Obici nurse wins ‘Spirit of Caring’ award

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Staff report

A certified oncology nurse at Obici Hospital has won a &uot;Spirit of Caring&uot; award from the national Planetree network of holistic health-care providers.

Christine Lynch, RN, of Suffolk, accepted the award in the caregiver category at the organization’s annual conference. She was recognized as &uot;a patient advocate, a nurse specialist who demonstrates excellence in all she does.&uot;

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In addition, a member of Obici’s Kanine Kandy Stripers won a Spirit of Caring award in the animal therapy category. The honor went to Gizmo, who is handled by Sherry and Bridgette Creamer of Suffolk.

The Planetree organization emphasizes caring for the whole person – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Obici follows the Planetree model by putting the patient first; providing patient and family education; and offering aids to healing such as &uot;pet therapy,&uot; massage, gardens, art and music.

Lynch, coordinator of Obici’s Outpatient Infusion Center, has been a hospital employee since she graduated from the Louise Obici School of Nursing in 1995. She received her bachelor’s of science degree in nursing in 1996 and her oncology certification in 1998.

According to the nomination for the caregiver award, &uot;Her dedication to her profession as a nurse caring for patients, friends and families is unparalleled … When treating her chemotherapy patients, she’s mindful of the multitude of issues involving each patient, whether it’s clinical, psychological or emotional.&uot;

&uot;I really like working with oncology patients because you get to give so much one-on-one care,&uot; Lynch said. &uot;You get to know your patients, but you also get to know their families. And it’s not always the nursing care you provide. Sometimes it’s just a hug or a smile that makes a difference.&uot;

Ms. Lynch also was praised for using her experience to educate other staff members, patients and families.

The nomination for the therapy animal award notes that the mixed-breed Gizmo &uot;gives each visit her all and is eager to please, snuggling close for just one more hug.&uot;

Gizmo and the Creamers represent more than 20 handler-dog teams known as the Kanine Kandy Stripers. After completing Therapy Dog International training offered by Obici, they have been spreading cheer and affection to patients and staff since April.