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Q&A: Maurice Barr, 2015 Grace Doffin Award winner, is passionate about nursing

“We successfully treat children with complicated conditions who a few decades ago may have had no hope of surviving.”
Two weeks ago, Maurice Barr was recognized as the 2015 Grace Doffin Award winner for his exceptional nursing care at Masonic Children’s Hospital.

Nurse Maurice Barr loves giving hope to the children and families under his care.

That is in part why Barr was honored two weeks ago with the 2015 Grace Doffin Award. The award was created by Tony and Jaclyn Doffin, who lost their 10-month-old Grace from complications associated with a heart defect. It recognizes intensive care nurses who have been nominated by families for providing exceptional care.

This year, the Doffins selected Barr, who works in the pediatric cardiovascular intensive care unit at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. We spoke with Barr to get his reaction to receiving the award and to hear more about his passion for nursing.

Describe your role and day-to-day responsibilities as a pediatric intensive care nurse at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.
I serve as a staff nurse, the face of the unit and our organization. As staff nurses, we spend most of our hours in direct contact with patients. Working in pediatrics is unique, because we must care for the needs of our individual patients and the needs of the patient’s family. Our responsibility in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU) is to help treat infants, toddlers, children and teenagers (and some older congenital heart patients) during their entire care journey, from pre-diagnosis to corrective/palliative care and discharge. We cater to each patient’s physical, social and psychological needs.

Why are you passionate about your position?
I know I make a difference. Our efforts give hope to families. We successfully treat children with complicated conditions who a few decades ago may have had no hope of surviving. While surgical management of congenital heart defects is not always easy, I am confident in the abilities of my colleagues, including doctors, nurses and other staff. We work together and meet challenges so we can serve the best interests of our clients. I believe working here makes me passionate about my position.

Describe your reaction to receiving this year’s Grace Doffin Award. What does the honor mean to you?
Shocked! Appreciative! I don’t do this work for recognition, because I believe most families focus on the doctor as central for their child’s care. However, some families do understand the critical role nurses play when it comes to patient care and medical outcomes. There are a lot of nurses here at Masonic Children’s Hospital that deserve this award. I look around me and see many that genuinely care and are passionate about their patients.

Each Grace Doffin Award recipient receives $600 to use for continuing nursing education. What are your future plans, and how will this award help you further your goals?
I have over the years procrastinated about attaining my critical care nursing credentials (CCRN). I will utilize this award as an impetus to better equip myself to care for my patients.

What do you love about the University of Minnesota Health community?
Everything I have said so far speaks volumes about where I work; the CVICU and Masonic Children’s Hospital. I found my niche when I became a nurse, my passion when I started working with congenital heart defects and I my practice here at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.