SVHC Announces First DAISY Team Award

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Brylle de la Cruz, RN; Donna Gunther, RN; Ruth Rudnick, RN, director of Renal Dialysis; Paula Seaman, MSN, DA, RN, director of Quality, Safety, Value, and Education; Pamela Duchene, PhD, APRN, vice president for Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer; and Tammie Bruso, RN
BENNINGTON, Vt. — The Renal Dialysis team at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), was the recipient of the DAISY Team Award for Extraordinary Nurses in September. 
This was the first time SVMC has honored a team with a DAISY award.
"Renal nurses see their patients three times a week and so have an opportunity to make an extraordinary impact," said Pamela Duchene, SVHC's chief nursing officer and vice president for Patient Care Services. "The Renal nurses at SVMC translate every bit of that time into quality interactions. That makes a big positive difference in the lives of their patients."
Duchene presented the award during a surprise presentation in the Renal Dialysis Unit at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC).
The group was nominated by a patient who had been under their care for two years. The nomination included descriptions of each of the nurses' positive qualities, including knowledge, compassion, good humor, and moral integrity.
The patient relayed a story within the nomination. Before COVID, one of the nurse's young children stopped by the unit with his other parent for a quick hello. The toddler was just beginning to learn to blow kisses, and he blew his first kiss to the patient.
"I will never forget it," the patient wrote.
"We are so honored to become important people in patients' lives and honored as they become important to us," said Ruth Rudnick, RN, the department's director. "These emotional ties are part of what makes our jobs so fun and rewarding."
The Renal Dialysis Department is made up of 17 staff members. Together, they offer dialysis care to approximately 45 patients over 6 days each week. The unit holds has earned both a deficiency-free survey and a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In addition, 100 percent of the department's registered nurses hold a bachelor's degree and are certified in their specialty.
The DAISY Award is part of a national merit-based recognition program established by the DAISY Foundation. It celebrates nurses' education, training, and skill. Nominations can be submitted by patients, families, physicians, and colleagues. All nominations are blinded, so that they are anonymous before being reviewed by a selection committee. One nurse is then chosen as the DAISY Award winner. DAISY Awards are presented on a regular basis, usually bi-monthly or quarterly.

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SVHC Launches Website for Emergency Department Renovation Project

BENNINGTON, Vt. — A $25.8 million project to renovate and expand the Emergency Department and Main Entrance of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), requires a lot of coordination and communication.
The health system has launched a website to facilitate sharing news and developments about the project directly with patients. The website is located at
"We want to share the excitement of this important project with our community," said Ray E. Smith, the administrative director of Corporate Development and public information officer for SVHC. "Additionally, the website and our ongoing communications will provide key updates to assist patients as they navigate our hospital campus during construction."
The new website includes a project summary, photos and videos, illustrated designs of what the new Emergency Department will look like, a parking map, a project timeline, and recent updates.  In addition to the website, SVHC will change directional signage and publish regular updates to the local media, social media, and its weekly e-mail newsletter.
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