NAHC Honors the 2014 Home Care & Hospice Nurse of the Year
This year’s winner has close to thirty years experience working as a hospice nurse in South Dakota
October 22, 2014 09:24 AM
Andrea L. Devoti, Chairman, NAHC Board of Directors; Mary Pistulka, RN, BSN, CHPN, Hospice Coordinator, Avera@Home, Yankton, South Dakota; and Denise R. Schrader, Chair, Home Healthcare Nurses Association
The 2014 Home Care & Hospice Nurse of the Year was announced and honored earlier this week during one of the general sessions of NAHC’s 2014 Annual Meeting & Exposition. Denise R. Schrader, Chair, Home Healthcare Nurses Association introduced Mary Pistulka, RN, BSN, CHPN, Hospice Coordinator, Avera@Home, Yankton, South Dakota as this year’s winner. Ms. Pistulka has over 26 years experience as a hospice nurse at Avera@Home.
This year's Nurse of the Year was highly praised by her employer, Avera@Home. The organization's President and CEO Sandy Dieleman said that, “Mary has set the bar high for nearly three decades in home health and hospice care. Her unwavering love for her patients, their families, and the mission of Avera, is evident in all that Mary does. We at Avera@Home are so proud of her for receiving this honor. Mary exemplifies everything that’s great about patient-centered health care. This honor is well deserved.”
The 2014 Home Care and Hospice Nurse of the Year award was presented by Denise Schrader, Chairman, Home Healthcare Nurses Association; Andrea L. Devoti, Chairman, NAHC Board of Directors, and NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris. This is the third year that NAHC has honored a Home Care & Hospice Nurse of the Year.
“A nation is what it honors, and it is time we celebrated the silent band of heroes who give their all to care for America's sick and dying as if they were extended family,” said Mr. Halamandaris. “These honorees have distinguished themselves by fighting on behalf of the aged, ill, and disabled. They have strived to ensure that every person, no matter their age, income, or health, has the right to enjoy the freedoms guaranteed all Americans in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. This includes the right to receive care at home and to die there with dignity.”
The Home Care and Hospice Nurse of the Year is determined based on a national vote that includes nurses from all 50 states. Those 50 nurses are chosen by a selection committee that reviews all of the submissions across the country and chooses the top nurse from each state.
Ms. Pistulka recalls working with one particularly memorable patient - a seasoned truck driver with end stage COPD. “He always knew exactly what he wanted, whether it was driving a riding motor or smoking. Often it was not something the hospice team thought would be best, but we did support his wish to avoid going to a nursing home,” said this year’s Nurse of the Year. “By gradually gaining his trust, and mediating several team/patient meetings, I was able to convince my patient to make some compromises. As a result, he was able to remain home with his beloved wife and spend his last days there with the continued support of hospice.”