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D-H's Danielle Salvas Named NH Direct Care Nurse of the Year

October 20, 2010
Lebanon, NH

Danielle Salvas

Danielle Salvas, right, with Sarah Furey, both pediatric nurses at CHaD, participated in the CHaD Hero Half Marathon and Relay race on Aug. 29, 2009.

Danielle Salvas, a registered nurse in Dartmouth-Hitchcock's Pediatric/Adolescent Unit, was with a patient when she received a message that the State Board of Nursing was on the phone. On her way to the phone she couldn't help wondering what she had done. As it turns out, the caller was from the New Hampshire Nursing Association announcing that Salvas had indeed done something - she had been named New Hampshire Direct Care Nurse of the Year.

"I was really surprised, really honored and humbled," says Salvas. "The award means so much because my job is everything to me. " Salvas decided to become a nurse after working with kids in a variety of settings including summer camps. "I was always drawn to the kids who had a lot of special needs," she says. After graduating from nursing school in 2007, Salvas joined DHMC's Pediatric/Adolescent Unit where she'd also completed her senior practicum. "In school I wondered if the reality of nursing would be as exciting as all the information we were getting," says Salvas. "As soon as I started working, I loved it."

The Pediatric/Adolescent Unit serves oncology, surgical, and medical patients- anyone who fits the age criteria and needs in-hospital care. Since joining the unit, Salvas has developed a special interest in oncology cases. "I always sign up to be on the primary care team for oncology patients," she says. "I talk about the kids I'm treating to my co-workers all the time. They're really my kids. They really teach me a lot."

To show her support for kids with cancer outside of work, Salvas ran in last year's CHaD Half Marathon. "The race had a superhero theme," says Salvas. "We were all encouraged to dress like superheroes and there were signs that said 'Be a Hero.' I remember thinking, 'The patients are the real heroes."

Having worked as a nurse's aide and completed clinical assignments in other hospitals, Salvas is glad to be at DHMC. "The camaraderie and support here really keeps you going," she says. "We push ourselves and we help each other. And it's great to work with a diverse patient population."

When she thinks about her future in nursing, Salvas wants to stay with her patients. "The kids make it so easy," she says. "They give us all so much it's easy to give back to them. To see them go through their ups and down and triumph and to see their parents give everything they have - it's really an inspiration."

Salvas received her recognition on Oct. 20 at the New Hampshire Nurses Association Conference. While her name is on the award, Salvas thinks the award is about much more than her. "This award is about the kids I take care of, the team I work with, and the people who have believed in me along the way," says Salvas. "There are tough days when I run into my supervisor's office or talk to a friend and fellow nurse and they just believe everything will be OK, that we can change the world. They just give an energy that allows anybody to be the greatest nurse around."

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ABOUT DARTMOUTH-HITCHCOCK: Dartmouth-Hitchcock is a national leader in evidence-based and patient-centered health care. The system includes hundreds of physicians, specialists, and other providers who work together at different locations to meet the health care needs of patients in northern New England. In addition to primary care services at local community practices, Dartmouth-Hitchcock patients have access to specialists in almost every area of medicine, as well as world-class research at Dartmouth Medical School and centers such as the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice (TDI).

Dartmouth-Hitchcock includes:

  • Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, New Hampshire's internationally known and nationally ranked academic medical center
  • The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic, a network of more than 900 primary and specialty care physicians located throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, with major community group practices in Lebanon, Concord, Manchester, Nashua and Keene.
  • Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD), New Hampshire's only children's hospital
  • Norris Cotton Cancer Center, one of only 40 National Cancer Institute designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States.

For more information contact Rick Adams at (603) 653-1910.

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