Paper names Sarah Siems as one of Wyoming's outstanding nurses
By Kristy Bleizeffer May 4, 2014
Ever since she was a little girl and tagging along with her mother to the grocery store, Sarah Siems knew what she wanted to do with her life. Her mother was a nurse, and Sarah watched as people stopped her mother in the aisles.
“People absolutely loved her, and her patients were very grateful. I could just tell that she was doing something fulfilling. I knew that I wanted to do something fulfilling as well,” Siems said.
Sunday, the Casper Star-Tribune named Siems one of Wyoming's top nurses in its special section, "A Salute to Wyoming Nurses." She was one just three nurses picked for the honor, out of 48 nominees from around the state.
“She knows what the extra things are to being a good nurse, and it is not just the clinical skills,” said Connie Coleman, nurse manager for the Wyoming Medical Center Surgical Unit and Siems’ supervisor. “When she passes a patient in the hall, she stops to say ‘Hi.’ She will walk with them and knows what foods they like. She knows all of the little things that make the biggest difference in a patient’s stay. That’s what makes her stand out, and she does these things constantly.”
Siems, 24, has been at Wyoming Medical Center for three years. Though embarrassed by the attention, she sat down with us to talk about her chosen career and this latest honor.
The Pulse: Tell us more about those encounters your mother had in the grocery store. What did people say to her that made you want to be a nurse yourself?
Siems: They were just so grateful for everything she did for them. They would tell her that they loved her, and were very thankful. A big moment for me was when my best friend’s grandmother was in hospice and my mom was her nurse. Her grandmother did not like any of the other nurses, but she loved my mom. I just knew that she cared about her job and she loved what she did. I knew that I did not want to sit at a desk and look at a computer all day. I wanted to do something that was meaningful.
The Pulse: What did your mom say when you told her about the Casper Star-Tribune honor?
Siems: She was ecstatic and could not believe it. She said she was going to cut the article out of the paper and frame it.
The Pulse: Now that you are a nurse, do you feel fulfilled?
Siems: I definitely do. I love what I do. I love helping people at their most vulnerable point. When they are in the hospital, they are sick and, a lot of times, they are confused about what is happening. I like to make them feel safe and make them feel comfortable. We take away all of their control, and I like to try to give some of it back.
The Pulse: Do you find that you have time to get to know your patients in the hospital setting?
Siems: Some days it is difficult. When we are really busy, it is difficult to really get to know them, but I usually work my three shifts in a row to provide continuous care to the same patients. Over three days, you can really build a relationship with somebody, and I do feel that I can really get to know them. When patients come back, you always remember them, and they remember you. People are pretty open when they are so vulnerable.
The Pulse: Do you have any tricks on how to put your patients at ease?
Siems: I do not know if I have any tricks, but I really have learned how to read people. I can tell when someone needs a sense of humor and then you will kind of laugh with them. You also need to know when someone does not want to laugh, and they want you to be serious. I have learned to give people what they need at the time.
The Pulse: What did you think when you heard you’d been picked out of all those nurses nominated from across the state?
Siems: I was embarrassed. I am not a big person for public recognition, because I feel like everyone I work with does such a good job. I do not think one person should be singled out. I was mostly embarrassed, but also I was very shocked.
The Pulse: Do patients stop you in the grocery store now?
Siems: Yes. I see people I know all the time.
The Pulse: What do they say to you?
Siems: They always ask me how I’m doing. They say “thank you” and introduce me to their family members. They are very grateful.
The Pulse: How does it make you feel?
Siems: It’s satisfying to know that I do such a good job that people remember me, even in the grocery store. I can bring a smile to their faces when we reminisce about their time in the hospital, rather than have them be upset about it.
Other WMC nominees
Congratulations to Wyoming Medical Center's other nominees: Melody Bower, stroke coordinator; ErinCartwright, medical unit; Amy Cooper, emergency room; Charles Cuffman, medical unit; Rachelle Donaldson, medical unit; Sarah Frank, emergency room; Kayla Golay, nursery; Sharon Hancock, recovery; Stacy Henley, charge and critical care nurse; Kay Herndon, head nurse; Loura Heuer, emergency room; Nikki Jiminez, ICU; Donna Marcotte, operating room; Melissa Marsh, PACU; Kelly Plessman, wound care; John Poole, nursing coordinator cardiac surgery; Erica Swan, neurology; Tamara Thomson, surgical unit; Jessica Valdez, outpatient services; Emily White, labor and delivery; and Alison Youngberg, operating room.