‘There Was So Much Comfort’: Methodist Women’s Hospital Nurse Honored With The DAISY AwardPublished: Nov. 9, 2021
When Emily Kahm went into labor two weeks before her due date, she wasn’t prepared for her trip to the hospital. Neither she nor her husband took a tour of the facility, and plans for their families coming to visit didn’t align with the early surprise. In addition to it not fitting her timeline, Emily feared she would be told that she wasn’t actually in labor and sent home.
Despite the initial distress, Emily’s anxiety lulled at Methodist Women’s Hospital, thanks to the care she received from labor and delivery nurse Kassi Wright, BSN, RN, RNC-OB, C-EFM. And for that extraordinary care, Emily nominated Wright for The DAISY Award, which honors nurses for their skill and compassion.
Full of Passion for Nursing
Wright’s passion for nursing blossomed when she was young. Whenever she was asked throughout elementary school what she wanted to be when she grew up, her response never wavered: a labor and delivery nurse.
“I was the weird kid always looking through medical books to look at the pictures,” Wright said. “I would buy all of these childbirth books and look at pictures of fetal development and birth – which would embarrass my teenage babysitters.”
Now a decade into her professional career, Wright continues to love being a nurse and finds that the best part of her job is the relationships she’s able to develop with her patients. She even remains friends with former patients and relishes the opportunity to watch their children grow.
One secret to building those connections, she said, is paying special attention to each patient. Wright believes that her top priority as a nurse is letting her patients know that she’ll take them seriously.
“It’s really important to make sure that you’re really listening to them and their concerns and needs, and that you are taking the time to address those and make sure that they feel heard and comfortable,” she said.
It wasn’t hard for Emily to realize that Wright listened attentively. Any time Emily or her husband had questions, needs or expectations, Wright found ways to make things happen.
“She heard everything,” Emily said. “We didn’t have to repeat ourselves. We didn’t feel like we had to defend any choices or explain ourselves. It was, ‘If that’s what you want, then that’s what we’ll do. I’ll get it done.’”
Present, Not Obtrusive
As a professor of theology at the College of Saint Mary, Emily admits that she doesn’t know much about the medical field and can feel uncomfortable in hospital settings. But her experience with Wright was a pleasant relief.
“There was just so much comfort; it was so much more relaxed than I think labors have any reason to be,” Emily said. “I think a lot of that was that she was just quietly there. She was just there with us and waiting to see what happened.”
The concept of being present is something Wright learned when she started her career.
“I was taught that it’s very important to stay at the bedside with our patients and just be present with them,” she said. “It gives patients a peace of mind if they know you’re watching things and you’re there if they have questions, versus if you’re sitting out at the nurses’ station and the patients don’t know what you can or can’t see.”
Emily also felt that Wright understood the perfect balance of being there for both her and her husband while still giving them space.
“For a lot of the labor, especially after I got the epidural, she was just hanging out in the room with us, but she had this magic way of being obviously there – so we never felt like we were even abandoned –but not obtrusive,” she said. “Me and my husband were busting out the laptop and watching goofy sitcoms just to keep ourselves relaxed, and we never had the sense that we shouldn’t do that because she was in the room. It felt like we could just do whatever it was we needed because she was handling everything else.”
After Emily’s unexpected nomination, Wright was honored with The DAISY Award last month at the hospital.
“I was super surprised to be nominated for the award, just because I felt like I didn’t do anything special,” Wright said. “I took care of her just like I would have any of my other patients.”
While it may have been routine for the humble nurse, Emily wanted to make sure that Wright received the recognition she deserved.
“I want her to know that her work really matters and that the way she carries herself as a professional and as a person absolutely changes a patient’s experience,” Emily said. “And in my case, it changes the way I’m going to have a memory for the rest of my life. I’m never going to forget what it was like having my second child, and she’s always going to be a part of that.”