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CHCS honors Birth Center nurses with DAISY Award

Birth Center nurses

Community HealthCare System, or CHCS, has recognized Katie Kufahl, RN, and her Birth Center nursing team with the winter 2022 DAISY Award for extraordinary nursing. Birth Center nurses were nominated for their kindness and professionalism as they cared for a new mom who had a C-section and needed to stay in the hospital for a few days to recover.

Ashley Bean, Lindsay Koch, and Jolene Wessel, Birth Center RNs, were nominated by James Fitzhenry. According to the nomination letter, these nurses provided caring service to Fitzhenry’s daughter when she gave birth to her baby girl.

“As the days went on, each of the [nurses] was so friendly and attentive,” Fitzhenry said. “My daughter happened to mention to one of the nurses that she no longer had the photos taken of her son [from] the previous year. … A few days later, my daughter received a CD from the photographer with the photos!”

“The Onaga Community Hospital should be proud of these nurses, and we will not forget their kindness and professionalism. Thank you!” Fitzhenry wrote in the nomination.

As manager of the Birth Center for more than 15 years, Katie Kufahl has trained nurses to provide the best possible care during a joyful but vulnerable time for new moms and babies. Kufahl herself has been nominated for a DAISY Award several times, and her leadership has created an amazing team.

The Birth Center’s dedication to personalized care truly embodies what it means to be an extraordinary nurse. CHCS is proud to have Katie, Ashley, Lindsay, Jolene, and other Birth Center nurses as associates.  

“Having patients and families express thanks to their nurses is inspiring, and we are always impressed by the care our nurses provide. We routinely hear wonderful comments about our Birth Center and how the nurses help new moms and babies get a good start, so we’re thrilled to recognize their efforts,” said Mindy Olberding, chief nursing officer at Community HealthCare System.

Last month, CHCS Birth Center was recognized as a High 5 for Mom & Baby Premier Facility, meaning that it implements 10 best practices proven to support successful breastfeeding, thus improving maternal and infant health outcomes. Learn more about the Birth Center at

According to Olberding, Birth Center nurses don’t shy away from extra work to ensure that they provide the best care during and after the birth for moms and babies.

“These nurses keep everyone calm and comfortable and help families through one of life’s most significant periods, and as we look back on the difficulties of the last two years with COVID-19, we see that welcoming new lives has helped re-energize all of us and help us remember the joys of nursing,” Olberding said.

CHCS selects DAISY Award winners twice each year through a blind selection process. Six nominations for nine different nurses were received for the winter 2022 award from co-workers, patients, or patients’ family members. Other nominees in addition to the Birth Center team were Marlaina Wahl, RN with Community HomeHealth in Onaga; Jenna VanDonge, Surgery RN; Rebekah Rombeck, Onaga Hospital RN; Jamie Todd, Onaga Clinic RN; and Alicia VanDonge, Onaga Hospital and Cardiopulmonary Rehab RN.

The DAISY Foundation was established in 1999 by the family of J. Patrick Barnes, who died of complications of the autoimmune disease idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP) at the age of 33. During Barnes’ eight-week hospitalization, his family was awestruck by the care and compassion his nurses provided. One of the goals they set in creating a foundation in Pat's memory was to recognize extraordinary nurses who make an enormous difference in the lives of so many people through the superhuman work they do every day. In pursuit of this goal, the family created the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses. The simple award and thank you to nurses have grown into a meaningful recognition program embraced by healthcare organizations around the world.

CHCS nurses may be nominated for an award in three ways.

The deadline for summer/fall 2022 DAISY Award nominations is August 31. 

Photo caption: Chief Nursing Officer Mindy Olberding (far left) presented the DAISY Award to Birth Center manager Katie Kufahl, center, and her Birth Center team. From L to R, the nurses are Lindsay Koch, Rebekah Rombeck, Alicia VanDonge, Ashley Bean, and Jolene Wessel.


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