Mary Reece Story
Mary Reece, RN, one of the newest winners of the D Magazine Excellence in Nursing Awards, knew she wanted to be a nurse long before she finished high school in her home state of Nebraska. After nursing school, an internship led her to Dallas and, eventually, to Children's Health.
Mary started her nursing career in the operating room, caring for both adult and pediatric patients, including burn surgery. In 1981, she came to Children's Health to work in the operating room and later, the cardiac unit, before spending several years in Clinical Education and then working as a day shift charge nurse in the Operating Room, where she works today.
She says she has truly loved her years in surgery and the many different aspects to the environment.
"The OR requires great teamwork, communication, skill and support from every role," Mary says.
Mary doesn't deny the tremendous challenges that come with working in a pediatric OR: devastating diagnoses, critically-ill patients, complex operations or trauma. It can be physically and emotionally draining, but she says it's worth it.
"We have someone's baby and loved one in our care, which is a great honor and responsibility," she says "And witnessing the courage of patients, families and the staff and the pain these children are going through helps keep my life in perspective."
Mary is known on her unit as a team player who demonstrates selfless service to her team members, patients and their families.
"She is always right beside you, making sure you have what you need and available to assist you while giving you a chance to grow," says Mitch Maza, Team Leader in the OR. "As a charge nurse she is always calm, cool and collected and exudes confidence in handling the daily operations of the OR and instills trust in the team that if we're all working together, we can provide the best quality care for our patients."
When Mary's not at work, she enjoys family gatherings with her four children and nine grandchildren and taking road trips with her husband.