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Three Rice nurses honored for impact on patients

WILLMAR — Three registered nurses at Rice Memorial Hospital were honored this past week for making a difference in the lives of their patients.

Monica Rohner, Jeannine Dahl and Karen Janssen were chosen by a panel of judges for exemplifying the skills and compassion that nurses bring to patient care. Nominations for the annual award are made by patients and families.

Rohner, the recipient of the first-place award, has been an obstetrics nurse in the Rice Hospital women’s and children’s unit since 2003. She was nominated by Marny Behrends of Clara City for the care Behrends experienced when her first child was born in September.

In her nomination letter, Behrends wrote that she went through three days of hard labor and ultimately had a C-section. For a first-time mother, it was frightening and unexpected but Rohner was at her side throughout those three days, consistently showing compassion, respect and professionalism, Behrends wrote.

“She respected my wishes, my opinions, and just helped to make me feel like I really mattered to her — no matter what,” she wrote.

Although all the OB nurses she met at Rice were outstanding for their caring and professionalism, Rohner stood out for her role in helping make a difficult situation as close to the ideal experience as it could be, Behrends wrote. “She deserves to know that she really did make a world of difference to me.”

Rohner worked as a registered nurse at the Willmar Regional Treatment Center before joining the women’s and children’s unit at Rice Hospital. She is certified in neonatal resuscitation and is a sexual assault nurse examiner. She also is a pregnancy loss counselor and volunteers as a preceptor for the hospital’s new nursing staff.

Dahl, the second-place winner and an intensive care unit nurse, was nominated by Ronnie and Berdelle Ingeman of Atwater for her care while Berdelle was hospitalized in the intensive care unit in the summer of 2013. Berdelle, who was on the Rice Hospital nursing staff for many years, died in January. She and her husband submitted their nomination before her death.

Dahl was calm and encouraging as she provided care and kept the couple informed about what was happening, Berdelle wrote. Her husband told her he could feel how compassionate Dahl was, she wrote. “He said that Jeannine would walk in the room and there was a calming influence.”

Dahl didn’t hesitate to show leadership, nor did she hesitate to get wet while helping her patient take a shower, Ingeman wrote. “The patient is number one for Jeannine.”

Dahl has been an intensive care unit nurse at Rice Hospital since 1990. She also has nursing experience on the staff at Appleton Municipal Hospital. She is certified in advanced life support and serves as a preceptor to new nurses at Rice and on several hospital care committees.

Janssen, the third-place winner, was nominated by Crystal DeVore of Benson for her care during the birth of the DeVores’ twin babies this past February.

Janssen “went above and beyond” in helping prepare the new parents to bring their babies home, DeVore wrote. When the infants had to be readmitted with jaundice, “we were so relieved to see who else but Karen was again assigned to help us out. … We were a little overwhelmed to be back in the hospital but knew we were in the right place,” she wrote.

Janssen was respectful, ethical and caring, she wrote. Although the couple was happy to have their twins discharged a couple of days later, “we were sad to say goodbye to Karen,” she wrote. “She was great to us and it truly helped our experience be as positive as possible.”

Janssen joined the Rice Hospital nursing staff in 1982 and has been with the pediatrics unit since 1998. She is certified in pediatric life support, helps coordinate the summer nursing intern committee and is a preceptor for new nursing staff.

The award recipients and the nominating families were honored at a lunch May 6, held in conjunction with National Nurses Week and the hospital’s annual employee recognition celebration.

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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