Skill and compassion earn this triage nurse a DAISY

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01/11/2024

Schiefelbein Amber Riley 01 0110 md

The mother of a surgical patient says, “Amber’s attention to detail, transparency, sound judgment and kindness are exemplary.”

By Maureen Gilmer, Riley Children’s Health senior writer, mgilmer1@iuhealth.org

When Amber Schiefelbein gets a call from a concerned parent, she knows it’s up to her to listen, reassure, and act when necessary.

Schiefelbein, a pediatric general surgery triage nurse at Riley Hospital for Children, spends most of her time on the phone rather than racing up and down unit hallways, but it’s a critical role in caring for patients.

“We help families pre-operatively and post-operatively,” she said, communicating instructions before surgery and making sure patients and parents have what they need for a successful discharge. That includes reviewing surgical notes and individualizing instructions regarding medications, activity, treatments, etc.

For Courtney Comer, Schiefelbein’s attention to detail made a difference for her daughter, and that motivated Comer to nominate the nurse for a DAISY award, recognizing excellent clinical skills and compassionate care.

“My daughter is a two-time cancer survivor with a diagnosis of PTSD due to medical procedures,” Comer wrote in her nomination letter, which she agreed to share for this story. “(Her) medical history is complex, and her surgical site was done in a unique way due to scar tissue from radiation and tumor resections.”

When Schiefelbein caught an error in the discharge activity instructions that could have put the patient’s surgical site at risk, she individualized the instructions, then worked with the surgeon to create a plan when the site later became infected, all the while keeping in mind the patient’s medical history and PTSD.

“We are able to administer the wound care in the home environment with close communication,” Comer wrote. “Amber’s attention to detail, transparency, sound judgment, and kindness are exemplary.”

Feedback like that, accompanied by the satisfaction of helping patients and families, means the world to Schiefelbein, who worked as a labor and delivery nurse and a NICU nurse in another health system for many years before joining the Riley team in 2019.

She considers herself lucky to be in a position to help and was thrilled to receive the DAISY award surrounded by her colleagues last month.

“That’s why I like this job. Sometimes you can help remedy situations easily, and other times you talk to families many times and help them heal and become more independent,” she said.

“When you answer the phone and they’re upset, you listen to them and help them.”

It’s as simple as that, really.

“They appreciate that, and that makes me feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”

Comer is certainly glad Schiefelbein is in the role she is.

“Amber provides trauma-informed care that is family-centered. She uses knowledge and compassion to create plans of care. She is an exemplary nurse, and we are so thankful for her.”

Schiefelbein and her husband, Doug, have four children and two fur babies. She enjoys concerts, crocheting and trips to California to visit her oldest son.

Nominate a nurse who exemplifies excellent clinical skills and compassionate care here. https://www.rileychildrens.org/form/riley-daisy-award

Photos submitted and by Mike Dickbernd, IU Health visual journalist, mdickbernd@iuhealth.org