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Going A Step Beyond to Care for Patient's Furry Companion

Tiffany Utz

May 22, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Congratulations to Tiffany Utz, RN, who has won The University of Kansas Health System's latest DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses.

Utz, a member of Interventional Radiology (IR) at the Indian Creek Campus Hospital, was honored in April for her initiative to ease a patient's worries – by taking care of the patient's dog when the woman had to be hospitalized.

"Of course I'm a dog lover," said Utz, who has been a nurse since 2004 and joined our health system nearly 2 years ago. "But it could have been a lizard or a cat. It was more about getting the patient what she needed."

In 2016, an IR patient at Indian Creek needed to go to the Emergency Department, but she resisted, fearing she would be hospitalized. She lived alone and did not have any family or friends in the area to care for her beloved dog, Ginger. 

Utz gave the patient her personal cell phone number and took charge. She not only cared for the dog for several days, but bathed it, bought dog food and even purchased grocery items for the woman when she was discharged from the hospital.

"Doing this allowed the patient to focus on her own health and not have to worry about her dog," wrote a colleague, Kristen Sudbeck, RN. "Tiffany truly went above and beyond her basic duty of being a nurse. She is a wonderful example of a selfless and compassionate nurse."

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