She is the “heart and soul” of the burn team




PA Madeline Zieger is recognized for leading with purpose, excellence and compassion.

By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist,

Madeline Zieger doesn’t like the spotlight, but the spotlight found her Friday morning on the burn unit at Riley Hospital for Children.

Zieger’s colleagues in the Riley Burn Center joined the physician assistant for a celebratory breakfast while she received the IU Health Physicians Values Leadership Award.

For three decades, Zieger has been providing care at Riley on a unit that often sees the worst injuries imaginable. She is “the heart and soul of the team,” said Dr. Brett Hartman, medical director of the unit.

Judy Coleman, chief financial officer for IU Health Physicians, presented the crystal award to Zieger, who was joined by her husband and son at the celebration.

Zieger receives the crystal award

The award celebrates team members who demonstrate extraordinary dedication to the IU Health mission and values of team, purpose, compassion and excellence both at work and in the community.

“Thank you to the burn team for submitting this nomination,” Coleman said. “Reading through it, I would love to be on your team.”

Nurse Christopher Swift said since his first day on the job five years ago, Zieger has stood out as “that person everybody looks to for wisdom.”

“She is Incredible,” he said. “She makes the team for us. We all know it, and we all treasure her. We are all extremely excited that she is finally being recognized for her dedication to our children in the Riley Burn Center.”

Belinda Frazee, manager of clinical operations, agrees.

“Madeline is always that consistent voice for us. We so love and appreciate her. She is an amazing human being.”

For Zieger, the award is a recognition of hard work over the years, but it’s also recognition of the team she is part of, she said.

“I’m one member of the team, but without everybody, we don’t have a functioning unit.”

In the end, it is a family, she said.

“We all work well together, and it’s a privilege to be part of it.”

Nurse Milly Jennings and child life specialist Caitlin Dougherty agree on one other thing about Zieger – she is an excellent teacher.

“She is a safe place to keep asking questions,” said Jennings, who appreciates that Zieger is always willing to share knowledge, yet also has a good sense of humor.

“I look up to her. I want to be like her.”

Dougherty says Zieger is the glue that holds the team together.

“I know that if I have a question about what’s going on with a patient that will help me do my job better, I can go to her, ask her a question, she’ll explain it and not think twice about helping me out to do my job too,” Dougherty said.

“I really appreciate her as a team player and a person as well.”