DAISY Award: Mike C.

Meet our newest DAISY award recipient, Mike Cullinan. Mike is an Emergency Services Registered Nurse at Riverside Healthcare. The DAISY Award is an honor that recognizes the exceptional, skillful, and compassionate care these nurses demonstrate for our patients and families every day.

His nomination read, “Mike is an excellent example of what all people in the nursing profession should strive to be. He provides exception care to all of his patients and always goes above and beyond for their needs, no matter what extreme circumstances he and his ED team face every single day. Not only is Mike a fantastic nurse, but he is also one of the best coworkers anyone could ask for. Mike offers so much support and reassurance to everyone in the department. No matter how tough the night may be, Mike is always there offering help wherever needed and does his absolute best to support one another when we are all stressed out. Recently, Mike has served as relief charge nurse and does an extraordinary job at it. One night that stands out, July 5th; was a very busy night. Mike was in charge and like always, the department was extremely short staffed yet Mike was able to run the department like no other. Aside from being in charge of the ED, Mike also had his own assignment and also juggled a variety of tasks such as answering the EMS radio and making sure that patients were moving in and out of the ED appropriately, to accommodate all of the patients that continued to check in all night. From the start to the end of that shift not a single hour went by without multiple patients checking in, yet Mike did not allow that to affect him or his work ethic. Mike is always putting the needs of others before his own which shows just how amazing of a person he is. Mike is extremely liked by others and does not give himself enough credit for everything he does for the ED. If you were to ask anyone in the ED, they would say Mike is one of the best preceptors, coworker, friend and nurse Riverside has to offer. I am grateful to get to work with a nurse that inspires others to become a better person. Mike is very deserving of this award and should be recognized for the differences he makes in his patients and coworkers.” #DAISYaward

If you have had or witnessed extraordinary nursing care and would like to nominate your Riverside Healthcare nurse, visit

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Nursing Quality Conference: Optimizing Stroke Outcomes

On October 21, 2022, Riverside sponsored the Nursing Quality Conference at Kankakee Community College (KCC). This continuing education event featured four presentations delivered by Riverside’s own subject matter experts with a focus on Optimizing Stroke Outcomes. Many healthcare professionals from various disciplines, KCC Nursing faculty/students, and community members attended. Many thanks to our speakers for sharing their expertise:

Dr. Zakaria – Surgical Management of Stroke
Chris Mitsdarffer – Stroke: Warning Signs, Prevention, & Recovery
Dr. Gilbert-Baffoe – Stroke Rehabilitation & Spasticity Management
Natalie Lacer & Margaret Ondrey – Stroke Risk Factors and the Impact of Social Determinants

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Riverside Medical Center Joins/AACN Nurse Residency Program™

To help ease the transition of newly licensed nurses from the classroom to clinical practice, Riverside Medical Center recently announced the implementation of a new Nurse Residency Program based on the Vizient and American Association of Colleges of Nursing (Vizient/AACN) Nurse Residency Program™. 

The goal of the program is to promote quality and safety, along with reducing turnover for first-year nurses. All newly licensed nurses hired by Riverside Medical Center will participate in the 12-month program.  

“The shift from classroom didactic into the practice environment is the most difficult transition for newly licensed nurses. Therefore, it is important that we support this transition with the resources, guidance, and infrastructure that ensures they are successful,” Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, LaTivia Carr, said. 

The Vizient/AACN Nurse Residency Program™ has provided hundreds of healthcare organizations with a transition-to-practice program for new graduate nurses since 2002 and is nationally recognized as a model program. 

“As a three-time Magnet-designated organization, we are always looking for new ways to better support our clinical nurses,” said Laura Fitzpatrick, Nursing Professional Development Manager. 

“The Vizient/AACN Nurse Residency Program™ is a trusted, evidence-based program that provides a framework to help us meet the needs of our newly licensed nurses – ensuring we are developing confidence and competence so they can provide the highest quality care to our patients,” Fitzpatrick continued. 

To learn more about the Vizient/AACN Nurse Residency Program™ click here

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DAISY Award Winner: Sam R.

Congratulations to Riverside Healthcare’s most recent DAISY Award winner, 5 East RN Sam Ruffolo! Family, co-workers, and leaders gathered to help her celebrate.

The nationwide DAISY award program recognizes nurses’ exceptional clinical skills and compassion. Sam was nominated for her outstanding patient care.

“Let me begin by simply saying, that nurses are Angels! If you ask me how I know this, simply put, it’s because of the way they made me feel. Many times you can’t always put into words those emotions which are felt, due to the fact that emotions can be such as a superficial or visceral feeling. I want to talk about my angel Sam Longo. Sam had been my nurse for the night shift while I was here at Riverside. I came into the hospital not feeling well, and of course a little bit scared. During the course of my stay, all of the staff on 5 East I could see were working so hard. The floor seemed to be busy with hustle and bustle each day I was here, even into the night shift. When I found out that Sam was going to be my nurse after she introduced herself to me the first night that we met, I instantly felt that without even knowing why, that I was in the hands of someone who was meant to be doing what she was apparently called to do. As I got to know Sam a bit better, her demeanor was always calm and professional. She explained all aspects of my care to me very thoroughly, and took an enormous amount of time to answer my never ending questions. Sam could sense that I was still uneasy about the uncertainty of my situation even after she answered the million questions I asked her. While sensing this, Sam never left my side throughout the night. Of course I don’t mean that she never left my room, rather the lasting impression she left upon me when she left the room continued to stay with me the entire night. What I did not realize while she was there with me explaining everything, became apparently clear to me when she left my room to see her other patients. That realization was the lasting impression and impact that her kind, and soft words had on me. Even though I was blessed enough to not be in terrible health as some unfortunate patients on the floor had I’m sure, Sam never let it show that any of her other patients took any more priority than me. For that feeling alone, I am and will be forever grateful and blessed to have not felt that my needs took any backset to anyone else. Riverside has always had a great reputation, and I have had my care here for many years. It is so refreshing to still see so much compassion and kindness out there from nurses who have been through hell and back with the global pandemic. I am sorry that this letter has gone a bit long in the tooth, however in life, there are enough things that are always pointed out that can be improved, but not always are those extraordinary examples of angels like my nurse Sam are brought front and center. Sam has a gift and more importantly, she knows how to use that gift. Thank you Riverside for having such a nurse, and as I said starting out, Sam was my angel.”

To nominate a nurse, or learn more about this program visit

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