If you stop and think about our Winona Health nurses and what they do for our patients, residents and coworkers, it’s really astounding. The history of nursing and nurses training in our community is as deep and rich as our organization’s 125-year history—each is vital to the other.

Throughout the years, many area nurses received their training at the Winona General Hospital Training School for Nurses, which was founded in 1895, the year after Winona Health was founded. Today, we are fortunate to have a mutually beneficial relationship with area universities in providing educational opportunities and jobs, while our community benefits from highly knowledgeable and skilled nurses.

Nurses are here for our community around the clock to advocate for our patients, serve as a resource for patients’ families and to support their fellow healthcare providers. They experience their patients’ and residents’ joys and sorrows deeply and they keep them and their families in their thoughts as they go home to care for their own families. They are a special kind of superhero on the healthcare team and in our community.

In the weeks leading up to National Nurses Week, many of our nurses—34 of them(!)—were nominated for the River Valley Media Group’s Nurses: The Heart of Health Care award. Of those, three of our nurses were selected to be among the top 10 nurses in the region. The reasons people nominated a particular nurse tells the story of how important nurses are in helping our organization meet its mission: to improve the health and well-being of our community, and more important, it illustrates just how meaningful each interaction is, as it has a lasting impact on how each person feels cared for.

These are just a few of the comments about our Winona Health nurses from those who nominated them:

He has a calm approach while caring for patients with mental health needs. He focuses on their story as he builds their trust. He is a true patient advocate and ensures patients are connected with community resources to help them become successful once discharged.

She shows true devotion to her patients and coworkers. She has inspired me to go to school for nursing as well and I hope to be as great of a nurse as she is.

She has provided care to our community for more than 30 years. She is compassionate, caring, and has excellent clinical judgement. She has been able to support mothers in labor, assisted sick newborns and has held the hands of mothers who have had to say goodbye to their babies too soon. She has passed on her knowledge to many new Family Birth Center nurses throughout the years.

She is passionate about her patients and community, a good resource.

She is friendly, caring and kind. She will distract you with small talk through the unpleasant moments and laugh with you during awkward times. She is patient and guides new staff respectfully.

He is a mentor to many and sets a great example of how to think critically and problem-solve day-to-day situations. He goes above and beyond to make things flow smoothly.

She lives closer to a larger medical facility but she works her because she wants to work at a smaller facility that affords her the opportunity to use all her skills as a nurse rather than risk losing nursing skills. She is funny, smart and compassionate, always helpful to her coworkers and caring to her patients.

She listens, encourages and challenges.

She has such a calm demeanor, is extremely caring and puts her focus on her patients’ overall needs – she embodies the holistic approach. She listens to patients and includes them in their care. She has given patients and their family members peace of mind as they navigate medical care, and she is calming and nurturing.

She has dedicated her life to enriching the lives of others. There is nothing she can’t handle.

She always makes sure every need is met before her job is done and is always there to listen to concerns with a positive resolution.

She was so kind and understanding and made sure I was ok throughout the procedure. I can’t thank her enough for all her kindness that day.

Please join me in taking an opportunity to thank our Winona Health nurses. They are truly appreciated, not just during National Nurses Week, but throughout the year. Our organization, and our community, would not be the same without all of our highly skilled, dedicated and compassionate nurses.

Rachelle Schultz, EdD

Through this digital column, I hope to shine a light on what we’re working on both internally and beyond our walls in collaboration with other community-focused organizations.

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