NEW ULM – A special ceremony was held Wednesday at New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC) to honor former NUMC Inpatient RN Care Coordinator Laurie Austvold, who is the 2022 recipient of the Legend of Medicine Award.
The Legends Award is an 18-year tradition at NUMC. Director Toby Freier said recipients are people who inspire others to achieve great things and who are admired for their values, skills, talents and overall contribution to the medical center’s mission.
Freier said Austvold was known for her big, compassionate heart, “Working tirelessly for our patients and their families from early morning until late at night, and investing in creating the exceptional culture we have today across NUMC.”
Austvold has been nominated for the award by several people, but has touched thousands of lives, including patients, families and colleagues over her 38 years.
Austvold has served as an inpatient nursing coordinator, but has also contributed to pioneers and ethics boards, recognition plays, student mentorship and more.
Freier said one of the nominations for Austvold said, “I’ve always considered Laurie an angel, always helping someone.”
He thought that was an accurate description of Austvold.
The ceremony included testimonials from several former Austvold colleagues.
Natasha Armstrong credited Austvold with training her at NUMC and serving as her mentor. She described Austvold as almost a second mother.
Deb Tauer said Austvold has been known to go above and beyond. She often stayed late to help and never left anything unfinished. It was important to her to make sure everyone was taken care of. Tauer specifically remembered a patient who needed to be transferred to Highland Manor, but there was no transportation available. Austvold pushed the patient in a wheelchair to Highland herself.
Sharie Novak described Austvold as “simply amazing”. As a registered nurse, Austvold would also be willing to learn a new process and train herself. As a registered nurse and social worker, she provided support and empathy to families in need.
Dr. Scott Rysdahl appreciated Austvold’s ability to work with a smile and his compassion for others was inspirational. He also liked the way she worked with others and never talked to people.
Austvold gave a short interview about his career at NUMC. She said her healthcare career started with her parents. She was her father’s nurse, helping to care for farm animals. Her mother always wanted her to become a nurse
As a registered nurse, Austvold enjoys training students. She said it helped keep her on her toes.
As for how she was able to always smile, she said it took less effort to smile than to frown, but attributed it to creativity. Her parents taught her to be kind and gracious. It was easier to look on the bright side.
Austvold thanked her family for supporting her over the years. She has a strong passion for her family, calling them her heroes. She also wanted to thank her hospitable family who did a great job at NUMC.
Although Austvold has since retired from NUMC, she assured her former colleagues and friends that they will remain in her thoughts and prayers.