Release Date: 
Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Nursing alumna wins Eagle Eye Award from Beaumont

Shannon Kelly and Sue Schulz
HFC Nursing alumna Shannon Kelly (left) recently won the Eagle Eye Award from Beaumont Health Trenton. She's pictured with Sue Schulz (right), the chief nursing officer of Beaumont Health Trenton.

Even as a child, HFC alumna Shannon Kelly was always bringing sick animals to her home to nurse them back to health. Going into the nursing field wasn’t a big stretch for her.

“I thought this career path would really give me an opportunity to thrive,” said Kelly, who earned her associate degree in nursing from HFC in 2018.

Kelly, of Riverview, was recently given the Eagle Eye Award from Beaumont Hospital in Trenton, where she’s worked as a registered nurse in the Medical-Surgical unit since the beginning of 2019.

“I was shocked to receive this award,” recalled Kelly. “I work for such an amazing hospital and was honored to not only be mentioned, but chosen for this award.”

The Eagle Eye Award

The Eagle Eye Award is an award of excellence for having “Eagle Eyes,” recognizing a patient safety concern and preventing patient harm by speaking up. One person is selected from the hospital each month.

In Kelly’s case, she was examining the imaging results of a newly admitted patient. She noticed on the CT scan that the patient’s head had an acute infarct (blockage of oxygen). She immediately notified the attending physician, and the patient was moved to the stroke unit for treatment.

“With the Eagle Eye Award, I earned a box of chocolates, a plaque to hang in my home office, and $100, tax-free,” she said.

“I feel really honored to have played a role in her academic journey”

Kelly spoke about how HFC nursing instructor Janice Bartos had a profound impact on her.

“In our first meeting, she saw something in me, something that I didn’t see,” recalled Kelly. “I was struggling in the nursing program and ready to drop out. I was having a hard time passing the exams and was close to failing the second semester. She encouraged me not to drop. She was stern and honest with me, telling me nursing isn’t for everyone, but the way she made me feel that day had me leaving that office with hope. I’m so thankful she was honest and encouraging rather than accepting and entertaining my insecurities as a struggling nursing student. I didn’t drop. I passed. She then became my OB instructor, and the level of comfort she gave me is truly unforgettable.”

Bartos remembered Kelly well.

“Shannon consistently demonstrated a desire to understand, master, and apply the course material,” said Bartos. “She always sat up front in class and actively participated. She was inquisitive and thoughtful, never afraid to ask a question or challenge an answer. I found Shannon sincere, genuine, open, and honest. She is a free spirit and has a well-developed humorous side; she made my role as an instructor interesting, as well as easy. As an instructor, I try to partner with students to support their learning. Since Shannon was responsible, engaged, and self-reflective, this was easy to do. I feel honored to have played a role in her academic journey. I know that Shannon has already represented the nursing profession and HFC impressively. I have no doubt that she will continue to do that throughout her career.”

“My soul is thriving as a nurse”

Kelly spoke about being on the frontlines of the current COVID-19 pandemic, something she never thought she’d see in her lifetime.

“The word ‘pandemic’ was never something I thought about,” she said. “I just constantly remind myself that someone has it worse than me. That I get to come home to my family. That I get to go back to my med-surg floor that was not a designated COVID unit after being pulled to a COVID unit. That I am fortunate to have a job, and I am blessed daily because I am not suffering loss. That these patients need me – they’re alone and scared.”

For Kelly, the most challenging part of her job as a nurse is dealing with fear and sadness.

“Seeing the fear in someone’s eyes, the confusion in a patient who has dementia, the sadness of the family member taking care of the patient with dementia when they have to make the choice to send them to a lock-down facility because they can no longer take care of them,” she explained. “Holding the hand of a dying patient, consoling the family member of the dying patient – these emotions weigh heavy for me. And the challenge doesn’t stop there. There’s also the challenge of trying not to take it home and trying to forget about what you’ve experienced for the last a few hours after getting home.”

She is clear that the good outweighs the hard parts.

“When a patient looks at me with complete sincerity and genuinely thanks me for taking care of them,” said Kelly. “When a family member hugs me for being kind. When my colleagues remind me of my compassion that I didn’t even realize they noticed. Knowing I made a difference in someone’s life. Being their voice. My soul is thriving as a nurse.”