Few will argue the fact that nurses are a valuable source for patient care, and play an important and necessary role. That was just the case for one VA nurse who was recently selected for a special award after his attention to detail allowed him to perceive the seriousness of a situation, and pursue extra examinations that ultimately led to the protection of a Veteran’s life.
Renate B. Dizon, 46, a registered nurse at the VA’s outpatient clinic in McAllen, Texas, was recently recognized as a 2018 honoree and recipient of The DAISY Award For Extraordinary Nurses.
According to The DAISY Foundation official website, “The DAISY Award is an international recognition program started in memory of J. Patrick Barnes. Pat’s family experienced first-hand the difference his nurses made in his care through clinical excellence and outstanding compassionate care. The family created The DAISY Award to express gratitude to nurses and to enable other patients, families, and staff to thank and honor their special nurses.”
Dizon, better known as Bobby by his friends and coworkers, was nominated for the award by Larry and Gloria Craven, who met the Filipino-born nurse in January of this year during a visit to the McAllen clinic.
In her letter to VA, Craven stated that they went to the clinic because her husband began to feel weak, pale and had a severe lack of energy.
“We were told we would be seeing a nurse and so we waited,” Craven said. “Bobby was the nurse who came to see us and he explained that Traveling Veteran Program to us, and how our visit to the VA here would be handled.”
After exchanging information and explaining how Larry was feeling, Dizon felt as though Craven needed to see a doctor and get some labs done.
“All the doctors were very busy, but Dizon felt there was some urgency in finding out what was happening with Mr. Craven, so he pursued the issue,” said Mrs. Craven.
After some time, Dizon took the Cravens to see Michael Hahn, a VA physician assistant. Larry began to look more weak and pale, so Dizon helped Hahn coordinate the ordering of medical tests.
“As a nurse I know what to do when patient comes in presenting certain symptoms like Mr. Craven, but something in my heart prompted me to ask for a specific lab test,” said Dizon, who sometimes treats patients as part of the VA’s Mobile Medical Unit.
“The voice in my heart kept on telling me to ask the provider to order this laboratory test,” he added.
The medical lab professional and medical staff was able to determine there was something seriously wrong and sent Craven to Doctors Hospital at Renaissance where it was discovered his symptoms were being caused by two major illnesses. The Cravens were shocked by the news, but were also grateful.
“We had no idea, but Bobby was so sure something was very wrong and he pursued,” said Mrs. Craven. “We feel as though he saved Larry’s life with his knowledge, observation and attention to details. His persistence helped us get the care we needed. We want to call this amazing nurse to your attention because it is angels like Bobby who are part of the reason why we tell people that the service at the VA clinic is the best medical care we have ever received.”
While some might call the Craven’s visit to the VA a serendipitous one, the VA registered nurse modestly down played his role and attributes his actions to a divine source and the VA’s guiding principles.
“I don’t think I did much, but one thing I know for sure is that the lord directed me on that day to follow the voice in my heart and sure enough that is just what that Veteran needed,” said Dizon. “I also believe in our VA core values. Advocacy and integrity are part of them, and if we believe in those things then we will be willing to follow through and do what we can in the best interest of the Veteran.”
Dizon, who is planning to start his doctorate this month in nursing, is the sixth nurse to have been selected since nominations for the local health care system first began in 2017.
“like I said before, I don’t think I did much,” said Dizon. “The DAISY Award is used to honor nurses in 17 other countries around the world, and if my story inspires a young boy to become a nurse than that would be wonderful, but the most important things about this story that people should know is that first and foremost we did our best to protect the life of a Veteran.”
‘Those qualities can make things feel special sometimes, but I want people to know that they can trust that I, my fellow nurses and the rest of the VA really care about helping our Veterans as best as we can because at the end of the day it is all red, white and blue.”
Dizon who became a U.S. citizen in 2003 explained by saying that Veterans are a great example of the diversity of this great country.
“They fought and sacrificed for this great nation made up by many different groups of people,” added the proud VA nurse. “And now we at the VA serve those who served the red, white and blue.”
Veterans and VA employees can nominate deserving VA nurses like Bobby by visiting The DAISY Foundation website by visiting www.daisynomination.org for more details.