making a profound difference in the lives of those they touch through their care.
“Receiving this award makes me feel special,” Cox says. “It’s nice that people noticed I’m doing good things.”
A Heart for Helping
Her commitment to helping others began in high school when she went on a mission trip to Ecuador.
“We went to a remote village with no access to health care and no money for a doctor,” Cox explains. “So we raised money to pay for a doctor to come see the sick kids. That triggered the idea that I wanted to help people. Becoming a nurse was a way I could do that. I can do both—work in the U.S. as a nurse and then go on special mission trips to other countries once in a while.”
She brought this heart for helping to Ranken Jordan in 2015 after she graduated from nursing school. “I liked how different it was,” she says. “The kids are here longer so you can get to know them and build relationships. The kids at Ranken Jordan are the best.”
She also appreciates the teamwork at Ranken Jordan. “It’s like a small town here. Everyone knows everyone and helps each other. And we’re always having fun and we make sure the kids are having fun, too. Our teamwork is crucial to how Ranken Jordan works. Nurses are always on the floor playing with little ones, getting them outside their rooms and doing artwork with kids.”
Combining Care and Creativity
As a self-proclaimed kid at heart, Cox is often the ringleader of fun with a creative approach to care.
She adds bows to dressings, challenges patients to see who can drink their cup of water fastest to help kids reach their fluid goals, creates silly songs to make kids laugh, takes kids outside to play in the snow, and is known for instigating squirt fights with water-filled syringes. “It’s just water—it will dry,” she laughs. “And I sing a lot. As a big kid, I just channel my inner child so kids have a better day.”
She also brightens up her co-workers’ days. Cox is known for bringing mouth-watering, home-baked goodies to work that draw nurses from all over the hospital to the break room. But her reputation for going above and beyond for her team members and patients is even greater.
“Katy is so very helpful and is such a bright spirit to have on the unit,” a team member says.
Another co-worker adds, “Rarely a day goes by that she is not helping others or teaching new nurses. I know she has helped me be a better nurse through her example and teaching.”
A Calm, Caring Presence
Her positivity and leadership skills have helped Cox advance quickly during her time at Ranken Jordan. In addition to being a preceptor and charge nurse, she has been serving as interim manager while colleagues are on maternity leave.
“I like training new graduates because I remember being there and being terrified as a new nurse,” Cox says. “It’s surprising how comfortable you can get with things like changing a trach. That was scary the first time but now it’s no big deal.”
Cox’s team members appreciate her support and ability to remain calm during high stress situations. “I guess I’ve always been that way,” Cox says. “On the outside, I may look calm, cool and collected but on the inside my mind is going a mile a minute thinking about what the next step is.”
One of the most important lessons she has learned as a nurse is that you never know what someone is struggling with internally. “Teens may have been through a traumatic thing and are lashing out at others. Their whole life has been turned upside down so there’s a reason for their outbursts. You can’t take it personally.”
Cox believes she inherited her calm demeanor from her family. She grew up in Florissant as the youngest of four children. She still lives in north St. Louis County and enjoys spending time with her nine nieces and nephews and getting together frequently for family dinners.
While Cox is making a difference for so many families in St. Louis, her drive to care for others around the world continues. Now that COVID-19 travel restrictions have eased, she is excited to travel to other countries for more mission trips. No doubt she will bring her playfulness and compassionate care to benefit children worldwide.
Ranken Jordan is proud to have DAISY Award winner Katy Cox on our team to provide exceptional care for our patients. Congratulations, Katy!