Relay for Life Team Ramps Up Efforts

Nurse-led ICU team has raised more than $30,000

When Donielle Finding, MSN, MBA, RN, CCRN, became nurse manager of the ICU at Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital nearly four years ago, she asked the unit’s Shared Governance Council to find a community service event the team could participate in. “It’s always been important to me to do community events because it’s good for employee and community engagement,” says Finding, who was named Director of Nursing for Critical Care and Emergency Services at Medina Hospital earlier this year. “It’s fun, and it brings the team together.”

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Nurses on the Shared Governance Council decided to create a Relay for Life team to support the American Cancer Society (ACS) in Medina County. Since its inception in 2015, the team – aptly named ICU Care – has raised more than $30,000 through a series of fundraising efforts that grows each year. “I had no idea what we were getting into when we started!” says Finding.

Fundraising efforts expand each year

The ICU at Medina Hospital only has about 35 employees, but their commitment to Relay for Life is amazing, says Finding. A dedicated team of clinical nurses, PCNAs and the health unit coordinator go far beyond fielding a team of walkers for the 24-hour grassroots event in June at the Medina County Fairground. They have instituted and implemented new ideas for the ICU Care team each year, including the following:

  • In its first year, the team participated in a chili cook-off, the kickoff event for the Relay for Life of Medina County held each January.
  • The following year, ICU Care organized a benefit dinner with a hoedown theme at Buffalo Creek Retreat, a picturesque facility in the wooded Hubbard Valley Park. More than 100 people attended the dinner, which featured music and raffles.
  • In 2017, the team added a fall fundraiser to its list of events. Held at the Beriswill Farms in Valley City, Ohio, the day-long event, which was open to the public, included hay rides, a corn maze, a baked goods sale and more.
  • Last year, ICU Care hosted a 5K race at Buckeye Woods Medina County Park. Approximately 60 people participated in the inaugural run.
  • On March 16, 2019, the team held its annual benefit dinner, with more than 150 attendees enjoying the roaring 20s-themed event called the Speakeasy Soiree at Buffalo Creek Retreat. New this year was an escape room created by a clinical nurse from the ICU. There was a waiting list to get into the escape room, where participants had to solve a mystery that featured photos of costumed hospital executives and physicians as suspects.

Three of the nurses who are instrumental in organizing the efforts of the ICU care team are Steve Depp, BSN, RN, CCRN; Shanna Godsey, BSN, RN; and Lauren Rogers, MSN, BA, RN, NE-BC, RN-BC.

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Advantages extend beyond fundraising

While Finding touts ICU Care’s work with Relay for Life, she’s equally proud of the employees’ work ethic. “On top of all their engagement with Relay for Life, they also provide quality care for our patients,” she says. “It’s amazing how that engagement and the care that they give goes hand in hand.”

Finding also believes that participating in the ACS events is a stress reliever. “What our nurses deal with in the ICU setting can be so stressful,” she says. “It’s good for the nurses and their well-being to have this outlet.”

And most importantly, it’s good for nurses to be involved in the community they serve. “Nursing is such a trusted profession,” says Finding. “Reaching out to the community is important so we continue to keep that trust with our patients.”