Waterloo nurse wins March of Dimes award

Lori Smothers

A Waterloo nurse received an early holiday surprise recently when she learned she won the March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Award in surgical services for all of the metro east region. 

“I was very excited,” Lori Smothers said of her win. “It’s a huge honor, and I’m honored to know my peers think I’m worthy of the title.” 

Smothers has been working in nursing since she graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 1989. 

In her current role at Mercy Hospital South in St. Louis County, she works in pre-surgical assessment. 

That means she cares for patients who are having surgery in approximately two weeks – including completing their medical history, listing any medications they may take, giving them instructions before the procedure, easing their fears about the surgery,  scheduling any testing and more. 

Smothers also occasionally trains new employees. 

Smothers’ peers nominated her for the award. She said she is not sure who officially nominated her, but she has a good guess. 

The March of Dimes, which aims to fight for the health of all mothers and babies, created the awards program to “honor extraordinary nurses… who go above and beyond to deliver compassionate care,” according to its website. 

Over 30 nurses were nominated for the awards in various categories, with an oversight committee picking the finalists, including six from Mercy South. 

Smothers, who did not know how the selection process works, said this was her first time being recognized like this. 

“I was very excited when I was nominated,” she said. “I honestly didn’t even expect to win.” 

She found out she won while watching a live, virtual ceremony. The nonprofit typically hosts a gala each year, but canceled it this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

That did not significantly detract from Smothers’ excitement about her win, which she again said she did not expect. 

“As a nurse, I just do my own thing. I don’t feel like I have been doing anything above and beyond my other coworkers,” she said. “I just feel grateful and very, very humbled with it.”

“I’m so excited to get this award,” Smothers added. “My peers are awesome. Taking care of patients in general, I’ve loved doing that for many, many years now, and I’m excited to continue doing it.” 

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James Moss

James is an alumni of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where he graduated summa cum laude with degrees in mass communications and applied communications studies. While in school, he interned at two newspapers and worked at a local grocery store to pay for his education. When not working for the Republic-Times, he enjoys watching movies, reading, playing video games and spending time with his friends.
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