Western nurse wins ‘Nurse of the Year’ award

By Eboni Lacey

January 19, 2013

Registered Nurse Marti Burri received an opportunity that doesn't happen every day. She was able to hang up her scrubs for an evening, pull out a formal gown and walk a red carpet as she was honored as the March of Dimes’ state Nurse of the Year. “It was nice to get away and get dressed up and get an award,” Burri said, recapping the ceremony. “It was overwhelming." Burri was first nominated by Western’s health center administrative assistant Angie Beck, who felt that Burri would be a good candidate for the award. Burri, along with hundreds of other hopeful candidates, was judged by a committee that reviewed nursing credentials such as how long they have been in the practice and what they have done for people within their communities. Beck explained that she nominated Burri simply because she knew how far Burri goes to help people and that based on that alone, she would win the award. “She’s just that good,” Beck said. “Marti is a very caring nurse. She is very involved in patients’ lives. She goes very out of the way to help everyone. Students feel comfortable talking to her.” After a few months of judging, the March of Dimes’ committee selected 17 nurses for 16 award categories. Burri’s category was public health and ambulatory care, which is something that Burri said she is very passionate about. In addition to being an RN for Western, Burri is also a nurse at Heartland Regional Medical Center, a volunteer for the March of Dimes, and she serves on the agency’s board of directors. Burri explained that the March of Dimes’ ceremony was more than just an average banquet, and was a formal black-tie affair held at the Park Plaza in St. Louis. The banquet featured a cocktail hour and a celebrity-style red carpet. Burri, who hardly ever gets an opportunity to dress up, was very excited and felt famous for a night. “My husband and I got our pictures taken and I got a corsage,” Burri said. “It was nice seeing my husband dressed up. We are more casual. It made it seem more special and it felt like a celebration. It was really elegant." Though Burri has many health and nursing accolades, she especially enjoys helping the students at Western, as she feels that it is her priority to keep the campus healthy, one student at a time. “I always promote a healthy lifestyle,” Burri said. “I think it’s very important for students to be feeling well and healthy.” Burri also feels that more students should use the Esry Health Center because it is more convenient for students than other alternatives. “It’s great that we are accessible to the students,” Burri said. “I think they should be able to utilize us here. We are cheaper than most places. They will get good care.” In addition to helping students, Burri also serves as a preceptor, which is a professional mentor for many students in the nursing program. Nursing professor and fellow RN, Evelyn Brooks, was extremely proud of Burri and her nursing award, as she expressed how greatly the nursing students appreciate all of Burri’s advice and help. “She is one of the best preceptors we have,” Brooks said. “Students request to work with Marti each and every semester. She treats them as a colleague and professional each and every day. She is passionate about nursing and passionate about the students.”