WINNEMUCCA — Michelle Chadwell says she still has no idea who nominated her for this region’s most prestigious nursing award.
The long-time registered nurse at Humboldt General Hospital simply received a letter announcing her nomination to the 2019 Northern Nevada Nurse of Achievement Award in the Critical Care category.
“I was a little bit in awe,” said Chadwell of the honor. “I was not sure how the nomination came about, to tell you the truth.”
Local nursing leaders say they know. HGH Chief Nursing Officer Darlene Bryan said Chadwell, Humboldt General Hospital’s 2014 “Nightingale Nurse of the Year,” is not only a caring nurse, but a strong leader who takes her position as house supervisor very seriously.
“We were excited to learn she was nominated for the NNNA honor, because she is certainly deserving” said Bryan. “She is very valued at HGH for her knowledge and helpfulness.”
While Chadwell did not receive this year’s award during a special dinner last month in Reno, she said she was honored to be considered from within a field of such highly qualified nursing professionals.
“It was wonderful to be nominated,” she said, noting she considers herself a lifelong learner and achiever in nursing.
“I always tell others: ‘The day you think you know it all is the day to retire,’” said Chadwell. “I try to learn one new thing each day.”
Chadwell has been a nurse since 1997—22 years at HGH and a concurrent six at Pershing General Hospital. She has worked in the hospital’s Acute Department and Intensive Care Unit for most of those years; she also worked in the Operating Room—a new experience that she enjoyed.
Today, Chadwell is a night supervisor, which gives her the opportunity to moonlight in all nursing areas as needed—even in the Mother and Baby Unit. “I enjoy helping the patient,” she said. “The hands-on care is my favorite part of the job.”
She said while it is sometimes difficult to remember the names of her patients, she always remembers why they were at HGH. “I enjoy when they say I made a difference in their stay.”
Chadwell is also quick to share her love and admiration for her co-workers. “It is a family here,” she said. “I have met some of the best people in the world here.”
Even through holidays, 12.5-hours shifts and all the ups and downs of patient care in the hospital and family happenings at home, “you get to know each other well; it’s a profession where you really understand one another.”
Chadwell plans to continue to work at Humboldt General Hospital for several more years. She may continue her formal education—and maybe not. Regardless, she will continue to grow and progress as a nursing professional.
Many years ago, she cared for her grandmother, grandfather and mother as they faced cancer, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and other problems. She said nursing seemed like a natural step back then; it continues to be a natural step toward her future now.
“I have always been a caretaker,” she said. “Nursing is a great fit for me and I enjoy it.”