Todd Switzer was the kind of nurse who would stay with you a while. He’d pull up a chair bedside and talk with you about anything. His co-workers called him a tender-hearted man with a passion for nursing. In fact, it was while he was en route to ProMedica Toledo Hospital to pick up an extra shift in September 2017 that Todd died as the result of a motorcycle accident.
On Friday, November 10, the ProMedica Toledo Hospital recognized Todd posthumously with The DAISY Award, an international recognition program that brings light to the “super-human work nurses do for patients and families every day.” Todd’s daughter, Ashley Switzer, accepted the award on his behalf.
For Todd, the AICU (Adult Intensive Care Unit), was a second home. He would often arrive for his shift with grocery bags in hand, ready to feed the AICU staff with mini pizzas, hot dogs and homemade chili. He always made sure they weren’t without food.
“He would do anything for anybody,” remembers Cheri Thompson, director AICU at ProMedica Toledo Hospital. “He put everyone else ahead of himself.”
Although Todd was a natural nurse, it took him a while to grow into the role. After his wife Angie became sick and he spent time with her in the hospital, Todd decided to pursue nursing. He graduated with his Bachelor’s in nursing in 2013.
Cheri remembers Todd at his job interview about five years ago: “He was so nervous he was shaking,” she said. That nervous nurse turned out to be a super star in the unit—picking up extra shifts, floating without anxiety or complaint, and making friends wherever he went.
Todd “was the calming voice of the unit” with a special ability to comfort and connect. He was often recognized for his exceptional care and was known for spending time with his patients. During his training, his manager, Courtney Hassen, RN, developed a hand signal to remind Todd to “wrap up” his conversation with a patient if she needed him elsewhere. “He cared so much about them that he would talk to them so long,” she remembered.
It was that special attention that left a lasting impression on his patients and co-workers. After his death, the AICU staff discovered notes of thanks from grateful patients, families and co-workers in his personnel file.
In recognition of The DAISY Award, Todd’s family was presented with a certificate, award pin and a hand-carved sculpture called The Healer’s Touch. His daughter signed the award banner on his behalf. The DAISY Award celebrates nurses who provide extraordinary compassionate and skillful care every day, and that’s exactly what Todd Switzer did.