Getting to know the Martha Goodrich Award winner

Last Modified: 7/30/2021

goodrich award

Each year, Parkview Health takes the time to recognize and honor a well-deserving individual with the Martha Goodrich Award, part of the Raymond Rosenberger Trust, for their work to alleviate human suffering. This year, we had the pleasure of sitting down with the winner, Ashley Nickel, RN, Infection Prevention, Erin Goldsberry, vice president, Patient Care Services, the nominator, and the award committee. In our conversations, we enjoyed hearing more about the nomination process, what winning the award meant to Ashley, and what motivates her to continuously carry out such invaluable work.

About the Raymond Rosenberger Awards

Raymond Rosenberger was an only child and never married. He worked for Kunkle Valve for 38 years and was a member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church. Raymond was a very frugal man and invested the money he inherited from his parents, Raymond and Edith Rosenberger, wisely into a brokerage account where it increased in value over many years. When Raymond passed away in 1995, he left explicit instructions regarding his wishes, thus establishing the Raymond Rosenberger Award Foundation.

Within the foundation, Raymond created four awards, all named after extraordinary people who profoundly impacted his life: Maxine Rippe, Minette Baum, Martha Goodrich, and Monsignor Thiele. He established these awards to benefit and be given directly to individuals, volunteers, or employees of charitable organizations who worked to alleviate human suffering dedicated to the health and well-being of those in need. In doing so, he hoped to further encourage volunteerism for the ultimate purpose of enriching the community of Allen County.    

Choosing a recipient

To carry out Raymond’s wishes, a Parkview Health committee came together to choose this year’s recipient of the Martha Goodrich Award. “A group of Parkview leaders, including myself and input from Erin LaCross, senior vice president, nursing professional development, and Linda Francies, CNO, came together to select a winner,” Reverend Patrick Riecke, director, Chaplaincy and Volunteer Services, recalled. “Erin LaCross was the first to express interest in honoring a clinician who cared for the first COVID-19 patient at Parkview Health. And, because it’s extremely difficult to determine the first in that regard, we chose Ashley Nickel. She is not only a registered nurse who cared for patients but also an infection preventionist who helped coordinate the initial response to the pandemic at Parkview Noble Hospital.”

Ashley’s colleagues, and nominator, had only great things to say about her, mentioning her commitment to the community, leading by example and being an excellent source of knowledge and information, providing guidance to her coworkers and community members. Ashley exemplified these qualities when she led the way as Parkview Noble Hospital received its first COVID-19 positive patient last year. 

“She came into the hospital to set up our incident command center with the hospital president and spent the night guiding the staff,” Erin Goldsberry remembered. “She provided constant support and encouragement through thousands of questions, concerns and changes. Ashley did a fantastic job providing the Parkview Noble Hospital staff everything they needed to deliver safe care to the patient. She made staff feel as comfortable as possible during a time of extreme stress.”

Ashley’s perspective

In finding out she had been nominated and then awarded the Martha Goodrich Award, Ashley was flabbergasted. She was completely caught off guard but grateful for the bestowing of such a prestigious award.

“It is humbling but also encouraging,” Ashley said. “For the days I didn’t bring 100% of myself to the job, or I felt overwhelmed, this award is a heartening reminder that even the seemingly little things can have a significant impact. I was just doing the job I was tasked to complete and am thankful that there are so many nursing professionals (much more deserving than I) who continue to show up and do the work that needs accomplishing.”

And, while the pandemic has placed an enormous strain on everyone, Ashley remained motivated. Inspired by this, we desired to know what continues to drive Ashley in her work while also remaining a source of encouragement and support to those around her.

“In light of the last two years, the field of infection prevention has become an even more noticeable part of the healthcare spectrum,” Ashley stated. “Knowing what a huge impact an engaged infection preventionist can have on staff involvement and understanding encourages me to keep going, working towards set goals. Additionally, the framework of infection prevention is to protect both our patients and those who deliver care. I see that as a beautiful thing.”

Final thoughts

As Ashely again took in the momentous occasion, she couldn’t help but be thankful for her colleagues, her nominator and those on the award committee.

“My admiration for them makes this nomination an even more humbling experience,” Ashley said. “The teams I have served on at Parkview Noble Hospital, Parkview Lagrange Hospital and Parkview Infection Prevention have included some of the kindest and most encouraging individuals I have ever worked with. And, while grateful, this nomination seems a bit backward. It was not by my individual success, but rather each team and its members’ vital roles that ensured we were doing the best we could for patients and staff alike.” 

When asked what advice she would give someone considering a career in nursing and healthcare, she had this to say, “Nursing is a wild and colorful adventure and will likely exceed your initial visions and expectations.”

With that said, she urges individuals to look at both sides of the coin. “I encourage everyone to connect with an individual in their intended field and spend time listening to both the good and the bad,” Ashley advised. “Additionally, a mentor is never a bad thing to have; many seasoned nurses are happy to share their accrued wisdom and guidance. You just have to ask.”

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