Cali Solsma, BSN, RN, honored with The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses

posted 5/8/2018 in News

Nurses at Wheaton Iowa are now being honored with The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses!
The award is part of the DAISY Foundation's program to recognize the super-human efforts nurses perform every day.

Kari and Kennedy Huffman with Cali Solsma, BSN, RN

Our recipeint in May 2018 is Cali Solsma, BSN, RN, a nurse at Covenant Medical Center's Ambulatory Surgery Unit. She was nominated by Kari and Kennedy Huffman. Kari writes:

"The entire team that took care of my daughter Kennedy on December 18, 2017 deserves a pat on the back, a high five and 'Go Team!' A new software system is not an easy thing to implement and have it be seamless for your patients, but the team did a great job from our admission time with Nikki all the way through to Post Op, which is where we met Cali.

This was my daughter's 2nd surgery on her foot. We brought crutches, a knee scooter, correct clothing, we rearranged the seats of the van and had a LOT of pillows & blankets. We thought we had our bases covered. WE WERE MISTAKEN. This surgery was not like her first surgery, it was much more involved and took longer to repair.
We opted for a different type of anesthesia this time so she could skip PACU and come straight to Post op - which was a positive as she had no nausea when she woke up. However, her pain this time was intolerable. Her orders were for oral medications, but she had so much pain that she could not take anything by mouth.

Cali went to bat for us and called the physician for IV pain medication- starting on the low end as Kennedy has some adverse reactions to some types of pain medications (forgetting to breathe), but this didn't touch it. Cali continued to monitor her pain, her reactions, and her vital signs. She knew Kennedy needed more medication and called the physician again.

Kennedy needed post op X-rays and last time we went to the X-ray department, but Cali knew that would not be safe & requested that portable films be taken so she could continue to monitor her and do her best to keep her comfortable.
After consulting with the physician, stronger pain meds were given. Cali monitored her heart rate, O2 saturations and BP. I don't joke about the forgetting to breathe part; Kennedy’s SATs dropped into the low 80's and she needed to be reminded to take a deep breath. A little O2 helped out as well. Kennedy was able to get some relief for a short time, but the pain returned again- to intolerable levels. She was writhing in pain and doing her best to keep her foot still.
The podiatrist had made it crystal clear that we would need to stay on round-the-clock pain medications as this was a difficult procedure. If we couldn't get her pain under control in the hospital how were we going to do this at home? There was no way we were going home anytime soon at this rate and it was well after dinner time.
Kennedy said that with the last surgery she couldn't feel anything below her knee, which clued Cali into realizing that she'd probably had a block last time and paged for the on-call podiatrist. He arrived and after brief discussion he agreed a block was in order.
After the block, Kennedy was finally able to rest and relax and was thinking about trying to eat or drink something (this is about 7pm at night and she had not had anything to eat or drink all day as her procedure was not until the afternoon). Cali was more than accommodating with meeting Kennedy's requests. Cali was very attentive to her and stayed in her room almost the entire time. If she did need to leave it was only into the hall to discuss an order and she was right back in.
As a mother you never want to see your child in pain and Kennedy has had several injuries ranging from falling of a bike, crashing mopeds, breaking bones and getting bucked off horses, but I never have I ever seen her in as much pain as I did for this post op foot surgery and it's a terrible feeling when you can do nothing for them.
Cali never left. She was her voice, her advocate and made sure we were BOTH okay. I think it was about 8 pm before we finally were able to make our way home. It was a long day for everyone and yet I never heard a complaint & never a grimace from Cali. She was a support and made sure we were good before getting on our way home."

Kelly Richards, Chief Nursing Officer and Cali Solsma, BSN, RN

The not-for-profit DAISY Foundation is based in Glen Ellen, California, established by family members in memory of J. Patrick Barnes. Patrick died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease. The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.

Bonnie Barnes, FAAN, President and Co-Founder of The DAISY Foundation, said, "When Patrick was critically ill, our family experienced first-hand the remarkable skill and care nurses provide patients every day and night. Yet these unsung heroes are seldom recognized for the super-human work they do.  The kind of work the nurses at Wheaton Iowa are called on to do every day epitomizes the purpose of The DAISY Award.”

Nurses may be nominated by patients, families, and colleagues, and are chosen by a committee of nurses at Wheaton Iowa to receive The DAISY Award. Awards are given throughout the year at presentations given in front of the nurse’s colleagues, physicians, patients, and visitors.

To nominate a nurse for The DAISY Award, an electronic form is available online at