Gentle Touch and Kind Heart: Meet the Nurse of the Year

Sue Stone, RN, is named Nurse of the Year
Riley NICU Nurse Sue Stone is named Nurse of the Year

Today in honor of Nurses Week, we introduce you to Riley Newborn ICU Nurse Sue Stone, who was recently honored with “Lifetime of Compassion” and “Nurse of the Year” awards by the Indianapolis Star and Star Media.

Sue, who began her nursing career in 1982 and joined Riley in 1990, was chosen from among 700 nominees from multiple hospitals. No fewer than 45 people wrote nomination letters explaining why Sue deserved to receive this honor. Here is one of those letters, written by ECMO (infant life support) clinician Paula Miller, RN.

“Sue was a charge nurse on our 56-bed NICU from 2003 until 2011 when she went part-time. Being a charge nurse on a unit as large as ours is a daunting task, and one that our beloved Sue handled with ease. There was never a crisis that she couldn’t either avert or handle with ease and diplomacy. Staffing was never a problem, because no one could ever say no to sweet Sue when she called with a need.

Developmental care for the tiniest, sickest patients was always her passion, so Sue created and chaired the Developmental Care Committee on our unit, researching and putting in many hours of her own time to make a difference for our fragile babies. Families always love Sue for her gentle touch and kind heart, and have given her Red Shoe Awards, a special award given by Riley families to exceptional staff members who have made a difference to them and their children.

Several years ago a very sick baby was admitted to our Newborn ICU on a weekend night. It was determined that the baby’s diagnosis was not compatible with life, and the next morning his mother was released early to be with her baby when he passed away. The father came also, bringing with him a young, frightened toddler. Since small children cannot visit our unit due to infection risk, the grieving parents would have had to take turns visiting their dying baby.

Fortunately for the family, our Sue was in charge of our unit that day. She took the scared little girl to the Charge office with her. Sue spent most of her day running our unit from the office while caring for the little girl without anyone else on our unit even being aware. Around midday, she called me and asked if I could come to the office for a moment. The little girl’s diaper had leaked on Sue’s scrubs, but that was the only problem. Sue had retrieved toys, diapers, dry clothing, and snacks from other units and the little girl was playing happily on Grandma Sue’s lap. As always for Sue, our unit ran smoothly that day.”

We extend our deepest thanks to Sue for her extraordinary commitment to Riley families, and to all nurses who devote their careers and their hearts to taking care of patients.

To make a gift to Riley in honor of a special nurse, click here and make sure to fill in the Tribute Information section of our donation form. Please include the nurse’s name and the Riley Hospital address: 705 Riley Hospital Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46202.

Riley Blogger

The Riley Blog is written and/or edited by members of the Riley Children's Foundation Communications Staff.

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