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Helping to save lives

CRMC and ICU nurse receive Excellence in Donation awards

Midwest Transplant Network (MTN) staff members recognize their partners in saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation by presenting the Excellence in Donation Award. This award can be given to hospitals and individuals from organizations in our community who go above and beyond in their work to support donations. The gift of life, given through donation, would not be possible without these people.

On May 7, MTN recognized CRMC for its exceptional contributions to organ and tissue donation. Also recognized for excellence was Aaron Shoemaker, RN, who, after realizing the potential to save a life, referred his patient to MTN. This award came as a shock to him, as it was just another day for him providing care to a patient, not done for the recognition.

Shoemaker is a registered nurse in the intensive care unit (ICU) and has been with CRMC since September 2017. He was honored at an awards ceremony in Kansas City on May 18. Kelly Prenger-Benn, Supervisor of the ICU/PCU, and Glenda Dahlstrom, Vice President of Nursing, accepted the award for the hospital.

A shining record

It should come as no surprise that this was not the first award bestowed upon Shoemaker. He has received two Shining Star awards. The Star Award is a program at CRMC that recognizes individuals who demonstrate excellent customer service or identify service improvement ideas and processes, which go above and beyond what is normally expected.

Shoemaker was first nominated for a Shining Star award last December by a patient who battled COVID-19 pneumonia that led to acute respiratory distress. Shoemaker’s kindness, ability to instill hope and great nursing skills were just a few things his patient says kept her alive. Being a retired nurse herself, she was honest in admitting that she was a difficult patient, but that didn’t stop Shoemaker from delivering outstanding care. The patient’s daughter appreciated the time he took with her as well, keeping her updated and helping her understand what was going on. The patient says she will pray for Shoemaker every day, because he was her angel.

The following month, in January, Shoemaker was again nominated for a Shining Star award—this time by the child of a patient who recalled their father’s time in the ICU as a patient of Shoemaker’s. They say he was caring, compassionate, informative and always willing to answer questions.

"I felt like he treated my father just like he was a member of his own family," they share.

Steps to success

We asked Shoemaker what made him pursue a career in health care, and he shared his journey with us. He started as an aide before becoming a certified nursing assistant, or CNA. Following vocational school, he advanced to a licensed practical nurse (LPN). In 1991, he received his nursing degree from Missouri Southern State College (now known as MSSU).

Looking back on the past 30 years, Shoemaker says: "Nursing is very much the same and yet very different. It continues to be a career full of amazing opportunities. I enjoy nursing and providing care with compassion to my patients, the way I would care for a family member. I enjoy caring for others with dignity, respect, compassion and humor."

Shoemaker also thanks Tara Whittington for the nomination, MTN for the award and CRMC for "being such an excellent employer and health care provider."

Shoemaker exemplifies CRMC’s commitment to provide patient care that is second to none, while making every effort to ensure that each patient receives top-quality care that is safe, effective, efficient and timely.

Categories: Compassionate care

Stellar care

Would you like to recognize a staff member who has demonstrated exceptional service? Nominate a star at crmc.org/forms/star-award.

Nominate a star!

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