When I first started, she found me in tears related to the stress of the job and my home life. She only knew me for three short months yet wrapped her arms around me, sat me down and reassured me that she was confident in my skills as a nurse. So, I stayed. I've watched as she has also done this with all new nurses who come to our floor. She welcomes them with kindness and an open heart. Her fairness is undeniably one of her best qualities. She makes sure to challenge new nurses to help them grow, always aware of what their needs are to strengthen their skills.
I've watched her maintain contact with the director of nursing explaining that she would not accept another scheduled procedure for that time as we did not have the staff to adequately care for the added patients safely. Donna would not sway. She believes each patient deserves and requires her nurses to give the highest possible quality of care.
One morning as I was leaving, there was a patient whose fetal heart tones were down and required an emergency c-section. Donna calmly picked up the phone and called those who needed to be on our floor. She did this with the composure of a true leader while directing her staff to get the job done. This is a true gift!
I've witnessed her advocating for exceptional patient care even when it comes potential disagreements with physicians. She always fights for what's best for our patients.
Donna has worked at SSM Health for almost 40 years and is planning to retire in February 2018. I'm fortunate that I'm able to serve under her, for she has strengthened my skills not only as a nurse but also in my personal life. She is my mentor and a true friend.