Mary Kay Bader, an RN at Mission Hospital is one heck of a nurse.
She was honored this spring by the largest specialty nursing organization in the world, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses for her sustained regional and national contributions to acute and critical care nursing.
The AACN named Bader, a Neuro Critical-Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, as a 2009 recipient of the Flame of Excellence Award on a regional and national level. Recipients of this prestigious award are recognized for promoting patient-driven excellence through skilled communication, collaboration and decision-making that transform thinking and achieve visible results.
“Mary Kay’s skills as a clinical nurse specialist and a leader truly set her apart as a role model within the medical community,” says Peter F. Bastone, president and chief executive officer of Mission Hospital. “We are very proud of her achievement, and grateful for her continued commitment to providing the highest quality of care.”
Within her 22 years at Mission Hospital, Bader has served as a catalyst for improvement in a variety of critical nursing care areas, including traumatic brain injury, surgical intensive care, rapid response, stroke, induced hypothermia, neurology and more. Bader currently practices in the hospital’s surgical intensive care unit, which received a 2007 Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence from AACN. A past recipient of five AACN awards for clinical excellence, she helped Mission Hospital earn a 2000 and 2008 Ernest A. Codman Award for quality improvement from The Joint Commission.
A clinical expert in neuroscience nursing with more than 25 published journal articles to her credit, Bader co-edited an AACN clinical practice protocols series book titled “Monitoring Technologies in Critically Ill Neuroscience Patients,” which won a 2009 “Book of the Year” award from the American Journal of Nursing. Bader also co-edited the “AANN Core Curriculum for Neuroscience Nurses,” published in 2004.
She says she was more than honored to receive the award: “The award was given by the Board of Directors at the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. It is a tremendous honor to receive the award and to be recognized for my years of work with AACN. I believe the award is a reflection of the team I work with at Mission Hospital. My achievements, my abilities to teach others are only possible because of the work by the nurses and physicians at the hospital. We have a cohesive team and I have learned so much from our collective experiences.”
In her opinion, when asked what makes a great nurse she says it includes a number of attributes.
“A great nurse is an individual whose heart and mind possess the scientific knowledge of our nursing professional practice, compassion for others, dedication to a hospital/nursing unit, and a great love for the art of healing.”
Over the years, Bader says her job has enhanced, as well as benefitted her life immensely. “I learned long ago that my abilities as a nurse are attributed to an intense work ethic, continual learning, love for caring for others, and a belief in God, for it is only when I trusted my work/career in God that I blossomed as a nurse,” she shares. “Each day I ask the Lord to help me help others ... If I am giving a lecture in front of 200 nurses, I ask God to help me make a difference to one nurse who in turn, can make a difference to one patient."
“If I am working with the trauma team on a critical brain injured patient, I believe our work is an extension of God's grace and healing powers. My work is my ministry for helping others.”
For those looking to possibly become a nurse, she also has some advice. “Love what you do ... or want to do. If you want to be a nurse, volunteer at your local hospital. Spend time with patients in hospitals or skilled nursing facilities reading to patients, spending time with them and observing what goes on around you. Study hard in high school! If you are at the top of your class and you are a caring person and would love a profession where you can share that caring, choose nursing,” she says.
When she isn’t working she enjoys sports, college football, especially Notre Dame, playing tennis and walking. She also likes spending time with her husband, Lt. Col. (retired) Bob Bader and their two sons, Andrew, a second year law student and Matthew, a senior in college majoring in accounting.