Distinguished Staff Award
Photograph of Kay Soder

Kay Soder

Assistant Nurse Manager, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Harborview Medical Center

Nominated by Kate McNulty, Nurse Manager, 5-WH-121/Psychiatry-PCS/5WA

Awarded 2017

Kay Soder is a one of a kind, ‘they don’t make them like this anymore’, kind of employee. She is kind, efficient, caring and a team player. She is the Assistant Nurse Manager of operations and goes out of her way literally to save the unit some money. If there is an item needed on the unit (as a table, bed-side table{patients throw them and break them easily}, a chair, or chairs for the patient dining area, she will head to the UW ‘surplus’ on her day off to find items needed. She does indeed, save us money. That is not the only way she saves money, she is also the scheduler for the unit. She ensures all of the staff are happy with their schedule, and happy staff don’t call in sick as often! She keeps the correct staffing ratios, and works very hard to ensure the unit is always covered to be the safest for our staff and patients.

Once, when one of our geriatric patients had been on the unit for a very long time, Kay had gotten to know very well, was finally leaving to go to the new place, Kay drove to the new residence when the patient was leaving to ensure the patient’s ease into her new residence. The patient had dementia and did find Kay one of the few people she could trust. Kay is an expert with geriatric population. She always goes slow and knows just what to say to be able to put this population at ease with her calm and soothing manner.

She is the day shift anchor. She will be the one to help our patients with bowel issues..( no details, but it is a difficult job that the other staff are very pleased she is good at and willing to do!) Kay is the person to comb out the tangled hair or to use a fine toothed comb for the nits in our patients hair. She is the person who will go to the Goodwill next to her house to buy a patient without family, or money, a birthday gift, so they will “have something to open on their birthday”! She will bring in special gifts for our psych patients if she finds out that someone might have a special interest, as a knitting project, music, or book. She brings in clothing for patients who have lost their clothing, or are in need. Kay makes the patients feel very special and cared for as she spends the time it takes to get to know the patients and is a unique listener, picking up and remember ing the details.

She is also good-hearted with the staff. She remembers the staff birthdays. She passes a card around for them for everyone to sign and participate in the well-wishes. She bought a huge box of cards for this purpose. She always brings in food to share with the staff. She will bring in her husband’s homemade bread just for the staff, for no special occasion. If a staff person is having a difficult time, with work or in their life, she reaches out to help. Kay always sees the good side of everyone. She is blameless. She reminds us of the fact that all of us have another, pure side and that we need to remind ourselves that all of us have tough times. She brings a non- judgemental attitude for all to see and she does it with grace.

Kay is one of the most compassionate, open-hearted, altruistic nurses I have ever met. She is the most important figure on 5WA; she makes the world and 5WA a better place. Kay indeed is a “Distingushed Staff” person!

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