Tip Carnhan Award winner Carol House, RN, with
her patient and Ithaca resident, Richard Heathcock.
For 20 years now, McLaren–Central Michigan has been honoring excellence in nursing with the presentation of the Tip Carnahan Award. This year’s worthy recipients were Carol House, RN and Stacy Cashen, CNA.
Carol has been providing exceptional nursing care at the hospital for longer than the award has been in existence. During her 27 years at McLaren–Central Michigan, she spent time in just about every nursing department before finally accepting a position in the Norval K. Morey Cancer Center, where she works today as an oncology nurse.
“I started on 3 West and floated through the hospital to obstetrics then pediatrics, then outpatient services,” Carol said. “When the cancer center opened, I sort of fell into the radiation nurse position and really loved it. I developed all the assessments, teaching, and discharge information.”
Her colleagues would argue she was born for the position, and her motivation comes not only from a love of helping others, but from personal experience.
“I love being able to help my patients and find ways to make their quality of life better,” Carol said. “All of the nurses in the Center have been personally affected by cancer in some aspect of their lives. My own father had a brain cancer, and that’s an experience that allows me to empathize with our patients and their families.”
Recipients of the Tip Carnahan Award are first nominated by their colleagues, then honored at the Tip Carnahan Award Presentation during National Nurses Week in May. When Carol heard she was one of the honorees, she was shocked.
“I was surprised to hear Sheri Myers [Vice President of Patient Relations] mention some of the comments my coworkers had written,” Carol said. “I didn’t realize what I do here was that notable. I am here for my patients, doctors, and coworkers.”
Some of the comments on Carol’s nomination forms noted her commitment to ensuring oncology patients and their families understand their treatments, and manage side effects well. Many of her teammates wrote that she is “the glue” in the department, anticipating needs of coworkers and patients alike.
One of Carol’s patients, Richard Heathcock, a lifelong Ithaca resident, agrees with her coworkers.
“I just love having her for a nurse,” he said. “From the moment I met her, she’s been superb. Is there any word that offers more praise than superior? That’s what she is!”
When Heathcock heard that Carol had won the nursing excellence award, he said he couldn’t have been more pleased.
Carol has a hand in just about everything going on in the Cancer Center, to the benefit of her patients and coworkers alike.
“Carol sits in on every consult, because they can be very scary for a patient,” wrote Carol’s supervisor, Andy Moore, Chief Radiation Therapist. “She bridges the understanding gap with the patient.”
In addition, Carol and her family decorate the Cancer Center’s lobby at Christmas, and volunteer at the McLaren-Central Michigan Free Clinic and community events.
Stacy Cashen has worked as a certified nursing assistant in the 3 West nursing unit for nine years.
“I became a CNA because I love taking care of people,” Stacy said. “What motivates me is helping people get better.”
Stacy is noted for going out of her way to help patients and coworkers. Even when she’s at her busiest, she’s known for offering to help others. Even when patients are demanding, she goes above and beyond to meet their needs.
"Stacy is an asset on 3 West,” said Stacy’s supervisor, Sondra Thering, nurse manager of 3 West/3 South. “She always makes sure that every need of her patients is met. Her wonderful attitude and infinite patience are an inspiration to everyone on the floor."
McLaren–Central Michigan would like to congratulate Carol House, RN and Stacy Cashen, CNA on receiving the Tip Carnahan Award for Nursing Excellence and to say thank you for their years of devoted service to the hospital, and to our patients and visitors.