With Sunday's big game approaching, and the Olympics right around the corner, we are — and will be — hearing the word "hero" a lot. From sports page to sports radio to the ad nauseam stream of athlete profiles NBC will air during its coverage of the winter games, hero worship is in full swing.

It's a bit cliché to say, but putting athletes on that holy hero pedestal is often reflective of our misplaced values. I know there are athletes doing great things in their communities. Many have toured your hospitals in hopes of bringing a little joy to patients in the dire of circumstances. This isn't meant to belittle or besmirch their reputations or efforts.

It's important, however, that we pay tribute to the real heroes in health care, those who do amazing things in your institutions every day, often without much fanfare or recognition. That's part of the reason why, a few years ago, we launched the Extra Mile department in H&HN. The goal is to profile the efforts of hospital workers who go above and beyond the call of duty. They can be seemingly small ideas, like when nurse Tammy David launched an effort at her hospital to collect clothing for patients who may have nothing to wear but the hospital gown at discharge. Or they can be larger in scope, such as Jamie Jeffrey's goal of reducing the prevalence of diabetes and obesity in Charleston, W.Va.

And let's not forget the people who do the little things everyday that end up having an enormous impact on patients and families, like Susanna Cheung, R.N. In this month's Extra Mile, the charge nurse offers a lesson for us all by taking time out of her day to just be with patients; to be whatever they need at that time. "These are the moments you want to seize; to be more than just a nurse. It's the human touch," she says.

If you have a staff member going that Extra Mile, we'd love to hear about it. Comment: Twitter