Diane Dering brings to UPMC Children’s Hospital her compassion, positive attitude, dedication, professionalism, and years of nursing experience; these are but a fraction of the many amazing qualities she possesses. She consistently goes above and beyond what is asked of her, oftentimes pushing herself so that others are not burdened or inconvenienced, and always does so with a smile on her face. She is quick to offer help to others, find a resolution to a difficult problem, and she never hesitates to question a physician’s order if she believes it may place a patient at risk. But most importantly, she does all this and more with genuine satisfaction. Her actions are always in the interest of the patients, their families, and her colleagues as well. I know that when we are nominating a nurse for this prestigious award, we are to recount a story about the individual that defines the spirit of nursing. However, it is difficult to recall just one story about a time when Diane went above and beyond for a patient. This is because, and without hyperbole, there are simply far too many. Exceeding in her caregiving is not merely a one-time occurrence, nor is it reserved for when a patient is feeling down and needs to be cheered up.
Diane’s altruistic nature is ever-present with every single patient that she comes in contact with. I could mention how she consistently keeps the unit candy dish filled, how she tends to all patients, not just her own, and ensures that they are accommodated, or how even a task such as a dressing change is never a task to her, but rather, a labor of love. I could mention countless evenings that Diane has stayed late to ensure that her patients and their families were not only satisfied but eternally grateful as well. I could mention a time when a well-known patient was admitted after many years, and how Diane remembered in great detail their interests and coordinated with child-life specialists to obtain zoo tickets for them. Diane performs all these deeds with great humility and absolute selflessness.
I could probably write a book on all the times Diane made a difference in someone’s life and I would still be forgetting some. There is no single defining moment in her career that patients, families, and healthcare providers will always remember her for. This is because Diane is unquestionably greater than the sum of her actions, and will instead be remembered because her name is synonymous with benevolence. It is for this reason and more that I am recommending her for this prestigious award because when I think of Diane, I think of how empty the unit feels without her; similar to how the world doesn’t feel as warm and bright when the sun is hidden by the clouds.
I think of how patients and families ask where she is on her days off and how they are disheartened by her absence. It is simply not enough to say that Diane is caring, compassionate, knowledgeable, and wise because although all of these descriptors are true, they truly do not do her justice. Diane's spirit is truly that of a nurse, and we are ever thankful and fortunate for having her as part of the dialysis team and a part of UPMC Children’s Hospital.