With more than 18 years of nursing experience, it’s no wonder David Naber has become a mentor to his peers and a shining example of what nurses can do when their whole heart is in the job.
Naber was recently named the Outstanding Employee Achievement Award winner for Encompass Health’s Northeast region. He joined Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Sewickley in 2020 after several years working in the long-term acute care (LTACH) setting. As an RN in the inpatient rehabilitation setting, he leverages his years of LTACH experience to help prevent transfers back to the acute care hospital. If a patient requires life-saving intervention—however unlikely in an inpatient rehabilitation hospital—he can effectively lead a response team and provide expert resuscitative care.
Luckily, patients don’t need to be in a scary situation for Naber to shine. He shows care through small but meaningful actions. The hospital leadership team frequently hears feedback from patients who say Naber is willing to sit up with them during sleepless nights, providing comforting words. He also fulfills the role of friendly IT guy when patients need help navigating unfamiliar technology so they can connect with their loved ones.
“David is a true champion for the patient experience. He’s been known to purchase a patient’s favorite meal on his way to work to help them celebrate special occasions or the triumph of being cleared from a dysphagia diet,” said nurse manager Logan Berger. “Those little things make a big difference to people who are overcoming very serious challenges.”
Taking Safety to Heart
As a member of the hospital’s Fall Prevention Committee, Naber is also a play maker in patient safety initiatives. In the night shift charge nurse role, he functions as an extension of management. Every night, he performs safety validation rounds on every occupied bed. Many colleagues regard him as a driving enforcement of bedside reporting and adherence to fall prevention measures.
“I can honestly say he’s made me a better nurse,” says Christina Boyd, an RN at Encompass Health Sewickley. “He assists all the other nurses on each shift by showing true flexibility and stepping in whenever we have a patient who may need extra care. He rarely shows us any sign of stress.”
A Legacy of Care
Naber has even inspired his son, Jacob, to pursue a career in nursing. While Jacob has always been interested in the medical field, he admits that seeing his father’s accomplishments has made the decision easier. Jacob currently works alongside his father at Encompass Health Sewickley as a rehabilitation nursing tech.
“My dad would honestly give the shirt off his back to anyone,” Jacob said. “Seeing how the patients love him and how his colleagues look up to him—that’s something I admire and can strive for in my own life.”
David Naber was named employee of the year at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Sewickley in 2021, and was nominated and chosen as the overall winner for Encompass Health’s Northeast operating region.
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