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Nurse of the Year leads by example

Colleagues say Maggie Dillehay is never afraid to jump in and get involved

Maggie Dillehay
Maggie Dillehay works in the Medical Surgical Intensive Care Unit, caring for critically ill patients. Photo by Brennan Wesley
Mikie Hayes | hayesmi@musc.edu | May 31, 2018

MUSC Health’s 2018 Nurse of the Year, Maggie Dillehay, is known for teamwork. Heralded by her colleagues for leading by example and always going above and beyond, Dillehay is a Medical Surgical ICU team member. For the many special attributes she brings to the job each day and her numerous accomplishments, she was recognized at the Nurse of the Year ceremony May 7. 

National Nurses Week begins every year on May 6 and ends on May 12 – Florence Nightingale's birthday. The week is promoted through the American Nurses Association and features a variety of events across the nation designed to honor nurses for the work they do and educate the public about nurses’ unique roles in health care. 

MUSC’s special recognition event kicked off National Nurses Week on campus and reinforced MUSC’s commitment to recognizing its nurses publicly for the outstanding care and compassion they continually provide to patients and families at the bedside and beyond and the positive impact they make on health care. 

In keeping with this year’s national theme – Inspire, Innovate, Influence – colleagues nominated Dillehay for the prestigious recognition because of the many ways she accomplishes each of these important actions. 

“Maggie has been our nighttime clinical staff leader since June and a member of our team since July of 2015. Maggie has never been afraid to jump in, and get involved. As many know, this unit has been going through multiple transitions, many of which caused this unit's morale to take a large hit. Maggie has been the light for this unit. She reminds us that this change is temporary, and that what makes our unit great is our teamwork. She brings us back to what is important, the patients.” 

Dillehay inspires others, her teammates say, and she continually finds ways to innovate the type of new approaches that will have a lasting influence on her unit. 

“Maggie is open and welcoming, she embraces every new staff member with an open mind and focuses on helping them build the skills necessary to become a thriving ICU nurse. Maggie is always willing to go to bat for her staff members to ensure that they are in the best environment to succeed. She leads by example and works so hard to make our unit the best place to work. We are so lucky to have her in our unit, and look forward to seeing all the wonderful things yet to come.”

Mia Lombardelli, RN, an MSICU teammate, shared an example of the lengths Dillehay went to meet the needs of a patient and his family, her commitment a hallmark of the character she exhibits on a regular basis.

“Maggie has gone above and beyond in caring for her patients. An example that comes to mind is a long-term patient had made the decision to withdraw care. Our nurses had set up a special moment where the patient was able to see his dogs, make paw and handprints. Unfortunately, after a series of unfortunate events, it ended up in the trash. Maggie coordinated with Environmental Services, the house supervisor coordinator and 1West to get theback to what is important, the patients.” 

Dillehay inspires others, her teammates say, and she continually finds ways to innovate the type of new approaches that will have a lasting influence on her unit. 

“Maggie is open and welcoming, she embraces every new staff member with an open mind and focuses on helping them build the skills necessary to become a thriving ICU nurse. Maggie is always willing to go to bat for her staff members to ensure that they are in the best environment to succeed. She leads by example and works so hard to make our unit the best place to work. We are so lucky to have her in our unit, and look forward to seeing all the wonderful things yet to come.”

Mia Lombardelli, RN, an MSICU teammate, shared an example of the lengths Dillehay went to meet the needs of a patient and his family, her commitment a hallmark of the character she exhibits on a regular basis.

“Maggie has gone above and beyond in caring for her patients. An example that comes to mind is a long-term patient had made the decision to withdraw care. Our nurses had set up a special moment where the patient was able to see his dogs, make paw and handprints. Unfortunately, after a series of unfortunate events, it ended up in the trash. Maggie coordinated with Environmental Services, the house supervisor coordinator and 1West to get the appropriate gear and access to the dumpster and then ended up getting in the dumpster and eventually finding the family’s last memento.”

Dave Dolan, RN, nurse manager of the MSICU, said Dillehay is the quintessential nurse. 

“Maggie is really compassionate and empathetic. She goes above and beyond constantly for her patients and families. She also makes sure the staff always has what they need. In fact, if you saw the term nurse in the dictionary, Maggie’s picture would be there.” 

Recently, he said, she was on a plane bound for the National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition, when she was called upon to serve. 

“Someone on her flight was having a stroke, and she stepped up to provide medical care. Here she is on her way to a medical conference, and she provides life-saving measures on the plane. And while the plane had to be diverted to Georgia, Maggie saved her life. That’s just the type of nurse she is.”

Dillehay, a member of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, has served on Team A during multiple weather disasters, which at times affected day-to-day clinical operations. She contributes her expertise widely at MUSC as a member of the MSICU leadership team and MUSC Health Nursing Shared Governance. She sat on the exemplary professional practice committee. She precepts new nurses, teaching them how to become effective ICU nurses. She was also recognized as a CRRT (continuous renal replacement therapies) super user.


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