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(From time to time, the blog features recipients of the IHA Iowa Hospital Heroes Award. These outstanding hospital employees come from across the state and work at hospitals of every size. They exemplify the courage, caring and community focus that are the hallmarks of the hospital mission in Iowa.)

A hero is admired for outstanding achievements and noble qualities. This is true for Pharmacist Michele Birdsell from Henry County Health Center (HCHC) in Mount Pleasant, who is our hero both inside the health center and out in our community.

An HCHC pharmacist since 1996, Michele has positively impacted the lives of patients, staff and students for 20 years. Her actions, attitude and day-to-day concern for our patients are evidence of the passion she has for others. When Michele says “my patients,” she really means it, it’s not just a mantra.

The impact she makes does not stop with her patients. Michele spends a tremendous amount of time, talent and energy as a preceptor for pharmacy students from the University of Iowa and Drake University. In 2011, she was named University of Iowa Hospital Pharmacy Preceptor of the Year. One member of HCHC’s medical staff said, “Michele’s critical thinking skills are second to none. She goes above and beyond to pass her knowledge on to others by being a preceptor to pharmacy students and providing education to staff.”

Michele has been described by colleagues as a shining example of selflessness, caring and compassion. She does whatever is necessary to ensure that patients receive their needed medication in a timely manner, even when that means responding in the middle of the night, in inclement weather or when she’s not on call.

Outside of HCHC, Michele shows her commitment to the community by serving on the local business and professional women’s group. Within that organization she mentors young women to become professionals and supports scholarship efforts. She is also an active participant with the American Cancer Society and has volunteered for more than 10 years with HCHC’s Relay for Life team, helping with fundraisers and volunteering at the event.

Maya Angelou once said, “A hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.” Michele Birdsell is a true Hospital Hero as her numerous contributions have made HCHC and the surrounding communities in Henry County a better place for us all.

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