Obstetrics nurse receives Francis Award at CHI St. Gabriel’s Health

Diane Slimmer, RN, a longtime obstetrics nurse, was presented with the Francis Award by CHI St. Gabriel’s Health.
Diane Slimmer, RN, a longtime obstetrics nurse, was presented with the Francis Award by CHI St. Gabriel’s Health.

Longtime nurse Diane Slimmer, RN, was chosen as the CHI St. Gabriel’s Health 2016 Francis Award recipient at the organization’s celebration luncheon, held Feb. 15.

The award is presented each year to a CHI St. Gabriel’s employee “Who goes beyond the call of duty, serving the community and the organization with heart and hands.”

It recognizes employees for the way they exemplify the organization’s mission, vision, values and behavior standards as well as their commitment to the community and the organization.

CHI St. Gabriel’s Health includes approximately 500 employees of St. Gabriel’s Hospital, Family Medical Center (FMC), Little Falls Orthopedics, Alverna Apartments and CHI Health at Home, as well as FMC satellite clinics in Pierz and Randall.

Slimmer joined CHI St. Gabriel’s Health in May 1983. She has been nominated for the Francis Award on multiple occasions throughout her career and by three separate coworkers this year. Her nominations spoke of how her actions align with CHI St. Gabriel’s Health core values of reverence, integrity, compassion and excellence as well as the organization’s behavior standards.

One nomination related how Slimmer compassionately treated a patient who experienced complications during her delivery.

“It was evident that the patient felt greatly comforted by Diane’s approach to patient care,” said the nomination.

Another nomination said, “Diane ‘sees the need’ (one of the organization’s 12 behavior standards), whether it’s a patient or coworker needing extra support. I’m not sure we could provide the quality obstetrical care we provide without her.”

A third nomination said, “She has a grace that shines through her spirit daily. On multiple occasions Diane has been recognized by her peers and patients as a dedicated, trustworthy nurse who is always there for them.”

Maryrose Knutson, RN, director of inpatient care at CHI St. Gabriel’s Health and Slimmer’s supervisor, said Slimmer is a great choice for the Francis Award.

“Diane exhibits numerous qualities that make her an excellent choice for the award,” Knutson said. “She is a humble nurse that exhibits compassion to those she cares for as well as to her coworkers. She brings up new ideas and works with others to achieve goals for the hospital and for new moms and their babies. She is a motivator among her peers and exemplifies integrity in everything that she does. Finally, her faith shines through in the work she performs on a daily basis. She fully meets all the criteria outlined in the Francis Award.”

Slimmer was somewhat overwhelmed when she received the award.

“I was very surprised and humbled to receive the Francis Award,” she said. “You see the list of nominees and you can’t help but think that there are others more deserving than I am.”

She said her family, including her husband, Dan, and adult children — Melissa and Steven — were all very excited to hear the news of her selection, which spread quickly over social media.

“I’m not a big social media person,” she said, “but Dan and my children showed me and commented about all the congratulations that were shared on Facebook. It was pretty cool.”

Slimmer said the award is “quite an honor.” She is looking forward to the “fuss” quieting down so she can get back to enjoying her four grandchildren, who all live nearby in Central Minnesota, and her work of helping bring new babies into this world.

“I’m very grateful to have been recognized,” she said. “The list of previous recipients shows I have some pretty big shoes to fill. I hope I can live up to those expectations and standards set by previous winners.”

There were 23 Francis Award nominees in 2016. The other 22 nominees for the award include: Melanie Altrichter, Dr. James Attarian, Dr. Heather Bell, Roger Boedigheimer, Carol Czech, Marne Czech, Cindy Davis, Dr. Kurt Devine, Stephanie Fyten, Lisa Hanowski, Jeff Hoffman, Jeanne Knopik, Becky Lohse, Adam Mord, Diane Roerick, Michele Rosha, Mike Schmidt, Steve Smith, Dr. Thomas Stoy, Tracy VanHercke and Mary Wiczek.

CHI St. Gabriel’s Health is part of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national, non-profit health system based in Englewood, Colorado. The faith-based system operates in 18 states and includes more than 100 hospitals, outpatient clinics and services, residential and long-term care facilities and home health and hospice agencies.