Kayla Donnelly
2019 Nurse of the Year Awards: Home Care, Southeast

Kayla Donnelly, RN, CRNI

Congratulations to our 2019 Southeast Nurse of the Year, Kayla Donnelly, RN, from BrightStar Care of Charlotte S. See photos from the surprise party revealing she was a regional winner and read her nomination letter below.

Nomination Letter

Written by Rampi Hijzain, Co-owner, BrightStar Care of Charlotte S.

I want to tell you about our most recent jewel of a nurse, Kayla Donnelly, RN!  Kayla had previously worked for our agency in 2011 as a C.N.A and then was promoted to the role of Customer Care Manager. During this time, she worked for us over 40 hours a week as well as was enrolled in a Nursing Program in her spare time. Eventually, Kayla left us to focus on her Nursing Program as well as to get some hospital experience. Last summer, Kayla came back home to her BrightStar Care family.

Since her departure, Kayla had gained extraordinary experience in the area of Pediatrics and Emergency Department Nursing protocol. Kayla joined our team of field infusion nurses and then was promoted to a new role within our agency of a Nurse Customer Care Manager to help manage our skilled client load in addition to the DON at the time. Kayla brought with her a level of excitement, passion and standard of quality that was a breath of fresh air to our team. 

Our skilled clients were receiving a new level of customer service that they hadn’t been receiving prior with Kayla’s quality calls/touchpoints. It wasn’t uncommon for me to overhear her daily speaking with skilled clients - laughing and engaging them in conversation. It seemed like it was nothing for her to recall specific information about their family members or events regarding their lives. She was connecting with them on such a personal level, and I could tell they appreciated her caring attention to their needs.

We received a call in November 2018 from a local referral source regarding a potential pediatric client ("Sophia") who was 8 yrs, had cystic fibrosis, who required weekly antibiotics via her port, weekly labs twice a week and dressing change. Understandably, this young client could be a handful each week we saw her with her screaming at the top of her lungs when she was being accessed for her infusion. What 8 yr old wouldn’t be right? But Kayla took the case with no hesitation due to her passion for children. It was a challenge she was up for! 

One morning Kayla received a call from Sophia's mom communicating that something was wrong with her port and it was not drawing back blood. Kayla could have easily told Sophia's mom that she was not available with such a last-minute request and to call her daughter's doctor or to go to the hospital, but not our Kayla! Kayla called Sophia's doctor (who was at UNC Chapel Hill which was 2.5 hours away) as well as the hiring local pharmacy to provide updates. She then took it upon herself to call the local hospital Sophia was directed to go to and provide them with communication as to what was going on and what her doctor had communicated and requested. We received an email from the Patient Care Coordinator at UNC Chapel Hill who oversaw Sophia's care, and Kayla was praised for the fact that Sophia's recent visit resulted in her PFT’s being the best that they had been in years as well has her lung function. They couldn’t thank Kayla and our team for our part in Sophia's care! If that’s not a representation of Serving with a Passion and Marking it Great, I’m not sure what is!

Over the months, Sophia built a bond with Kayla and our other Nurse Mary who assisted her weekly. It wasn’t uncommon for me to hear that Kayla and nurse Mary played a round of Hide and Go Seek with Sophia prior to starting her infusion treatment. They would come tell me where Sophia hid in the home that visit and how they knew she was there as it was obvious but would walk around none the less and pretend, they didn’t see her so Sophia could giggle in disbelief that they hadn’t found her.
On Kayla's last visit with Sophia, Kayla was so moved by her interaction with Sophia that she went above and beyond and got her a special little stuffed puppy toy and recorded a special message in the puppy of encouragement for her last day of assistance from us. Kayla reminded her to be brave, positive and told her she was awesome! Sophia's mom was sweet to make a special Greek dessert for Sophia's care team as a simple thank you.

I ask that you strongly consider Kayla Donnelly, RN for the BrightStar Care 2019 Nurse of the Year recognition!