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Honoring the ‘epitome’

Stewart wins monthly ‘Fire Starter’ designation

As relief charge nurse in the surgery department at Morris Hospital, according to those who nominated her as Fire Starter of the Month, Michelle Stewart “makes you want to come to work.”
As relief charge nurse in the surgery department at Morris Hospital, according to those who nominated her as Fire Starter of the Month, Michelle Stewart “makes you want to come to work.”

Michelle Stewart of Morris was named Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers’ Fire Starter of the Month for May. She is a relief charge nurse in the surgery department.

Stewart is described by her co-workers as being a compassionate, respectful, knowledgeable, professional and competent leader, role model and mentor who knows the operating rooms “like the back of her hand.”

They go further to say that she is the “epitome” of what a Fire Starter should be.

Initially, Stewart wasn’t sure whether nursing was going to be a good fit for her. But after starting as an aide at Morris Hospital 33 years ago, she was motivated to work her way through college and continue her nursing career.

She says one of the reasons she chose Morris Hospital was because of the close-knit community.

“Here, you aren’t just a number. I work with a wonderful group of people who strive for excellence every day. I can always count on my co-workers. Morris Hospital is a great place to work,” says Stewart.

Her co-workers share similar opinions about her.

“Michelle always has such a positive attitude that carries over to the staff and doctors,” wrote a co-worker in nominating Stewart for Fire Starter of the Month. “She makes you want to come to work.”

Some of Stewart’s duties and responsibilities as a relief charge nurse include being an RN circulator in surgery, reviewing and answering questions for patients, preparing patients for their post-operative recovery, setting up the operating room prior to surgery, checking the equipment, being a patient advocate, reporting patient history and concerns to the recovery nurse, making sure surgical counts are correct, and making sure the surgical department is flowing smoothly.

Linda Wiesbrook, director of surgical services, says Stewart steps up to the plate whenever she is needed.

“Michelle makes a point of making sure everything is running smoothly before she leaves for the day,” Wiesbrook said.

“When she asks if anyone needs something, she really means it. Her peers recognize her desire to do her very best.”

Stewart says her favorite part of work is the new experiences that come with each day.

“It’s never the same, even if you do the same procedure,” she says. “You have to be able to think on your feet and troubleshoot problems.

“I also love how rewarding my job is and knowing that I have made differences in people’s lives. I give to the patients, and they give back to me. It’s wonderful to be thanked for the little things you do, like bringing them a warm blanket.”

In early civilizations, fire starters were the individuals who had the important job of keeping the flame alive.

As Fire Starter of the Month, Stewart received a Grundy County Chamber of Commerce gift certificate, a special “Fire Starter” lapel pin, and a designated parking spot for the month.

Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers is the largest employer in Grundy County with over 960 employees.

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