The Frist Humanitarian Awards: Employees
Employee Recipient: Kim Bass, RN, Palms West Hospital, Loxahatchee, FL
When Kim Bass was young, she didn’t like hospitals; just walking into one could make her faint. Thirty years later, there’s nowhere she feels more at home.
“When I was in nursing school and got to labor and delivery, I just knew,” she says. “With OB, it’s happening now. You get to help women at their most vulnerable point, and you have to take control and reassure them. It’s the mama in me that loves making sure they know they’re taken care of.”
That mission is something Bass lives in her personal life as well. Over the years, she and her husband have fostered or housed more than a dozen children, in addition to raising three biological kids of their own. One child, at only 11 years old, was placed with the Basses after being removed from a traumatic family situation that resulted in pregnancy. Bass cared for the girl — as a foster mother and a nurse — through her pregnancy, during her delivery and as the girl made the difficult decision to give her child up for adoption. It’s never easy, Bass says, but a life of service is all she’s ever known.
“When my grandmother retired, she bought a farm and became a foster parent to handicapped children,” Bass remembers. “She took them to the Special Olympics; she cooked with them; they called her ‘mama.’ So then with the children who came through our house, I treated them like they were my kids, but I always understood that they weren’t. I did what I could for them while they were here and then let them go when it was time.”
Bass is a natural at guiding people, whatever she’s doing. She acted as a counselor and nurse at church camp for many years; at the hospital, she mentors nursing students, trains new nurses, and serves as a resource for colleagues; she teaches prenatal classes to underprivileged women in the community; and, after 27 years of service at Palms West Hospital, she still finds new ways to lead, recently helping train employees in the implementation of a new OB-documentation system. Bass says she is simply doing what she can with what she’s given.
“I really don’t want any credit for any of this,” she says. “I try to live my life serving God, and that can’t be done without serving people.”
Employee Finalist: Martha Langham, RN, Medical Center of McKinney, McKinney, TX
Everyone knows Martha Langham to be generous, but until recently, few knew how far that generosity goes.
Years ago, Langham and her husband, Jack, became acquainted with a young disabled woman, Naila, who lives in Pakistan. She and her young daughter lived with nine other family members in a one-room building in a poor, dangerous village. She needed vocational training but had nowhere to go for help.
The Langhams stepped in: they taught Naila English via Skype; they provided her family with funds to move to a safer city and find an apartment; and they provided her with tuition and books so she could get the training she needed to find a job.
Today, Naila is employed, and helping to provide for her family. Her 12-year-old daughter is getting an education at the Langham School of Leadership, an academy the Langhams started for local girls and boys and which currently has 150 students.
As executive director of process improvement for MCM, she enhances quality efforts while constantly uplifting everyone around her. Last year, she helped start a new church where she plays every role from Bible study leader to music minister.
“Retirement is something she discusses and always puts away for many reasons, one of which is that her continued employment provides support to four families in Uganda and Pakistan,” says Dr. Kimberley Hatchel, CNO. “So the true obstacle to retirement is that as great as Martha and Jack’s love is, they love others more.”
Employee Finalist: Nancy Susco, RN, Reston Hospital Center, Reston, VA
When tragedy strikes, most people just try to live through it, but for people like Nancy Susco, grief becomes a motivator.
Nine years ago, Susco lost her 25-year-old son, Tim, to a ruptured brain aneurysm. Her family turned their pain into an awareness movement for brain aneurysm research and organ donation. (Tim was an organ donor, and the Suscos wanted to educate the community on the hope donation offers, especially after having met some of Tim’s organ recipients.)
They started with the Susco 8K: Running with Tim, a local race and awareness event that has raised $350,000 to date. Susco joined the Fairfax Commission on Organ and Tissue Donation and also partnered with the Washington Regional Transplant Community to produce an awareness- boosting video.
“There truly aren’t enough words to express what an impact Nancy has had, not only on the team at Reston, but in the community,” says John Deardor , CEO.
Susco, who has served Reston Hospital Center for 29 years as a nurse and as director of the surgical unit, is finishing up her MSN from George Mason University. She also serves as one of the community’s Sexual Abuse Nurse Examiners.
“Nancy Susco is the kind of nurse any hospital would be fortunate to have,” says Deardor . “Reston Hos- pital Center would not be the place it is today without her. Her ambition and drive to continuously support the community can’t be matched.”
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