By Ceil Roeger, OP (Houston)
Sister Mary Brenda, OP (Houston), a teacher and school nurse at St. Agnes Academy in Houston, Texas; and Doris Yordanoff, nurse manager for the Dominican Sisters of Houston, were honored for their dedication to their profession during National Nurses’ Week May 6–12.
Sister Mary was nominated for, and received, an ASHE Award (Achievement in School Health Excellence). School staff and students submit the nominations, which are reviewed by a panel. The ASHE Award recognizes the dedication of health professionals to their profession and students. Sister Mary was nominated for her passion in promoting quality health for youth who need it most.
In nominating Sister Mary, Amy Mattes, director of athletics at St. Agnes Academy, wrote,
“[Sister Mary’s] nursing track record is amazing. She has lived with and cared for school children all over the world from small barrios in Bogota, Colombia to HIV orphanages in rural East Africa. This past year, she organized our students to raise funds to drill two wells for a school in Kenya without water. She also took our students on a spring mission trip to the border of Mexico to repair homes for the poor.
Sister Mary came to our school last year as a teacher when we did not have a school nurse. Immediately, we all felt a certain peace knowing she was nearby and willing and able to handle medical issues on campus. Her abilities soon led us to name her as our school nurse! Since then, she has been a first responder in many situations with ill and/or injured students and faculty members. The day a student fell seriously ill with an asthma attack and cardiac arrest, showed us how glad we were that we had her in place. She changed our school clinic overnight, taking it from just a sleep room to a legitimate health center.
We can honestly say, our school nurse, Sister Mary, has made a world of difference in the health and safety of our school.”
As nurse manager for the Dominican Sisters of Houston, Doris is responsible for the care of the sisters 24/7. When she is not physically present, she is only a phone call away if one of the nurse assistants needs to consult with her regarding a sister’s need or care. Nursing is a ministry for Doris.
Doris was honored in this year’s Houston Chronicle’s Salute to Nurses. For the past 12 years, the Houston Chronicle has invited readers to nominate nurses to be recognized for excellence in their field as a way to honor and celebrate nurses who are often behind-the-scenes heroes of our community. From hundreds of nominations, a panel of judges selected 10 outstanding professionals to represent their colleagues in the annual Salute to Nurses.
Sister Mary Hanel, OP (Houston), wrote, “I am nominating Doris because I truly have never know a nurse as completely devoted to her patients as Doris is. She has worked for the Dominican Sisters of Houston for almost 20 years.”
Sister Mary Magdalen goes on to say, “Doris is spiritually motivated to do her job, and because of that, everything she does is out of love and respect for her patients.”
Doris is an exceptional nurse and caregiver at every phase of her patients’ lives, but her devotion to them is never more evident than at the last stages of life. She is present to nurse, to pray and to comfort. The sisters in turn are grateful for her passion and dedication to assure they receive the care they need.