Univ. of Iowa cancer nurse wins award for her service, encourages others to join the field

Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 6:24 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - The nursing shortage across the country is impacting medical centers in Iowa, specifically those serving cancer patients at University of Iowa Hospitals.

The unique part about Kelli Krutsinger’s job is that she is both personal and professional with the people she comes across.

“There’s just always a connection with cancer patients,” she told TV-9. “I feel like I can do more than just clinical things, like there’s an emotional connection, you get to know families, you get to be their sounding board.”

She says she aims to be a ‘safe-person’ in her position.

She lets her patients know the serious, and sometimes scary information that comes with a cancer diagnosis. But she’s also there to celebrate the little victories in their journeys.

“Let’s take a minute and be normal. Let’s go get a cup of coffee and a monster cookie and sit and talk for a minute,” said Krutsinger.

That’s why Penny Truong, on of Krutsinger’s patients’ daughter, nominated her for the DAISY award. It recognizes nurses who go above and beyond in their service.

“It was just a really great experience, they treated her more like a person than a patient,” said Truong.

She had only interacted with Krutsinger once, but knew how highly her mother spoke of her.

“Before the appointment was over she had reserved us a private, unused room for my mom and myself that had a couch and a bed where my mom was able to rest,” said Truong.

Truong’s mother has since passed away.

While Krutsinger acknowledges that part of her job is incredibly difficult, she still does not regret any of it. And she’s sharing her experience to encourage soon-to-be nurses.

“I feel blessed that I get to do this, that I get to be a part of that,” said Krutsinger.

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