RFGH Nurse is 2016 MHA Caregiver of the Year

Released on 06/22/2016

Kelly Hughes Wheeler, RN, was at the end of her shift in the Birthing Center at Redington-Fairview General Hospital (RFGH), when a call came in asking for help with a very busy emergency room. 
 
Wheeler, the center’s nurse manager, volunteered even though it was time for her to go home.  She met a couple from Pennsylvania who had been in a serious auto accident.
 
“We had been on our way to visit a relative when the accident happened and there we were in an unknown hospital with no car (totaled), no cell phones, which were accidentally left behind, and knowing absolutely no one in Skowhegan,” the couple wrote the hospital later.  “(Wheeler) helped us make all the many calls that needed to be made in such an emergency; sister, insurance company, taxi, motel, the wrecked car towing facility, Enterprise Car Rental, etc., etc. and even found us a little something to eat to calm ourselves in the midst of all the trauma…She even knew which motel was near the Walmart where we could buy a Tracfone and the Enterprise Car Rental so we could get to our destination the next day.”
 
That story of going the extra mile is just one reason Wheeler has been selected the 2016 Maine Hospital Association (MHA) Caregiver of the Year.  The award was presented on Wednesday, June 22, at MHA’s annual Summer Forum at the Samoset Resort in Rockport. 
 
The Caregiver of the Year Award honors a caregiver from an MHA member institution who demonstrates extraordinary commitment to the delivery of care to patients and their families.
 
Wheeler has 24 years of experience as an obstetric (OB) nurse and has managed the RFGH OB department since 2010.  Her philosophy is that the birth experience is the most vivid memory a patient will ever have and that this memory will last forever.  She asks her students every day to answer the question, “What is your commitment to forever?  It is your choice as to how you will be remembered and how the birth stories you are involved with today will be retold.”
 
 
Wheeler jumps in to help everyone, whether they are her patients or not, said Sherry Rogers, chief nursing officer.  “Kelly’s passion is to provide the best possible experience for our patients and their families.  With no bias, Kelly always respectfully seeks to understand the patient’s wishes and will do whatever it takes to make those wishes come true.”
 
In nominating her, RFGH Chief Executive Officer Richard Willett said Wheeler understands the meaning of patient-centered care and always goes the extra mile for patients.
 
“Patients always right my ship,” Wheeler said.  “Whenever I have a bad day or question whether I’m making a difference, there is always a patient right around the corner that comes along and makes me realizes why I do what I do.”
 
 

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