May 6, 2022

Inspiring moms: Generations of nurses at UW Health

Kalyn Sonday and her mother Tori Sonday, who are both UW Health nurses
Kalyn Sonday, left, and her mother Tori Sonday are both UW Health nurses

National Nurses Week is May 6-12

Madison, Wis. – Tori Sonday and her daughter Kalyn Sonday seem like they were born to be nurses.

Kalyn is a second-year inpatient nurse working at UW Health East Madison Hospital, and her mom Tori is in her 35th year of nursing working as a clinic nurse at UW Health West Clinic.

“I grew up seeing what a positive impact my mom had on patients and how much she loved her job, so it was a no brainer to follow in her footsteps,” Kalyn said. “I couldn’t wait to become a nurse like her, so I got my certified nursing assistant license at 16 and knew then I would go on to nursing school after college.”

Nursing had a big impact on her family both at work and at home, Tori said.

“Being a nurse made me a better mom because I knew what to expect when they got sick or hurt,” she said. “Kalyn grew up in the healthcare world and I am pretty sure she was the only 5-year-old who knew how to check herself in for an appointment at the clinic.”

But Kalyn’s decision to become a nurse may be traced back even further than her mom. Her grandmother, Beverly Reynolds, was also a nurse at UW Health and the Sondays are proud to carry on that tradition.

“We are all very passionate about nursing and knowing that patients still stay in touch with my mom after all these years shows the awesome power of nursing,” Tori said.

“After I work a 12-hour shift, I call my mom because I know she can relate to all the ups and downs,” Kalyn said. “She knows what it is like to work with providers, family members and it is great to bounce ideas off her.”

In 2005, Reynolds won a UW Health Nurse Excellence Award and this year Kalyn won the “Rising Star” award as a part of the awards series for UW Health nurses. Kalyn’s first call was to her mom.

“I am so proud to be a UW Health nurse like my mom and grandma,” Kalyn said. “I hope I can make an impact like they did.”

Today marks the first day of National Nurses Week, which highlights and honors the contributions and sacrifices nurses make to keep the public safe and healthy.