Happy National Nurses Week!

In the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare workers are on the front lines. In fact, we found out this week that 22 to 23% of the positive coronavirus cases in Iowa are folks in the healthcare field. Their knowledge, dedication, kindness, and selflessness in the midst of all this chaos has not gone unnoticed. That's why we kicked off a new segment called the 'Healthcare Hero of the Day' a few weeks ago.

Each weekday around 6:45 a.m. we honor one of the many amazing healthcare workers here in eastern Iowa, post the honoree on the 98.1 KHAK Facebook page, and mention them on the air throughout the day. It's just one small way we can support and recognize all their hard work.

Here are this week's honorees:

  • 5/4
    • Valarie Meyer
    • Respiratory therapist at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
    • Nominated by a sibling
    • "My sister has been a hero long before COVID-19 barged in on our lives. Val has been a respiratory therapist for 20+ years, working at St. Lukes and now UIHC. She works overnights, weekends, and picks up shifts. She always pushes herself to be the best, be diligent, and have compassion for her patients. She sees things I cannot imagine and she does things I'm not sure I would ever be brave enough to do. COVID-19 has put every RT at the front of the frontline. Their expertise, their knowledge, and their time is more in demand than ever! Intubations, ventilators, and treatments are increasing in record numbers and Val handles it like a boss! With all her job demands, Val is also a wife and an awesome mother to 4 well-rounded boys. She's sacrificed many hours of sleep to be the head cheerleader for her boys' academics and sports over the years. She has volunteered countless hours to support Prairie Fest and other school activities and sporting events (sometimes I'm exhausted listening to her schedule). She does it all out of love and asks for very little in return!"
  • 5/5
    • Michaela Williams
    • Nurse in Pediatrics/the NICU at St. Luke's in Cedar Rapids
    • Nominated by Whitney Hall
    • "Michaela puts her health in harm's way every day to care for the tiniest patients. She goes above and beyond to put both the baby's and the parent's needs above all else, and she does so with the entirety of her huge heart. I wish we could clone Michaela and send her out to all the hospitals because her bedside demeanor and her overall level of caring and compassion is so outstanding. With a smile on her face, despite the often difficult and heart-wrenching circumstances, her attention to detail and her level of awareness pertaining to the needs of her patients and their families is award-worthy."
  • 5/6
    • Wanda Haverkamp
    • Nominated by one of her kids
    • "My mom does it all. Wednesday, April 15 marked 30 years working in the OB unit at Unitypoint Allen Birthing Center. The past 15 of those years she's worked as a lactation consultant. She works long shifts (sometimes 16 hours) to make sure dad and I can support our farming addiction (which these days is in as much trouble as any sector, dairy in particular). Milk is talked about a lot in our house. Day in and out, she braves whatever road and hospital conditions come up for not just our home, but for all those still expecting babies during this outbreak."
  • 5/7
    • Tara Reisinger
    • Infection control and surgery nurse at Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon
    • Nominated by Jessica Jones
    • "Tara has been putting in countless hours of research, testing, and teaching to make sure our staff is properly prepared for this virus. She is dedicated to giving our patients the best care possible. Even while taking care of her father during his illness and passing, she continued to work from home to keep us up to date on the latest virus information. Tara is definitely my workplace hero and is so deserving of recognition for all of her hard work, not just during this pandemic, but every day."
  • 5/8
    • Chris Rutledge
    • RN and BSN at UPH Family Medicine Clinic in Mt. Vernon
    • Nominated anonymously
    • "Chris volunteers for Samaritan Purse. She has gone and served people in Kenya and Bolivia, but most recently spent 21 days in New York providing bedside nursing in tents. She nursed some back to health, held the hands of those dying, and transferred some to other tents for ICU care. She is a workplace hero and we should be proud she is from Eastern Iowa."

You can view more local winners below:

Click HERE to nominate another wonderful Eastern Iowa healthcare worker!