Debbie Beach, RN, Receives Alice Hyde's First DAISY Leadership Award

Emergency Department Nurse Manager Debbie Beach, RN, was honored Tuesday as the recipient of UVM Health Network – Alice Hyde Medical Center’s first-ever DAISY Leadership Award, with colleagues saying her work ethic, compassion and willingness to go above and beyond for her patients and care teams sets the tone in what is often a hectic environment in the hospital’s Emergency Department.

Beach received the award Tuesday morning, during a surprise ceremony in the hospital’s Emergency Department, where she has worked as a nurse manager for more than a decade. Rebecca Shutts, MSN, MBA, RN, Alice Hyde’s Chief Nursing Officer, called Beach someone who leads by example and always puts the health of her patients and her care teams first.

“Debbie is often the first manager at work and the last to leave,” said Shutts. “She is proud of her team and the organization, and she never stops doing what is best for others. That’s just how Debbie is built.”

Beach said she was honored to receive the award, which recognizes nurse leaders who create an environment where compassionate, skillful care thrives.

“It feels good. I’m proud and honored.” she said,. “This job is hard, and it’s nice to be recognized by the people you lead.”

ED Nurse Manager’s Leadership and Compassion Set the Tone in AHMC ED

Delivering care and compassion amid crisis is what the Alice Hyde Emergency Department’s nursing team does 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year – and ED Nurse Manager Debbie Beach, RN, is no exception. In fact, it’s Debbie’s penchant for leading by example — jumping in as a floor RN when an extra pair of hands is needed; lending an ear to colleagues struggling with traumatic events — that endears her to colleagues.

That tireless dedication to caring for her patients and supporting her care teams is what prompted co-workers to nominate Debbie, who joined the hospital in 1982 as a full-time graduate nurse, for Alice Hyde’s first-ever DAISY Leadership Award.

“Debbie is an exceptional nurse; nursing is truly her calling,” said Tammy Reynolds, Alice Hyde’s former chief nursing officer who retired earlier this year and worked with Debbie for nearly all of her 41 years at the hospital. “She has a no-nonsense attitude about how to best get things done for her patients, and she gets them done.”

Knowing when to move quickly and when to slow down and offer a helping hand (or a listening ear) has always been one of Debbie’s superpowers, say her colleagues. It’s a balance she is so adept at striking that even a national tragedy like the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center can’t overshadow Debbie’s impact.

On that day in 2001, Debbie was working in Alice Hyde’s ED as a registered nurse (RN) — once again helping out wherever she was needed, despite also serving as the hospital’s head surgical nurse at the time — when an elderly father arrived with his gravely ill adult son. The man’s condition had recently worsened and his father, who had been caring for him at home, was worried that his son’s death was imminent and he wouldn’t know what to do.

The patient passed away later that same day, but not before Debbie — despite all that was happening around her — got him cleaned up and comfortable, and walked his father through the process of selecting comfort care options and signing a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) on his son’s behalf.

“To watch her not only care for that patient, but help guide the father through the final hours of his son’s life – that is what sticks out in my mind, to this day,” said Tammy.

Over the next 21 years, Debbie would go on to work in nearly every nursing unit the hospital offers – including as clinical supervisor of ED Patient Care Services and IMCU nurse manager — before ultimately returning to the ED as nurse manager — a position she has held since 2013.

“She’s the manager of some of the toughest, most stubborn personalities the hospital has,” said one colleague. “The ED is incredibly lucky to have her; she will be the first person to jump right in and help you, and the first person to sit and listen when you need to vent. “

That grace isn’t just extended to members of her team, either, said Jerry Dumas, Director of Hospital Transportation and Emergency Preparedness at Alice Hyde, who has worked with Debbie as a colleague and co-worker for nearly two decades.

“Deb is one of the hardest working people at Alice Hyde and has put in countless hours caring for her patients and supporting her teams,” he said. “She’s extremely approachable whether you work at Alice Hyde or not, and she’s always looking to collaborate and work stronger together with our partners.”

Jamie Recor, supervisor of Alice Hyde’s Laboratory Services Department, said he’s seen Debbie’s leadership in action since joining the hospital in early 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I instantly found Debbie to be a naturally collaborative colleague with a vast amount of knowledge,” he said. “In the years since I first met her, that has only been reinforced. Debbie is kind, diligent and a fierce patient advocate. I am continually grateful for her guidance and honored to be her colleague.”

How to Nominate a Nurse

Alice Hyde launched the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses in 2022 as a way to recognize and reward licensed nurses for making a meaningful difference in the lives of their patients. Nomination forms are located in each of the hospital’s clinical offices and on the Alice Hyde website. Nurses may be nominated by patients, families and colleagues. A committee reviews nominations and one DAISY Award is given quarterly to a deserving nurse.

The Award of part of the DAISY Foundation’s mission to recognize the extraordinary, compassionate care licensed nurses provide to patients and families each day. The DAISY Foundation is a national, not-for-profit organization established in memory of J. Patrick Barnes by members of his family. Patrick died in 1999, at the age of 33, from complications of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) – a little-known but not uncommon auto-immune disease. DAISY is an acronym for “Diseases Attacking the Immune System. The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patients’ families. More information is available on the DAISY Foundation website.