Morris Hospital honors obstetrics nurse, educator, counselor as September Fire Starter

Published: Monday, Oct. 2, 2017 5:18 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 6:55 a.m. CDT
Sarah Kastler

It’s no wonder Sarah Kastler’s patients and co-workers love her. As an obstetrics nurse, patient educator and perinatal bereavement counselor at Morris Hospital, Kastler is caring and compassionate, incredibly resourceful, and supportive to all those who need her loving heart.

For all that she does to make a difference in the lives of so many in so many different ways, Kastler was selected Morris Hospital’s Fire Starter of the Month for September.

“I’ve watched Sarah grow from a unit secretary, to an OB Tech, to an RN,” says Theresa Reece, Manager of the Family Birthing Suites at Morris Hospital. “Patients love her, and she is an excellent nurse. She truly is one of the best.”

A resident of Seneca, Kastler started working at Morris Hospital in 1999 as a unit clerk on 2 South and soon after completed her CNA certification. About 18 months later, she accepted a position as an OB tech and discovered how much she enjoys interacting with patients. She completed her RN degree at Illinois Valley Community College and remained in the Family Birthing Suites where she clearly found her passion.

“I love helping labor patients through whole process,” says Kastler. “We get to be so one-on-one with our patients, and through that time, you develop a relationship with them. It feels good to be needed by patients, and I like to help them in their new role as parents. It’s nice when they remember you.”

Along with her role as an obstetrics RN, Kastler teaches Morris Hospital’s Siblings and Baby Care Basics classes, a role that gives her even more opportunity to interact with patients and fulfill her love for teaching.

Most recently, Kastler stepped up yet again and became Morris Hospital’s perinatal bereavement counselor after completing special certification in perinatal loss care. In this role, Reece says Kastler has far surpassed all expectations, whether she is holding a patient’s hand during a sad, difficult time, counseling families and providing educational resources, making follow up phone calls to check on patients and offering support through caring conversations and appropriate referrals, and serving as liaison between the patient, hospital and funeral home. She also provides support to staff who care for patients.

“Sarah has demonstrated deep caring and compassion in her caring for women,” says co-worker Tara Klaus. “Her incredible compassion has given these women and their families support, guidance and comfort in a time of overwhelming sadness. She is willing to help in any situation and finds a solution to any problem or question around the clock.”

Adds Family Birthing Suites nurse Jami Puetz, “Sarah’s understanding, empathy, compassion and support is a tremendous gift to the family and Morris Hospital. She not only knows and understands each role on the unit and is supportive, she uses this experience to deliver excellent care to every patient who walks through our doors.”

While Kastler says witnessing the miracle of birth is the most rewarding part of her job, her additional role as bereavement counselor is also incredibly fulfilling and makes her “heart full.”

“It’s a hard time for the patients, and it’s nice to be able to be their contact person,” says Kastler. “I love everything about my job. We get to be part of both spectrums. We’re there at the moment new life enters the world, and in cases of bereavement, we’re there in moments of sorrow. It’s pretty rewarding to be that person at that time.”

In early civilizations, fire starters were the individuals who had the important job of keeping the flame alive. As Fire Starter of the Month, Kastler received a Grundy County Chamber of Commerce gift certificate, a Morris Hospital logoed clothing item of her choice, a special “Fire Starter” lapel pin, and a designated parking spot for the month. With over 1,200 employees, Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers is the largest employers in Grundy County and winner of the Advisory Board Company’s 2017 Workplace of the Year award.