Paper names Sally Reese one of Wyoming's Top Nurses

By Kristy Bleizeffer May 6, 2020

The Casper Star-Tribune selected Sally Reese, R.N., as one of Wyoming's Top Nurses for 2020. She is one of eight Wyoming Medical Center nurses chosen for the honor.
“So many times, Sally has reached out with compassion to a visitor, adult or child, who is crying or sad. She also celebrates with them. If a patient or family needs a ride, Sally with take them where they want to go. If they need food, she will supply them food.” — Jennifer Gallagher

Congratulations to Sally Reese, 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.

Sally is a labor and delivery nurse and a lactation consultant on our Mother and Baby Unit. She was nominated by her co-worker, Jennifer Gallagher, R.N.

"Her patients, families and coworkers love her. There are too many examples to list," Jennifer wrote in her nomination letter.  "Many nurses have amazing bedside skill. Sally exceeds her duties with an amazing focus on the mind, body and spirit of those she cares for."

Read more about Sally and her career in the interview below.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A NURSE?

I have been a registered nurse for about 40 years, 37 of them at WMC. I grew up in southwest Iowa and attended Methodist School of Nursing in Omaha, Neb. It was a three-year diploma program. I worked as a technical assistant during school feeding newborns on the night shift.

Upon graduation, I was hired in Labor and Delivery. We did 350 deliveries a month! I learned so much. Three years later, I moved to Casper after visiting a relative here and fell in love with the mountains. I was hired to work nursery at Memorial Hospital of Natrona County initially but later transferred to labor and delivery as I did not want to lose my OB experience. I have been at The Birth Place since February 1985.

WHAT TYPE OF NURSING DO YOU PRACTICE? 

My nursing career has always been in OB. I work labor and delivery which includes triage, inductions, high risk OB and cesarean deliveries in our own OR suite.I am also a certified lactation counselor so I help with breastfeeding initiation which also includes follow up phone calls,office visits and pump rentals. Now I am seeing second generations who are coming in to have their baby's! That is way cool and humbling. I am blessed.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST BECOME INTERESTED IN MEDICINE, AND WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A NURSE?

My mom influenced my decision to be a nurse. She was an OB nurse herself for at least 32 years at the hospital where I was born. In 1959, I came into the world a bit early -- a 32 week premie who survived! Plus, as a young girl, my family would go have supper at her work and visit her unit. I got to meet her coworkers, see the delivery rooms and listen to a few stories about the "miracle of birth."

DO OTHER MEMBERS IN YOUR FAMILY WORK IN HEALTH CARE?

I have several family members who work in health care. My sister is an outpatient psychiatric nurse. Two nieces are nurses, one an outpatient children's dental nurse and the other a diabetes education nurse. One of my first cousins is an R.N. on a medical unit. Pretty cool and it shows the diversity of nursing. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB, AND WHAT ARE SOME CHALLENGES YOU FACE?

I have several favorite parts of my job. I love to teach my patients from admission to discharge. Having a baby can be scary, so if I can be welcoming, positive, calming and compassionate then my day is filled. Secondly, I get to work with the best,  from my co-workers, obstetricians, anesthesiologists, scrub techs, residents and students! We work as a team and each and everyone is invaluable. I am constantly learning from all of them as well. Lastly, being a witness to birth is the best and very rewarding.

The challenges come when we experience a loss, whether it be a 20 week fetus or a full term stillbirth. Navigating the computer programs can be a challenge for me! 

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A GOOD NURSE, IN YOUR OPINION?

It takes a myriad of things to be a good nurse. In my opinion, the desire to learn and keep nursing care at the bedside. One of WMC's core values is "patient first every time" and that is key. It's not always easy when you have a patient that challenges you but they're going to go home and they WILL tell their story. I want it to be a good one!! A good nurse needs to nurture her/himself also. Nursing is demanding and when an outcome isn't what we desire, we tend to be hard on ourselves. Supporting your coworker is important- a word of encouragement, a hug or just listen.

Advice I'd give a new nurse is give yourself some grace. You've worked so hard in nursing school so give yourself time to learn and remember it doesn't all come at once. Set goals, ask questions, ask for help.

DO YOU STILL LIKE BEING A NURSE?

Yes, I still love being a nurse! My career has been extremely rewarding. I have so many great memories and experiences and have met so many wonderful people along the way. I am truly blessed and I thank God every day. 

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?

I feel WMC, as a regional referral center, is doing an outstanding job. Being a rural state, it is not always easy to keep physician's here. Telemedicine enables our pediatrician's to support our sick baby's. Our OB doctors can consult with Denver for our very high risk OB patient and use our transport team if needed. Also, The Masterson's Place allow familyies to remain in the state and near their loved one. I am very proud to be a part of WMC's team. 

HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL TO KNOW THAT A COLLEAGUE OR PATIENT NOMINATED YOU FOR THIS HONOR?

I did not know I was nominated for this year's award. I am surprised and humbled. I just want to do my job to the best of my ability because I care. It is an expectation of myself to do my job thoroughly. 

I am very honored to be nominated. I always think of these awards are for the nurse's who are laddering, have a BSN degree or involved in committees. Besides serving on a few committees, I am not that nurse. I want to be involved in patient care and be at the bedside. 

I would like to thank the person who nominated me for this award! It means a lot to me they thought this much of my nursing care. I will continue to strive to give my utmost care to my patients.  No matter what their background, they deserve to be treated with respect, knowledge and compassion. Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, "Handle yourself with your head. Handle others with your heart.”

ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD OR WOULD LIKE YOUR COLLEAGUES TO KNOW?

I would like my colleagues to know they are the best team a girl can work and thank them for their patience with my computer questions and for letting me reminisce about the old days. May we continue to embrace new ideas,give hugs during a loss, give words of encouragement and keep laughing.

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.