When Stacey Hines learned that her family’s favorite Gillette nurse had won a March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Award, she was thrilled. “Linda has always gone above and beyond,” says Hines, who nominated Hoffmann for the award months earlier. “She was our light during a dark time.”
Hines’ 5-year-old son, Blake, has juvenile arthritis. The family met Hoffmann, a nurse in the St. Paul Clinic, when Blake needed an injection to reduce inflammation in his knee. Newly diagnosed and only 2 years old at the time, Blake felt nervous about the procedure. So did his mom.
“Then we met Linda. She explained things in ways we could understand and comforted Blake during the procedure,” adds Hines.
Support During Vulnerable Times
The Nurse of the Year Award recognizes Minnesota nurses in 16 different specialties for exemplary leadership, skills and dedication. Hoffmann isn’t the only Gillette nurse to receive recognition. Cassie Flo, a clinical educator in the hospital’s Surgery department, is also a Nurse of the Year Award recipient. While Hoffmann took the pediatrics category, Flo received honors for critical care.
Flo says she draws inspiration from her patients every day. “They’re the most resilient, courageous and positive humans I’ve ever met,” says Flo, who was nominated by a colleague. “They encourage me to push myself further.” She describes herself as an advocate for patients before, during and after surgery—one of the most vulnerable times of their hospital stay.
Hoffmann, too, helps kids during difficult procedures. “My patients need frequent infusions to treat juvenile arthritis, osteogenesis imperfecta (known as brittle bone disease) and other conditions. This means an IV and lying still for several hours—a difficult thing for a child. When I hear about patients asking, ‘Do I get to go see Linda?’ instead of feeling anxious, I know I have an impact on their lives.”
Co-workers Feel ‘Like Family’
Hoffmann and Flo agree on something else: Supportive co-workers and professional opportunities have helped them succeed. They say patients can sense—and benefit from—the positive and team-oriented environment.
“I learn something new every day, and I’m given opportunities to grow in my profession that I may not get at other facilities,” shares Flo. “From physicians to leadership to my nurse colleagues, I consider everyone at Gillette my work family.”
“There’s a caring that everybody has for each other, a willingness to pitch in at any time,” adds Hoffmann. “I’ve been at Gillette for 25 years and people sometimes ask when I’m planning to retire. I tell them, ‘I can’t retire. I love my work!’”