Local nurse honored for care of 6-year-old

By Jim Hagerty 
Contributor 

ROCKFORD – May 9 was just another day at work for Diane White, a registered nurse employed by Maxim Healthcare Services.

That was until White was notified that on that day, she was more just a health care provider. May 9, White was named Regional Caregiver of the Year by her company. And it wasn’t just because of perfect attendance, a clinical dedication attached to an oath taken at graduating.

Her employers noticed something in White, an almost unexplained personal tether to the the care she gives to a vision-impaired 6-year-old girl. To attach a cliche that White has “gone over and above,” wouldn’t do it justice, her superior and peers say. In fact, there’s probably not an award out there that could express all the nurse has done.

“Diane is one of the most reliable caregivers on our team,” said Nicole Johnson, field support manager at Maxim’s Rockford office. “Her patient’s face lights up every time she hears her come into a room. Diane truly represents Maxim’s values of Caring, Serving and Enriching Lives, and we are proud to recognize her for her commitment to quality care.”

Based in Columbia, Maryland, Maxim employs 3,000 people and provides services to clinics, nursing homes, schools and assisted-living facilities.

“I have been caring for my patient for four years now,” White said. “She only vocalizes via jabbering with the occasional exception of a word or phrase every now and then.”

For White, not only works well with the child’s limitations, she has come to cherished them.

“She knows a few words in sign language such as ‘thank you’ and ‘I love you.’ She wants to repeat things over and over again, whether it be her physical therapy or play. After she completes something, she will put her arm around my neck and pat me on the back as well as give lots of kisses.”

White said during the day, her lively patient enjoys the raucous grooves of Kid Rock, but knows her limits and when it’s time to wind down.

“We put on ‘Jesus Loves Me,’ and that’s when she knows it’s bed time,” White said.

White, along with three other regional winners, was selected by a panel of judges. Each winner will be honored July 25 in Baltimore, at the Maxim Healthcare Services awards ceremony. Her story will be highlighted in a video presentation.

“I am proud to represent the North Region and particularly the Rockford office of Maxim Healthcare Services,” White said. “I am here today because of my patient and her family. We are a ‘team’ working together so she can have the best life possible.”

The nurse finds it so important to be part of that team, she drives an hour each way to her young patient’s home. Even during inclement weather, she doesn’t miss a shift. In fact, she’ll often pick up extra hours.

In it’s sixth year, the Caregiver of the Year Award program celebrates nurses and home healthcare aides for the roles they play in delivering quality, patient-centered care to some of the nation’s most medically fragile and chronically ill patients.

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