Reardon Demonstrates Compassionate Care During Nurses Week
If you have spent time at Ozarks Medical Center (OMC), you have likely seen Malissa Reardon, RN, around the hospital. This year marks her 15th year with OMC providing compassionate care to every patient she serves.
Reardon started working as a registered nurse (RN) in the ICU when OMC first started their open heart surgery services. She spent three years as an RN float nurse before she was promoted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Manager. She remained in that role for eight years before becoming the Director of Critical Care, overseeing ICU and the Cardiac Stepdown Unit (CSU).
A native of Thornfield, Reardon pursued nursing to make a difference in a person’s life. She received her Associate of Nursing degree from Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas; and her Masters of Science in Nursing from Walden University, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The moment that changed her forever happened when she was caring for a patient from South Carolina that was attending his high school reunion when he fell ill and had to be put on a ventilator. His wife arrived in West Plains scared and unsure of what to do due to not knowing anybody or anything in the area. As she became comfortable with OMC’s caregivers, her husband was transferred to another facility in another unknown town, resulting in more stress.
Seeing many patient cases every single day, Reardon had let this moment pass and forgot about the couple from South Carolina. Ten years later, she was going through her normal routine like every other day when that same woman and her husband came up to her crying. Reardon took the couple into her office to calm them down, despite not knowing who they were.
“I don’t know if you remember me, but you took care of my husband ten years ago when I didn’t know anyone here,” the wife said to Reardon, “I will forever be grateful for how you cared for him that night.”
It all came back to Reardon. She thought back to how distraught the wife was in a strange, unfamiliar place. She became overwhelmed with emotion and surprised that they remembered her and made a point to visit her many years later.
This is not uncommon in the nursing field as they care for many different patients every day. Nurses see everything from the beginning of life to the very end. They touch many lives so it is impossible to remember them all. Many of their patients come and go and never see them again, so when the couple came back to OMC from South Carolina, to see Reardon, this was the moment she knew she made the right choice of being a nurse.
“Malissa’s caring personality embodies a key characteristic of Nursing,” said Kurt Abbey, Vice President, Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Operating Officer, “daily she is a true leader at heart, who represents her profession and OMC extraordinarily well.”
Reardon tells aspiring nurses that nursing gives you the ability to step into peoples’ lives for just a moment and make a difference. That no matter what type of nursing work you find yourself in, it all contributes to making a difference in someone else’s life.
National Nurses Week is celebrated annually from May 6, also known as National Nurses Day, through May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. There are 355 nurses employed by OMC.
Ozarks Medical Center is a system of care encompassing eight primary care and 16 specialty clinics, along with complete rehabilitation, behavioral healthcare, and home care services. While the 114-bed acute care hospital cares for more than 5,400 admissions, the entire medical system has more than 364,000 patient visits annually, in South Central Missouri and Northern Arkansas.
Malissa Reardon, RN, Director of Critical Care