Sunday was Mother’s Day, and while I spent the day celebrating my family, I didn’t get a chance to catch up with my Mom.

So while this is a couple of days “late,” it’s still a fitting time to celebrate the most important woman in my life.

Today my Mom was awarded the Nancy Fedak Ross Exceptional Nurse of the Year Award from SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. This award is given to employees who have been nominated by colleagues. Upon being nominated, the employee must fill out a lengthy report as to what they do that sets them apart from the rest of the nominees. A committee then votes on who should receive this award.

I’m telling you this because my family had to twist (and practically break) my Mom’s arm to get her to even create her report. My sister had to accompany my Mom to the hospital on an off day to ensure that she actually turned it in. Why was it so difficult? Because my Mom is shy, modest and humble. She doesn’t look at the little extras she does as “special,” but does them out of sheer passion for her job and for those she cares for on a daily basis.


My Mom has worked as an RN at Cardinal Glennon for over 35 years. She started as a nursing student while she was in nursing school at SLU and signed on full time upon graduation.

My Mom started out in the ER working nights while we were young and eventually moved into various clinics as we moved into elementary school.

What’s impressive about my Mom’s job at Cardinal Glennon is not that she’s an RN who cares for sick children. No, many people have nursing degrees and work at hospitals and take excellent care of their patients.


What’s impressive is how she takes the extra time to make sure she knows each and every person she runs into – from housekeeping to doctors, from residents and nursing students to the coffee barista. She hasn’t met a single person at the hospital that she can’t have a friendly chit-chat and smile with. Any time I pay her a visit at the hospital, she stops at LEAST twenty people to introduce me to and gives me a little personal fact/background on that individual. I feel awful when I can’t remember someone’s name and it’s purely because she’s introduced me too many people in one day.

On top of her extensive Cardinal Glennon family, she’s made it a priority to make her NICU Follow-Up families her family. I can recall visiting her office when I was younger and seeing her walls blanketed in photos of little tiny babes and toddlers. I would ask her, “Who is this? Who is that?” and she would always tell me a little backstory behind the families and the struggles they overcame.

When there were losses, she grieved deeply. When there were victories, she celebrated greatly.

She would often (and still does) work well past when she needed to after long days of standing in the clinics to ensure she could reach out to families who called while she was unavailable. She knew as a parent how important it was to be there for these families who just needed some reassurance.

Sometimes she’d call a family back to make sure their insurance would go through so the child could keep their sleep apnea monitor for just a bit longer. Other times she’d call back just to hear how a baby was adjusting to their new medication or feeding schedule. These actions are not required in her job description, but she does them anyway to make sure that the families who leave after their stay at the hospital continue to receive the care they need to be strong and successful.


The lessons I’ve learned from how my Mom treats her Cardinal Glennon families has rolled over into my everyday life. I try to look at everyone as having a shining quality that should be celebrated. If someone is short with me, I try to think to myself, “Maybe they’re just having a bad day,” and try to identify ways to brighten their mood (whether it’s being silly or just lending an ear if they need to vent). If someone is kind to me, I greet them with a smile and try to strike up a conversation so they feel important.

She’s shown me that going the extra step is about those on the receiving line — and that’s what makes the giving worth it. She’s taught me that a job should be more than just that — it should be a passion and something worth pursuing everyday. She’s taught me that every person matters and that kindness and love is easier to share than negativity.

I’m so proud of my Mother for being the humble, caring and loving woman she is. She’s left quite an impact on many people’s lives and I’m blessed that she’s left the biggest impact on my sister and I. I hope I can take on her perspective on life and share her wonderful traits with my daughter.

We’re so proud of you, Mom. This award is well-deserved and I hope you find a quiet moment to celebrate the footprints you’ve left in so many people’s hearts!


Apologies for the blurriness – my Mom sent us this photo so I’m sure there were tears flowing as she snapped a picture of her award.




2 thoughts on “Mother.

  1. Lisa Vallino says:

    Beautiful tribute to your wonderful mother! I worked in the ER with Pam for many years! Loved her then and miss seeing her smiling, cheerful face. Although we don’t see each other ever, when we do those warm feelings of friendship will certainly surface!

    Congrats Pam. Super proud of you!!!

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