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Anticipation Equals Excellence

Pat Long Wins 2020 DAISY Award for Nursing

Scott Luhmann, M.D., is in the midst of a complex spinal surgery in a brightly lit, chilly operating room when he reaches up his hand and prepares to call for the next needed instrument. 

Before the words are even fully formed in the mouth of the chief of staff at Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis, a nurse gives him the instrument.

That nurse is Pat Long, a 20-year St. Louis Shriners Hospital veteran and the winner of the 2020 DAISY Award. Her ability to anticipate the needs of the various surgeons is a part of what makes her so good at her job.

“This is the person I want scrubbed with me on the most complicated surgeries,” Dr. Luhmann said. “She is someone who is unflappable in the middle of a difficult situation, a person who is always thinking ahead and problem-solving.”

The DAISY Award was created in 1999 by the family of Patrick Barnes, who died that year from an autoimmune disease, in recognition of the excellent nursing care their loved one received during his battle. Long, who has been a nurse for more than 40 years, was selected from among five nominees at the hospital. The other four were Colleen Hogland, Kaylenn Hudson, Courtney Merlenbach and Valerie Wollberg.

Long was characteristically modest in receiving the award. “I like working with patients and setting them at ease,” she said hours after being surprised with the award in a socially distanced and safe celebration in the hospital’s board room. “I just try to use my knowledge as much as I can.”

Thinking ahead is, indeed, a key to her success. “Every surgery is different,” she said. “So you always have to be able to anticipate what might come next and be able to adapt.”

Long’s value as a nurse goes beyond her patient care and extends to her ability to pass along knowledge to her colleagues. “Pat is one of the most selfless people I have ever met. She is a huge resource for everyone in the department,” said Danielle Sehnert, a fellow surgical nurse and 2017 DAISY Award winner. “It is an honor to learn from her.”

Pat Long receiving award

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