DAISY Award winner Jill Willis, RN: 30 years of making a difference
Jill Willis always wanted to make a difference.
“I wanted to be in a profession where I felt like my life would mean something to someone else. I wanted it to matter that I was here,” she said.
Nursing called to her and for the past 32 years, Jill has had an impact as a nurse in a range of units, including as a psychiatric nurse, in intensive care and the emergency department, and as a patient advocate.
For the past four years, she has worked at MultiCare Auburn Medical Center’s Family Birth Unit, where her years of experience made a decided difference for a patient and a coworker.
For that, Jill was recognized in May 2020 with the DAISY Award for extraordinary nurses.
The award recognized Jill for her nursing skills, compassionate care and for going above-and-beyond what was expected in her work.
Handling a frightening patient situation
The DAISY Award nomination was submitted by an advanced registered nurse practitioner, who said it was a blessing to have Jill on the floor on one particular day.
“I was walking back to my office when a patient came out of her room. She was wrapped in a blanket, incoherent,” the nominator wrote. “She walked quickly down the hall, away from the nursing station. She did not make eye contact. Mumbling, she said she needed her meds as she slid to the floor.
“Help arrived and she was greeted by Jill, our charge nurse. Still somewhat incoherent, she told Jill she wanted her meds. Jill, a former gifted psych nurse, got on the floor in front of her and spoke in a soft but firm, non-threatening voice. She guided this mother into a plan that included getting her meds and controlling her behavioral.
“The interaction took 15 to 20 minutes, but Jill’s skill in defusing this situation made the mother and staff feel safe. Jill set safe limits for the mother. She was compassionate and firm, yet gentle. The mother responded positively and was able to regain her sense of self. The interaction was frightening for me but a well-thought-out process for Jill. It brought me to tears. I am thankful for my coworker.”
Award ceremony and surprise Facetime guest
Tears flowed during the DAISY Award celebration honoring Jill May 13.
“Jill, I’m not going to cry,” said Jody Walker, nurse manager at Auburn’s Family Birth Center, as she honored Willis. “Jill is an amazing bedside nurse, an amazing charge nurse and an amazing nurse.”
Walker dabbed her eyes as she read the nomination that honored Jill.
Chief Nurse Executive Lucy Norris presented Jill with the DAISY Award certificate, pin and coveted hand-carved statue from the DAISY Award Foundation and discussed the significance of the items and the history of the foundation.
Afterward, Jill heard from a surprise guest speaker. Her father, 95-year-old Bill “Steve” Stevenson attended the ceremony on Facetime, along with Jill’s husband.
“Hi Sweetheart,” her dad said. “I’m very proud of you. I’ve always been proud of you, but this one is out of the gate.”
Cue the tears. Staff Chaplain Bruce Wilson passed out tissues to the group of seasoned nurses.
“This is the year of the nurse, just days after we celebrated the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale, and now we get to honor you, Jill,” said Rose Atkins, Auburn’s clinical director.
Jill thanked everyone and said, “One of the best things about being a nurse is the other people you meet in this incredible profession.”
The DAISY Award is presented at MultiCare hospitals in the South Sound and Inland Northwest regions, and honors licensed nursing professionals in more than 2,000 health care facilities worldwide for outstanding patient care, clinical skills and extraordinary compassion in nursing.
About The Author
Melissa Campbell is the communication specialist for MultiCare Auburn and Covington medical centers. You may reach her at [email protected].More stories by this author