We received the unfortunate news that Kristi Merten was killed in a tragic automobile accident on October 21, 2010. Her parents, Howard and Terri Bahn, and all of her family were so incredibly proud of Kristi's accomplishments as a graduate of the CSB/SJU nursing class of 2000.
We remember her as a fun-loving person and dedicated nurse who worked hard and enjoyed life. She was passionate about advocating for children and their families. As a skilled pediatric critical care nurse at the St. Cloud Hospital, she was adored by her patients and families. One mother writes about Kristi, "In 2008, my 8 year old son, Josh was hospitalized. Josh had a severe anaphylactic reaction from allergy shots. Josh also has Type 1 diabetes, so this made me especially anxious in the treatment of his diabetes while in the hospital. Josh was placed under Kristi's care in the pediatric unit of the St. Cloud Hospital. I remember Kristi walking into the hospital room for the first time. Her big smile, bright eyes and zest of energy, instantly comforted Josh. Kristi had such a positive attitude and genuine concern for him. As long as Kristi was in the room, it didn't seem to bother Josh that he was hooked up to wires, monitors and IV's! During Josh's hospital stay, Kristi and I adamantly disagreed with the doctor's orders related to Josh's diabetes. Kristi took it upon herself to confront the doctor on the issue. (Kristi came back and said they got into a little spat!) After Kristi's discussion with the doctor, the orders were immediately changed. Josh's hospitalization went smooth and he was able to come home healthier and quicker. Kristi had a tremendous passion for the well being of her patients. I will be forever grateful to Kristi for her compassionate nursing skills as well as being an amazing person."
She was educated in the Main Building 4th floor at the College of Saint Benedict. This was a place where we learned how to be the best nurses possible and to exude evidence-based practice, even before that phrase existed. The Main 4th floor looks very much today like it did in 2000 when Kristi graduated. The nursing department is working diligently to change that. New plans are in the works for the long-awaited simulation laboratory along with state-of-the art collaborative classrooms, a functional home care space, and nurses' station. This will definitely be a space we can be proud of and this is an opportunity that we will not let pass us by.
To honor Kristi, we have decided to dedicate the pediatric critical care and family nursing simulation laboratory to her. Her name will continue to live through and among us. Her children and family will be ever-reminded how important she was to us as a colleague and friend.
Please help us to make this a reality. In total, we will raise $125,000 to build and equip Kristi's room. We are asking those who knew Kristi to contribute as they are able. Any contribution (whatever is meaningful to you) will be earmarked for Kristi's room. THANK YOU!!!
Carie Braun, Chair, CSB/SJU Department of Nursing