Malmberg honored for extraordinary nursing
Raechel (Bussell) Malmberg was humbled when she was the focus of her colleagues' attention while recently presented with the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Award, a prestigious nationwide honor that is given to a Sanford nurse in recognition of their extraordinary work.
"I really appreciated the honor," she said. "I had no idea I was getting it until they announced it at our morning huddle."
Malmberg, a 2006 Minneota graduate, is a registered nurse with the Sioux Falls Children's Hospital, where she has been employed since June of 2020. She is the daughter of Eric and Susan Johnson of Minneota, and Brad Bussell of Lakeview, Arkansas.
Malmberg was nominated for the award by a mother of a patient that she worked with. In her nomination, the mother wrote in part:
Raechel was our night nurse as we stayed in the NICU. From night one, she was so kind and accommodating. She was always checking in, not only to check on our child but to see if we as parents needed anything. Raechel showed that she loves her job and cared for our daughter like she was her own. I loved when she walked in the room at shift change, knowing she would be our night nurse. I slept way better knowing it was Raechel caring for our daughter. The best part was that when Raechel was working and wasn't our nurse, she would still stop in to check on us and leave us notes.
"As soon as they started reading the nomination form aloud at the morning huddle, I started crying because I remembered that sweet baby and her sweet parents," Malmberg said. "Being nominated is an honor in and of itself, but to be given the award is a whole celebration."
This was the second time Malmberg had been nominated for the award, which Sanford awards monthly to one nurse within their system across the country. The nominations can come from patients, families of patients, or co-workers, and are reviewed by several Sanford administrators before the winner is announced.
"It meant so much to me that in a time of stress, parents would take the time to fill out a form to say 'thank you' to their nurses," Malmberg said about her two nominations.
Malmberg received a hand-carved statue called "A Healer's Touch" that is made in Zimbabwe. It symbolizes the relationship between nurses, patients and their families. She also received a DAISY pin and certificate.
"I did not always want to be a nurse," she said. "In fact, when everyone was deciding what they wanted to be when they 'grew up', I thought nursing certainly was not for me as the thought of bodily fluids and secretions grossed me out."
Malmberg was a stay-at-home mom from 2010 until the fall of 2016. She initially graduated from Chaldron State College in 2013, finishing her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology online as she and her husband, Dan, and two young daughters, Evelyn and Cora, lived in Okinawa, Japan.
"After we got married in 2010, I did not work because I was moving around with my husband who was military police in the Marine Corps," she said. "We moved to Okinawa in August of 2010."
Once back in the states and working as a behavioral health technician at Avera Behavioral Health in Sioux Falls, a nurse talked Malmberg into considering nursing for a career.
"She told me that she thought I would make a really great nurse and that planted a seed in my brain," Malmberg said.
Eventually, Malmberg started an accelerated nursing program at the University of Sioux Falls in January of 2019 and graduated in May of 2020.
"Instead of finishing school in four years, the accelerated nursing program condenses the nursing courses into an intense 16-month stretch," Malmberg said. "To add to an already stressful program, my husband deployed to Kuwait approximately two weeks after I started school and went to Iraq in the late spring. Thankfully, he came home safely in early August of 2019."
Currently, Malmberg works straight weekend nights, Friday through Sunday, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. at Sanford Boekelheide NICU at the Sioux Falls Children's Hospital in Sioux Falls.
"We take care of babies as young as 22 weeks old," she stated. "We also take care of newborns born at term that have various conditions such as heart conditions, diaphragmatic hernias, and those born with defects. It's also common for babies to be in the NICU because their moms have diabetes and the babies struggle maintaining their own blood sugar levels after birth."
And what is it that she enjoys most about her job as a nurse?
"I love being able to be present for special moments between parents and their baby, like when a parent gets to hold their infant for the first time," she told.