Faith Beegle of Beaver Falls was working her normal shift as a registered nurse at Heritage Valley Sewickley when her day took an unexpected turn.
When she and the other nurses on duty were summoned to the front desk, Ms. Beegle said she feared that they were in trouble for something.
Much to her happy surprise, it was announced to everyone that she had been named a Heritage Valley Health System 2013 Cameo of Caring Awardee.
"I was literally shocked at first, but now I'm just completely honored," she said. "I'm so happy and so excited about it."
Ms. Beegle and the other awardees will be honored Nov. 2 at the 15th Annual Cameos of Caring Awards Gala at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.
The Cameos of Caring Award honors exceptional bedside nurses who work in acute care hospitals. Recipients must demonstrate a commitment to consistent, evidenced-based clinical decision-making and excellence in nursing care; serve as an effective advocate for patients and their families; encourage and motivate others; and be recognized as a role model for the profession of nursing.
They must also practice nursing involving direct patient care, be a licensed RN and be a direct employee of the hospital.
Ms. Beegle was nominated by some of the nurses who work with her on the Progressive Care Unit. Ms. Beegle described her co-workers as awesome and said they all work together like family.
"We stick together. Everybody helps everybody because it's a very, very, very fast-paced unit," she said.
Ms. Beegle described the Progressive Care Unit as a step-down unit for patients who have left the intensive care unit and are awaiting transfer to either their home or another nursing facility.
Many of her patients are cardiac patients and are on heart monitors, Ms. Beegle said, but the unit sees a variety of conditions.
"It's not fun being in the hospital, so I try to do what I can to make their stay not quite so bad," she said. "I do whatever I can to try to take their mind off of it for a little bit."
She will often work with the same patient over a period of time and said she enjoys watching them progress from not being able to get out of bed to walking, talking and feeling better.
At times, she said, she gets too attached to her patients and recalled a recent patient who had a recurrence of lung cancer and had to be transferred to hospice care. While the patient was under her care, she said, she bond with the woman and her family and it was heartbreaking when she left.
"I just hope that she wasn't quite as miserable as she could have been because I tried my best to help her out and help the family," she said.
Ms. Beegle first felt called to care for people as a career while working as a medical secretary at a pediatrician's office, where she said she enjoyed watching nurses help children and put their parents at ease.
While there, she said, many of the nurses expressed their love for the profession and encouraged her to get her nursing degree. With her background in medical transcription and experience in a medical office, Ms. Beegle said it was a natural process.
It turned out to be a natural fit, too.
"I love the people I work with, and I love my patients," she said. "I really enjoy taking care of people."
Shannon M. Nass, freelance writer: email@example.com.