Three Parkwest Nurses Recognized for Excellent Care

Have you ever received over-the-top, above-and-beyond
care when it mattered most? Patients and their families can submit nominations to recognize the outstanding care provided by our nurses and clinical staff  every day. The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses is part of The DAISY Foundation’s program to recognize excellent performance and service given by  dedicated registered nurses. The most recent recipients of this award at Parkwest Medical Center  are Matt Ryan, RN; Miriam Smith, RN, and Kaylee Zalewski, RN.

Mother’s Day Stay: Recognizing Matt Ryan, RN

Matt Ryan pictured with DAISY banner held by the sisters who nominated him.
Matt Ryan, RN, received DAISY Award recognition from BJ Smith, daughter of patient, left, and Connie Vowell, daughter of patient, right.

Matt Ryan has worked as a registered nurse at Parkwest’s orthopedics unit for three and a half years. He received the DAISY Award for the  outstanding care he provided to a 92-year-old patient during her stay. He notes that  nurses don’t do their work to receive special awards or recognition, but that it is nice to be noticed for what they do. When he looks at his DAISY pin and certificate, he is reminded that he  made a difference in a patient’s life.

Billy Jean Smith and her sister Connie Vowell nominated Matt for the care he provided to their mother: “My mother, Mabel, came to your hospital after  suffering a broken hip. She was 92 years old. She was sharp-minded and had a wonderful wit about  her that all of the nurses enjoyed, especially Matt. He was respectful, attentive, a great  listener, kind, gentle, com- passionate and very knowledgeable.

“My mother adored him! He would banter with her and she always accepted the challenge.  Mom loved all of her nurses, but Matt stood out among the many. What an outstanding professional for you to have on your staff!

“My sister and I say thank you to Matt for all his loving care. The day mom was  discharged, we all cried as mom was taken to nursing rehab. But I’m afraid it was downhill from there. My dear  mother had a stroke on Feb. 6, 2020. She breathed on her own for six hours, and then she smiled the most beautiful smile we’ve ever seen, and then she went  to be with the Lord. It was wonderful and so much like my mom would have wanted it. Her only complaint would have been, ‘why am I not at Parkwest, and  where is Matt?’ “That is our story of a truly wonderful and pleasant experience. Thank you for your  kindness to the most wonderful woman who ever lived … my mom!”

Matt shares, “My favorite thing about caring for my patients is the huge opportunity I have  to educate them. Healthcare providers often don’t realize that patients have no clue what  is happening most of the time. I try to always make time to simply have a conversation with  my patients and give them the chance to ask questions feeling rushed.”

Rekindled By a Spark: Recognizing Miriam Smith, RN

Miriam Smith holding daisy floral arrangement.
Miriam Smith, RN

Miriam Smith has worked as a registered nurse in Parkwest’s cardiac specialties unit for two years. She received a DAISY Award  after being nominated by a patient for the superb care she received during her stay.  Miriam’s patient included in her nomination this quote from Albert Schweitzer: “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.  Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the  flame within us.”

“I am a 66-year-old female who has been in
generally good health all of my life. So it was with much surprise and concern I found  myself being admitted through the emergency department to Parkwest Medical Center in  December with heart problems. Unfamiliar discussions, procedures and medications soon  filled my hours and days. By the third day of my stay, I was becoming discouraged.

“It was at this time that Miriam became my nurse. I soon realized she was knowledgeable,  confident and caring. She would be my advocate when I could not, either through lack of my  knowledge or resolve. I found her to be truthful and she gave clear explanations. I believed I could trust her to do  what was in my best interest as a patient. In the midst of my confusion and  questions, she brightened my day and gave me hope. “Besides being my healthcare advocate, Miriam went out of her way to see my other needs were met. Whenever she entered my room she was cheerful and energetic, making it clear she was ready to be my nurse. It is with much gratitude that I  thank Miriam for rekindling my light when it was needed most.”

Miriam enjoys working in the cardiac specialties unit because it is fast-paced and efficient. Miriam says, “What I enjoy most about caring for my  patients is seeing them get better and getting to go home to their families. It’s  so rewarding to care for a patient in their most vulnerable state, and then watching the joy on their and their families’ faces w hey get to go home.”

Big Boys Don’t Cry: Recognizing Kaylee Zalewski, RN

Kaylee Zalewski holding daisy arrangement.
Kaylee Zalewski, RN

Kaylee Zalewski has worked as a critical care nurse at Parkwest since 2018. She was recently  recognized with The DAISY Award for providing outstanding care to her patient who  suffered a heart attack.

Kaylee’s nominator writes: “Big boys don’t cry, but I may have felt like it when I woke up in CCU. It had been a fitful night following an unexpected heart attack and stent placement. I was tired, uncomfortable with the lines in and out and attached to me, and unsure of what my day — and future —  would hold.

“Kaylee is an outstanding person and nurse. She performs her job in an efficient, professional  manner, but there is something more. She has a warm and friendly manner that gets you  comfortable. With Kaylee in charge, I wasn’t being surprised by new things, procedures, or  people. She explained, introduced, and encouraged.

“I am not sure how she finds time for ‘people skills,’ as I could see her desk area and she was  busy ALL day long, but she found time to make my day easier and brighter. Kaylee has excellent communication skills and provided an informative update to my wife after a warm  introduction. We both felt much better.

“I feel I received good care from all the nurses I encountered during my three-night stay at Parkwest. Kaylee elevated that care at a time when it was very beneficial to my  well-being and my family’s state of mind. She cares deeply about her patients, their families, and is an advocate when needed.”

Kaylee does her best to treat everyone as if they were a part of her own family. She says,  “The relationships you make with your patients is something special. The feeling you get  when someone thanks you for taking care of them or their families is something that makes  the long, hard days all worth it. The fact that I made my patients hospital stay even a  tiny bit better, makes me so happy. No one wants to be in the hospital, and I’m thankful I  could make his
stay more comfortable.”

The three recipients were each presented with a certificate, a pin, daisy arrangement, The Healer’s Touch sculpture and cinnamon rolls to share with their respective departments.
Nurses may be nominated by patients, families, and colleagues. Recipients are selected by a committee at Parkwest Medical Center to receive The DAISY Award. To nominate a nurse for this award, visit