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Rice nurses honored for making a difference

From left: Larissa Nieland, April Beerman, Shelley Castillo. (Note: you can run this as one photo or crop into 3 separate mugs.)

WILLMAR — Three Rice Memorial Hospital nurses were recognized last week for demonstrating excellence in the practice of nursing and patient care.

Shelley Castillo, April Beerman and Larissa Nieland received the My Nurse Made the Difference award, given annually during National Nurses Week. Winners are nominated by patients and families and chosen by a panel of judges.

Castillo, the third-place winner, has been at nurse at Rice Hospital in Willmar since 2002 and works in ambulatory care and adult health. She was nominated by Viva Telford for the care she provided through a difficult two years that included multiple health issues and a serious home fire.

Castillo "went above and beyond anything I have experienced," Telford wrote in her nomination letter.

She was compassionate and accepting, provided test results promptly and helped the patient and family feel at ease, Telford wrote.

"Sometimes just doing your job excellently on a day-to-day basis and positively affecting the lives of others needs to be recognized and appreciated," Telford wrote.

Castillo earned her nursing degree from Minnesota State University at Mankato. She is certified in medical surgical nursing and advanced life support and is trained in hospice and telemetry.

Beerman, the second-place winner, was nominated by Cassandra Ruschen. She was the labor and delivery nurse for the Ruschens' second child this year and for their oldest son two years ago as well.

Beerman remembered the family and welcomed them, putting them instantly at ease, Ruschen wrote. She answered their questions, calmed them and helped them feel safe, she wrote.

Her shift was supposed to end before the baby was delivered, but sensing that the patient didn't want her to leave, Beerman stayed through the birth. "That to me is the best demonstration of excellence. She put her patient's needs and wants above her own," Ruschen wrote.

Beerman started in health care as a patient care associate, then earned licensed practical nursing and associate nursing degrees. She joined the Rice Hospital nursing staff in 2014 and works in the women's and children's unit. She is certified in advanced life support.

Nieland, the first-place winner, has worked in the adult health unit at Rice since 2011. She was nominated by Tricia Thompson for her care of Thompson's father during his final days.

She was patient, compassionate and cared about him as a person, not just as a patient, Thompson wrote in her nomination letter.

She also supported the whole family, answering their questions and helping them understand everything that was happening.

"Larissa was very knowledgeable and took her work very seriously, but it was her warm personality that meant so much to us. She felt like a friend," Thompson wrote.

Nieland began her health care career as a nursing assistant at the Rice Care Center. She later worked as a medical assistant, phlebotomist and medical records transcriptionist before earning her LPN and associate degrees at Ridgewater College. She has been with the adult medical unit at Rice since 2011.

Award winners, their families and the writers of the winning letters were honored last week at a luncheon hosted by Rice Hospital.

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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