Inspiring Stories

Methodist Nurse Provides The Meaning of Care by Mentoring Coworker

Published: Dec. 11, 2019

She came to Methodist Hospital as a travel nurse in 2014. But it didn’t take Kelly Stenwall, BSN, RN, long to decide it was where she wanted to stay.

“It was the people,” she said. “Nobody’s a number here. Not the patients. Not the staff.”

While she’s now an interventional radiology nurse, Stenwall worked on the hospital’s short stay unit for five years. That’s where she met nursing assistant Kelsey Beck, CNA. The two single moms clicked right away.

“She kept talking about advancing her career,” Stenwall said. “And it was all because she wanted to provide for her daughter. She was trying so hard to take care of her child.”

Stenwall could relate.

“I went to nursing school because I wanted a job in which I never had to worry about being without a job,” she said. “I, too, needed to take care of my kids.”

In helping Beck find the path she was meant for, Stenwall asked her: “What is it that you feel you’re good at?”

Patient care, Beck answered hesitantly. And Stenwall assured her she was right.  

Teacher, friend, role model

Beck, now halfway through nursing school, wrote a letter nominating Stenwall for The DAISY Award. In it, she credited Stenwall for her decision to pursue a nursing career.

“She always asked questions,” Stenwall said. “When she encountered problems in any of her classes, I’d say, ‘Slow down, let’s look at this.’ I’d stay longer sometimes, or we’d study over lunch breaks. At one point, I just said, ‘I’m going to teach you how to really study. Here are some 3-by-5 cards. Let’s set aside these hours. Let’s do this.’”

But as Beck explained in her letter, Stenwall didn’t go above and beyond for just her.

“She goes that extra mile for her patients and makes people feel so comfortable and safe,” Beck wrote. “There have been countless times where she gets this ‘feeling’ or intuition about a patient, and she ends up saving their life.”

Beck continued: “She embodies everything I want to be when I become a nurse.”

Stenwall wiped away tears as Beck’s words were read aloud at her DAISY Award Celebration, and she nodded her head as she recalled certain parts of the letter. She didn’t realize the guidance she so routinely provided had such an impact on the young aspiring nurse.

“Any time she came in as I was assessing a patient, I always explained the why of what I was doing,” Stenwall said. “Sometimes I’d say, ‘I can’t tell you why this time – other than experience or intuition that says this to me. Other times, I’d say, ‘If you ever see this, be sure to let your nurse know.’ I guess I just thought it was helping us all take better care of patients.”

“Setting people up for success”

While Stenwall is familiar with The Meaning of Care that’s shown to patients, Beck’s letter helped her realize that it’s actually shown to everyone at Methodist.

“It means treating people how you want to be treated,” she said. “And that includes setting people up for success – patients or coworkers. That’s important for anyone here.”

Stenwall, who’s ever proud of her friend for pursuing such a career, has no doubts she’ll make an excellent nurse one day.

“When I’m older and need a nurse to take care of me, I really hope it’s someone like Kelsey,” she said. “She knows what it takes. But more importantly, she has the heart.”

And Stenwall now has a constant reminder of that over her heart – a shiny DAISY pin.

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About the Author

Jessica Gill, the External Communications Manager for Methodist Health System, is a former television news anchor and journalist. She has a passion for story-telling and illustrating Methodist’s Meaning of Care.

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