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Decatur Memorial Hospital Foundation Names Cleland Award Winners

Wednesday May, 5th 2021

May 5, 2021…DECATUR – Two nursing students were awarded the R. Helen Cleland RN Award presented by the Decatur Memorial Hospital Foundation.

Sarah WellerSarah Weller of Pittsboro, Indiana, a senior nursing student at Millikin University, and Sydney Wright of Decatur, who is completing her first year as a nursing student at Richland Community College, were each awarded $500 in honor of their academic achievements in their respective nursing programs.

Weller is an honors student at Millikin as well as a member of the women’s soccer team. She recently completed an honor’s program capstone project, “Improving the Continuity of Care for Chronic Pain Patients in the Acute Care Setting.”

Sydney WrightIn addition to maintaining academic excellence in her nursing program at Richland Community College, Wright is a patient care technician at Decatur Memorial Hospital, which has provided her with firsthand experience and knowledge in patient care.

Weller and Wright were nominated to receive the biannual Cleland Award by instructors in their respective nursing programs.

R. Helen Cleland, an early visionary leader, was the first superintendent of the newly built Decatur and Macon County Hospital in 1915 (now Decatur Memorial Hospital). As superintendent, Cleland oversaw not only hospital operations, but also the recruitment, training and supervision of the first group of nurses.

Her devotion was an integral part of the hospital’s growth, and she is credited with obtaining state accreditation for the nurse training program. Her strict, yet loving, care of both nurses and patients earned her the title “Mother of the Hospital.”