It’s no secret Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital has exceptional nurses. Now you’ll even find the best in the state cracking jokes and dancing in the hospital halls.
Katy Cox, RN, a charge nurse at Ranken Jordan, is the first-ever winner of the Missouri Hospital Association’s (MHA) Nurse Champion Award. Katy was selected for the Nurse Champion Award out of 22 individual nurses nominated by their peers.
The MHA honored Champions of Care in the categories of nursing, nursing teams, health care workers and health care teams in celebration of National Nurses Week (May 6-12) and National Hospital Week (May 7-13). In its inaugural year, more than 90 individuals and teams were nominated by their peers for going above and beyond to care for the communities they serve every day.
Yet there was only one statewide Nurse Champion Award selected: Katy Cox.
Katy was surprised to receive the award because she didn’t know she was even nominated. She was especially shocked to learn she was the sole Nurse Champion Award winner out of the entire state.
“So many good nurses deserve this as much as I do,” Katy says. “To be chosen is really special. It feels good to be recognized for doing the things I would normally do anyway.”
She says she is grateful the pandemic shined the light on all that nurses do. “Nurses are kind of the catch all—we’re IT, a waitress bringing food and drink, a therapist listening when patients are having a hard time, and we play with the kids. Being recognized for that has been great because people now see what we do and how we do it.”
Katy may have to build a new display case for her awards. In 2022, she also received the prestigious DAISY Award, a national award that recognizes and thanks nurses for making a profound difference in patients’ lives. Katy’s co-workers were behind both of her award nominations.
Scooping Up Fun for Patients
After eight years at Ranken Jordan, Katy continues to be inspired by her patients. “Because the kids have extended stays at Ranken Jordan, we get to know their personalities and likes and dislikes,” she says. “We can cater our care to what’s best for them.”
She also brings universally appealing fun to kids at Ranken Jordan. Helping kids be kids is at the heart of Ranken Jordan’s mission. So when a winter snow storm blew in, Katy rallied her co-workers to get the kids outside for a friendly snowball fight. It took some ingenuity, but, together, they made it happen.
“We only had one snow shovel available, so we took bed pans outside to scoop snow out of the way so kids in wheelchairs could get outside without getting stuck,” Katy says. “We worked as a team to get the kids ready and gave the kids who couldn’t reach the ground buckets of snow. The kids loved throwing snowballs.”
Her enthusiasm is contagious and elevates Ranken Jordan’s Care Beyond the Bedside philosophy.
A Playful Spirit, A Giving Heart
Katy’s playful, creative spirit comes naturally. Raised by parents who were “kids at heart,” snow days were a full day of wintry fun for Katy when she was growing up. “My mom would take us outside to play in the snow and we always made snow ice cream,” Katy says. “And my dad loves to play pranks and is a kid at heart.”
That deeply engrained sense of fun is why you’ll find Katy singing silly songs, joking around, or dancing to bring joy and levity to everyone at Ranken Jordan. “I try to be fun and goofy because we all have to deal with serious things here and sometimes just getting a laugh in your day helps,” she says.
Kate carries her playful nature with her outside of Ranken Jordan’s doors. Katy’s instructor from nursing school encouraged Katy to join her for two weeks as a camp nurse in New Hampshire for the Greater Boston YMCA. So this summer, she will volunteer for the third time, caring for kids with whatever health needs come up during camp, from dehydration to twisted ankles to bug bites and everything in between.
“This gives me experience with a different aspect of nursing,” Katy explains. “You don’t know what will happen each day.”
Katy enjoys camp nursing because it reminds her of her own childhood. “I grew up going to camp,” she says. “I love the outdoors and being with kids during their camp experience. It’s fun to help them come out of their shells.”
She’s passionate about serving others. In high school she went on a mission trip to Ecuador, which inspired her to become a nurse. Now she is planning a mission trip with a group of Ranken Jordan nurses in the coming year, as she continues to share her compassionate, giving spirit with others.
Katy’s dedication to kids and nursing make her a true Champion of Care. Congratulations, Katy, on your Nursing Champion Award!