Paper names Aimee Lantz one of Wyoming's Top Nurses
By Kristy Bleizeffer May 6, 2020
“Aimee is always offering to hold and comfort the children she cares for and/or their siblings so their parents can rest. She will get down to their level when talking to them, hold their hand, hold them, and encourage them when they hurt or are scared.” — Kate Buffa
Congratulations to Aimee Lantz, R.N., for being named one of Wyoming's Top Nurses by the Casper Star-Tribune.
In celebration of National Nurses Week, the Casper Star-Tribune selected 10 Wyoming nurses for the honor, and eight of them work at Wyoming Medical Center.
Aimee is a registered nurse on our Pediatric Unit, and she was nominated by her manager, Kate Buffa.
"She listens to parents with compassion when they are worn out and frightened, and reassures them that she will make sure their child gets the best care," Kate wrote in her nomination letter.
Read more about Aimee and her career in the interview below.
How long have you been a nurse?
I've been a nurse for almost two years, and I have worked at WMC for a year and seven months. I have only ever been a pediatric nurse, other than one year as an LPN at an assisted living while I was still in nursing school.
What type of nursing do you practice?
I'm a pediatric nurse through and through! We have the privilege of taking care of families when a child is sick, injured, having an exacerbation related to a chronic condition, or needing observation of concerning symptoms. I always say that our patient population consists of people 1 day old, to 100 years-old, because we are also able to help with outpatients or some medical patients during our slower times.
I've always known that I was meant to work with kids, but it took me a while to figure out in what capacity. I started out wanting to become a teacher, and realized I had more interest in health care. I started exploring respiratory therapy, radiology, and then landed on nursing. When I first came to Pediatrics, I was hoping to eventually work on Labor and Delivery. The sick kids stole my heart and I couldn't imagine being anything other than a peds nurse!
When did you first become interested in medicine, and why did you decide to become a nurse?
When I was in high school, I really enjoyed sports, athletics, and injuries related to them. That took me to the idea of sports medicine. I played around with that idea and began taking all of the prerequisites that covered the majority of healthcare programs. I started working at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County in Rock Springs while I attended Western Wyoming Community College. I worked as an admitting specialist in the ER, which would be equivalent to our patient access at WMC. After shadowing in respiratory and radiology, I noticed more and more how excited I got when I watched nursing skills. From then on, I was a pre-nursing studies major.
Do other members in your family work in health care?
I'm the only one in my immediate family who works in health care. My great-grandma was a nurse, and that has been really special for my mom, who has passed down my grandma's old textbooks from 1933.
What is your favorite part of the job, and what are some challenges you face?
My favorite part of my job is getting to snuggle our sweet kids when they feel a little better and make the connection that we helped them. I also love being a positive role model for our teenagers, and encouraging them to be good people. It's difficult to be "the mean lady" sometimes! There's that 15-month to about 3-years range where you have to be very patient and good at incorporating play into your nursing tasks, in order to get things accomplished.
What does it take to be a good nurse, in your opinion?
I think good nurses always have time to do the little things. Whether it be pulling patients in a wagon, holding a baby while a mom goes to grab lunch, or listening to a teen's struggles at school, great nurses make time to show their patients that they matter.
Do you still like being a nurse?
I truly love taking care of people! So the answer is yes, I do love being a nurse because I get to make a difference every time I come into contact with a patient, no matter how small the impact is.
As a regional referral center, Wyoming Medical Center covers about 250,000 Wyoming lives. We protect the health of our friends, neighbors, community and state. How does this make you feel?
At WMC we care for patients from so many places, which reminds us, yet again, how "small-town" Wyoming is. I've encountered many people that I have either met before, or have a mutual acquaintance/friend with. It's amazing to be chatting with people, make those connections, and then have the impact of your care be spread by word of mouth; it makes all of those tough days worth it, and reminds me of the extent that good nursing care is acknowledged and appreciated!
How does it make you feel to know that a colleague or patient nominated you for this honor?
I had no idea that I had been nominated for this incredible honor! It was a really great surprise. I feel so blessed to be in the company of Sally Reese and Stacy Baker, who are both OB nurses who I have worked alongside, because they are nurses I look up to immensely.
I'm not sure who it was who nominated me, but I would like to say thank you so much! Whether it was a patient or a colleague, it means the world to me that you took the time to nominate me; any nurse will tell you that, though our work is impactful, a simple acknowledgement of our efforts is invaluable. This award is something to celebrate for the honor that it is.
Anything else you'd like to add or would like your colleagues to know?
I would like to thank the families of our community for putting their trust in us, when it comes to the care of their children. I want to add a spectacular thanks to my co-workers and those who have been such incredible mentors in my journey. A few of those mentors are Caitlin Dixon, Trista Russell, Darcy Trenkle, Laurie Shaffer, Martha Kamrath, Fatima Ghaddar, Stephanie Anderson, and each one of the Pediatric Hospitalists I have worked with.
Wyoming Medical Center's Top Nurses
Eight of the 10 Top Nurses honored by the Casper Star-Tribune in 2020 are from Wyoming Medical Center. Read their interviews in the links below.