When Darcy Kreger’s great-grandpa needed hospice care at home on the family farm, home health nurses, aides, and family were there every day providing constant love and support. At the young age of twelve, Kreger witnessed firsthand the dedication, compassion, and quality of care the nurses gave her grandpa, and it left an indelible mark.
“I saw the benefits and huge impact that nurses made in my family’s life,” she shared. “Not only did they give wonderful care to my grandpa on his last days, but they also provided empathy and compassion to our entire family during that difficult time. I knew just then I wanted to be a nurse.”
From Inspiration to Aspiration
Since then, Kreger has paved her way from inspiration to aspiration, starting as a Certified Nursing Assistant in a local Good Samaritan Center before becoming a Nationally Registered EMT, volunteering for several years while pursuing her nursing degree. During that time, she also worked as an LPN school nurse, before landing as a travel RN with Medical Solutions—where she is currently on assignment in the Cardiology Unit at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, SD.
Throughout her career, Kreger has learned invaluable lessons about patient care. Her best advice for aspiring nurses? “Love what you do and give 110% to your patients every day.”
That 110% is exactly what inspired patients and their loved ones to share their stories in heartfelt DAISY nominations, which led to three DAISY Awards this past year.
Nomination 1 excerpt:
“Darcy provided exceptional care to our family as [our loved one] was passing away. She shared funny stories that gave us a break from the tears. She had hugs for us as we struggled with our feelings. She always made sure we had coffee, lemonade, and cookies. She even got us Kleenex as needed. We thank Darcy for all of the love and compassion she shared. It means so much to us.”
Nomination 2 excerpt:
“Darcy made me feel very comfortable and safe. She was always upbeat and so very helpful. Even though my hearing is terrible, and it is hard for me to communicate, she made the best of it and I never felt like I was a bother.”
“I’ve learned to always look at the big picture and visit with your patient, learn everything you can about them,” she says. “Be empathetic and consistent with their care and responsive to their needs, even if it’s just to hand them a tissue. This is what builds trust and appreciation.”
One of Kreger’s patients was hospitalized with new onset heart failure and wound care, and over four days, they developed a strong nurse/patient bond.
Nomination 3 excerpt:
“Darcy has paid very close attention to my condition, making me feel 100% safe and cared for. I have been pretty much alone since I’ve been admitted, and she lets me know she cares.”
“I made sure to always take my time, never skipping a step of her daily routine,” Kreger reflects. “My patients are my number one priority, and I go above and beyond to help them feel safe and comfortable during their stay.”
“We as nurses are the patients’ advocate and their lifeline,” she adds. “Listen to your patients. The needs of your patients and their families are not always what you think they need.”
Life Outside the Scrubs
Outside of work, Kreger enjoys quality time with family to keep her grounded. You can find her out fishing with her nephews, shopping with mom, and talking crop prices with dad. She is married to a wonderful husband, and together they have a beautiful, blended family with five children and three granddaughters.
In between travel assignments, Kreger and her husband enjoy traveling together (when the time allows it), competing in a dart league with family, camping, and running her small t-shirt and custom design business.
“Nursing is not an easy career but at the end of the day, it is very fulfilling and adventurous. My parents, husband, and children have been my number one supporters through all my education and travel, and I couldn’t be more thankful for them.”