When Stephanie Wise accepted the position as chief nursing officer at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, her first priority was to help lighten the workload of the nurses and learn how to best support them.

Wise was brought on as vice president and chief nursing officer in April 2020 during the first months of the pandemic. She started her career working as a nurse in pediatric hematology/oncology at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, and later worked in critical care and emergency medicine for more than 10 years. She was most recently division vice president of nursing operations for HealthONE, overseeing nine hospitals in Denver and Wichita.

When Wise got to AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, she met with nurses and other team members and worked alongside them on the frontline. She said it helped her to learn more about the culture of the organization.

“I wanted to support them in any way I could,” she says. “It’s been a wonderful experience to put scrubs on and work with them. It was an opportunity to see the challenges they have and find out how we can support them, since I’m their advocate on the executive team.”

COVID has presented challenges they haven’t seen before, Wise adds. She was particularly impressed by how the nurses support each other across the different departments. Departments in tower 3 often reach out to towers 1 and 2 to find out how they can help. Wise says some nurse team members were sending meals to those who were working in COVID units.

“There is such love and compassion that’s uniting our nursing team,” she says. “They’re willing to step out of their comfort zones to help their team with whatever they need, which has been so wonderful to see.”

That willingness to go the extra mile is especially evident in patient care, says Wise. The nursing team members regularly step in to provide support when family members aren’t able to be with their loved ones.

“They’re spending time holding the patients’ hands and providing the comfort that’s needed during that time,” says Wise. “They are sometimes spending the last moments together with patients. It’s a special honor and privilege to spend those moments with someone, but it’s also a heavy weight to carry.”

In recognition of the nursing team’s compassion and care for their patients and each other, AdventHealth Shawnee Mission began giving out the DAISY Award to team members in 2020. The DAISY award, through the national DAISY Foundation, provides ongoing recognition to nurses, who are nominated for their exemplary care by patients, families or colleagues.

Lauren Haupt, patient care supervisor, worked to establish the DAISY award at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission. She brought the idea to Wise, who was familiar with the award from her previous hospital and thought it was a wonderful idea in helping to recognize the nursing team’s compassionate care.

“It’s extremely emotional, because the nurses often don’t realize the impact that they have on others,” she says. “It gives them a chance to be recognized for their compassion that they provide to patients and families on a daily basis.”

Wise says she’s proud to work alongside the team and that she hopes to find ways to help support their incredible outcomes and continue to unite as a nursing workforce.

“Our team shines in their compassion and commitment to mission,” says Wise. “They truly are living the hospital’s mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ.”

For more information on AdventHealth services, visit AdventHealthKC.com.

Ann Muder is a writer for AdventHealth Shawnee Mission.