LOOKING FOR WAYS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE –
SANDY ODENWALD, RN
Sandra (Sandy) Odenwald, RN, has three roles – She is a nurse coordinator for the Division of Allergy and Immunology, an infusion nurse for Medicine Specialty Center and a clinical research study coordinator in the Department of Medicine. She is shown (right) with Medicine Multispecialty Center office manager administrator Cindy Brubaker.
Sandy took her first job with BJC in1976 and joined WUSM in 1993. She has worked in several outpatient settings, including helping to establish the Bone Health Program with Dr. Louis Avioli.
What challenges her? “Wanting to spend more time with our patients is a personal challenge of mine”, Sandy says. “No matter how much time I spend with our patients, I want to do more. I want to reassure them that they are getting the best individualized attention possible. Just spending a few more minutes conversing with a patient, giving them your undivided attention can make all the difference in their experience. I find that by spending this extra time, patients become more comfortable and often bring up issues or problems they may not otherwise discuss.”
Her colleagues say:
“Sandy is one of our infusion nurses who works with different divisions in Medicine and infuses multiple types of medications. She is a genuine, caring and compassionate nurse who provides excellent patient care mixed with a little joy.”
“Although it may not be listed on her job description, Sandy serves as the office seamstress, organizes employee lunches, and is a great listener in the event one of us needs a little mentoring. When she found out a patient was coming in for an infusion on their birthday, she made the day special by baking a cake and decorating the infusion room.”
Sandy says, “I always ask myself, “is there one thing I can do today for someone to make them feel special?” It may be a phone call, a favor, or acknowledging someone by their first name. It is just something to make them feel special. My favorite saying is “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. You may never know how one act of kindness affects someone else’s life.”
Here’s how people respond to Sandy:
“One of our patients had become seriously ill, and Sandy made a point of soliciting personal notes from faculty, fellows, and staff to place in a card that she delivered to the patient in the hospital. No doubt, that Sandy went the extra mile to make this special for the patient.”
“Sandy often sees the infusion patients for many months or even years and becomes an extended family member. Recently, we had a patient who lost his battle with his disease, and Sandy reached out to the family once again by offering her support to the patient’s young daughter. She is truly a compassionate person and very deserving of this honor”
Sandy says she needs more time. We say we need more Star Performers like Sandy.