Meet Robin Madsen, Nurse of the Year. Robin is an RN at Solvay Hospice House and we had the opportunity to sit down with her to ask her about her journey to this prestigious award.
What does winning the Nurse of the Year award mean to you?
It honestly means, we have a God who sees us. At a time in my life when I really needed a shoulder to lean on, an affirming word, or a smile to say “everything will be ok”, God sent this incredible gift of affirmation to tell me He knew, He understood, and that He wanted to let me know. Faith is an integral part of what we see and do at Solvay and this award was a crowning acknowledgement of that.
Describe the significance of compassionate care at End of Life.
It is “everything”. My clinical director once said that when he looks to hire a new nurse at Solvay, the first qualification he looks for in a nurse is compassion. Compassion is defined as the sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. Compassion for a person and their family as they journey through end of life is the key to providing optimal care for the dying; appropriate pain control, respect of one’s culture and traditions, and honoring what is “comfort” to the patient.
How is Solvay different from other places you have worked?
I have worked hospice in other places; hospitals, nursing homes, and other hospice houses. Each of these places have done hospice well. But Solvay is like frosting on the cake. It is a unique home, built with hospice in mind, that serves the needs of dying patients in a place that brings the beauty and tranquility of nature, the resources of community, and the expertise of the medical community, right to the door of the patient in a setting that is as near to “home” as it can be.
Describe the team at Solvay and how you work together in both good and bad times.
We are much like a “family” at Solvay, that means we work together in good and bad times because we have a mutual goal: “COMFORT”. Pain and how you treat it is very subjective. Utilizing your entire “team” helps to identify and solve problems. It also binds you together as you find you can’t do your job alone, we need each other.
How did you choose hospice?
That is a very good question! I believe it was well said by a chaplain at a hospice conference one time: Hospice is a calling. I can’t describe it except to say that hospice chooses you. If you have a heart for the dying, you will be called.
What keeps you going?
Faith, family, and friends.
Did you always want to be a nurse?
Yes, from the time I was in high school when we were asked to pick a career and take classes that applied to it. I debated between a teacher and a nurse, I picked a nurse because then I could also teach.
What advice do you have for your 18-year old self, trying to decide what to do next?
Follow your heart. Do what interests you and what you are good at. Find your passion and go with it!
If you could be any animal, what would you be?
I would be an eagle. I love nature so to be able to fly and see nature from above would be amazing. I also love my family, Eagles are loyal lifelong mates and co-parent. Being an animal, having no known predators is also very reassuring.
What an honor to have Robin on the Solvay Hospice House team. Thank you, Robin, for all that you do for patients and their families!