SICU nurse Kelli Marino earns DAISY Award

March 25, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees

Congratulations to Kelli Marino, a nurse in the SICU on 5D, who recently earned a DAISY Award for her outstanding efforts with patients — especially during the ongoing pandemic.

The DAISY Awards are given out by the DAISY Foundation to nurses who go above and beyond in their role.

At Michigan Medicine, Marino’s work has been recognized by parents and family members of her patients. Here is one of the letters from a thankful parent of a patient who acquired the coronavirus:

“In March 2020, our son was transferred from our local hospital in Saginaw to U-M. Our son, a healthy 27-year-old, contracted the coronavirus several days before and arrived at U-M on a ventilator. He remained on a ventilator for 53 days.

After he got off of the ventilator, he still remained hospitalized for another 32 days, making his hospital stay a total of 85 days. I can tell you that our son would not have made it without Kelli! Of course, we are thankful to the entire staff at U-M, as many played a part in saving our son’s life, but Kelli went above and beyond!

My husband, my daughter and myself took turns calling the hospital daily for updates. Our daughter was the first to meet (over the phone) Kelli. […] Our daughter said that Kelli was so kind and considerate, and she wished that he could have Kelli as his nurse every day!

Due to Covid-19, there was a “no visitor” policy in place. Not being able to visit our loved one was gut-wrenching! We shared with Kelli that we often park in a parking lot close to the hospital and pray for our son. Kelli took it upon herself to take a picture of his window from the parking lot and send it to us. […] After a long day of work, this nurse went above and beyond to do this for us, so we would know where our son’s room was.

When our son started to fully come down from his sedation, he woke up with extreme anxiety and Kelli was right there with him. When his anxiety got really bad, Kelli would Facetime with us as she felt this would help him calm down, and it most certainly did. At times when he was upset, I would see Kelli stroke his forehead to comfort him. These were things that I as his mother, could not do, and I was so glad that Kelli was there for my son.

As time went on, his anxiety became worse. Kelli recommended several services for him, such as a social worker. Kelli even asked us if there were any friends that our son could talk to that may help with his anxiety, and we gave her the name of two of his friends and provided her with their number. She was sure to put our son in contact with them. At one point he stopped eating because he was extremely nauseous. On her day off, she went to the store and purchased protein drinks for him to try, and the drinks were a hit! Again, Kelli went above and beyond.

Eventually he was able to do some physical therapy in his room. There were days that he had no motivation at all, but Kelli would give a pep talk and remind him of what he needed to do to get home. She always encouraged and praised our son’s efforts. One day Kelli called and asked if we planned to come to the hospital that day, and I told Kelli that I planned on going to the parking lot to pray. Kelli explained that our son was feeling down that day and he didn’t really want to get out of the bed. Kelli said she wanted to get him moving, so if I was going to be in the parking lot, she would have him walk to the window so we could wave. That day, our son walked to the window and we waved at each other! Kelli was able to find a way to motivate and get him moving!

When we knew that Kelli was with him, my family and myself were able to get some sleep. All of his friends and family quickly came to love Kelli. Although they had never met her before, they were deeply touched by the care she was giving to her patient and our family.

In closing I would like to say that our son contracting the Coronavirus was the most terrifying experience of our lives. We had to put his life in the hands of strangers. I could not have picked a better person to step in for me. Kelli became his family when he needed someone the most! Kelli held his hand, comforted him, listened to his fears and worries, encouraged him, pushed him, motivated him, advocated for him and so much more.”

Click here to watch a video of Marino’s award ceremony!