100 Great Iowa Nurse Award 

Great Iowa NursesThe 100 Great Iowa Nurses award recognizes nurses who have made a meaningful and lasting contribution to humanity and their profession and act as mentors to others.

The Iowa Nurses Association, Iowa Nurses Foundation and the University of Iowa College of Nursing collaborate each year to create this list, which celebrates nursing by honoring 100 nurses from around the state. Colleagues, patients, doctors, friends and family members submit nominations.

Nurses selected for this honor represent many sectors of health care, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, school and office nurses.

2014

  • Andrae Eldredge-McMillan, BSN, RN-BC, PCCN, CHFN, Cardiovascular Stepdown Unit, GMC-East Rusholme Street/Instructor, Community Training Center, Genesis Health System
  • Penny Jagers, MSN, RN, CEN, TNS, Administrative Level III RN-Charge, Emergency Room, GMC-East Rusholme Street
  • Virginia Koontz, RN, MSHA, NE-BC, Manager, Rehab Nursing Unit, GMC-West Central Park
  • Joan McCann, MSN, BA, RNC-MNN, Magnet Program Supervisor, Patient Care Services, GMC-Davenport
  • Kim Nimrick, BSN, RNC-OB, Clinical Level IV RN, BirthCenter, GMC-East Rusholme Street
  • Anne Pauly, MS, RN-BC, Staff Development Specialist, Learning & Development, Genesis Health System
  • Nancy Pribyl, RN, Cardiac Rehab, GMC-East Rusholme Street
  • Susan Schuck, RN-Charge, Neuro/Oncology Unit, GMC-West Central Park
  • Debra Ward, RN, BSN, FCN, Cardiographics, GMC-East Rusholme Street/Instructor, Community Training Center, GMC-Silvis
  • John Williams, RN-Charge, Emergency Room, GMC-DeWitt
  • Karen Phillips, RN, TNCC, Emergency Room, Jackson County Regional Health Center (JCRHC), also has been named a Great Iowa Nurse for 2014. JCRHC has been affiliated with Genesis since July 2010.

2013

Cara Boswell, RN, EMT

Cara Boswell, RN, EMT
Supervisor,  Emergency Dept. RN,  Ambulance, Genesis Medical Center, DeWitt

Concern for humanity:

Cara Boswell, RN, EMTCara has been a nurse for over 10 years. Eight of those years have been spent in a small Critical Access Hospital in the community she grew up in. Emergency nursing is her specialty. She enjoys taking care of patients from all walks of life, throughout the entire life cycle from birth to death.  Her position in the Emergency Department (E.D.) also allows her to do what she truly loves the most, being an educator. She takes pride in watching her patients grasp concepts regarding their own wellness and health management.  She gets much more fulfillment from helping patients and members of the community take responsibility for their own well-being. Cara also teaches EMS for a local community college.

For the second time in a row, the Emergency Department has been recognized by Press Ganey for excellent customer service. We won the Summit award in 2006 and again this year 2010. This is an award for patient satisfaction in the 95 percentile or greater for 12 consecutive quarters. The team has actually maintained patient satisfaction scores in the 98th percentile for 12 consecutive quarters. Cara is instrumental in ensuring the team provides excellent customer satisfaction. Cara cares about and empathizes with her patients and their families and senses they know it when they leave our doors.  

She is also an educator at a local community college. She teaches the EMT- Basic program. For most of the students in this classroom, this program is their first introduction to health care. It is important for her students to know that she cares about them and their success. The first day of class, they are given her personal cell phone number and knowledge that they can contact her for any reason at all. They are often invited to come to her home for study groups, so they do not have to feel like they need to find babysitters for their children. She has been told by a few that they never felt like an instructor has cared so much. Her philosophy in life has always been to treat others the way I would want to be treated.

Most significant contribution to the nursing profession:

Cara’s most significant contribution to the nursing profession would be orientation and development of new, or student nurses. Again, the ability to educate is what gives her the most fulfillment  in her career. She has oriented or precepted countless student nurses and new graduates. She strives to ensure that they feel proud of their accomplishments and feels confident they have the tools they need to be successful in their own careers. She is also very involved in her department's staff education. I think the ability and willingness to share and pass on acquired knowledge is the most significant contribution any nurse can make. Cara is a member of her department’s partnership council so she assisted with their process of utilization of supplies which led to developing PAR levels, stocking and decreasing expenses. She was also instrumental in an interdisciplinary project to promote safety by providing 30 seconds of silence during which time ED and ambulance give reports to each other. Cara also has a duel role in health care and functions proficiently as a critical care nurse exception for ambulance and as an emergency department role. This, combined with her ability to educate, is a big contribution to the nursing profession. Cara has also taken on a new responsibility as Level IV trauma coordinator and is enthusiastic about this and will be bring well rounded expertise to the role.

Leadership through mentoring or serving as a role model for others:

Orienting and precepting are examples of mentoring that Cara provides to her department. Additionally, two years ago, she was promoted to Supervisor of the Emergency Department. Staff is comfortable going to her with questions or concerns. She leads by example, ensuring her department and hospital will be the best there is and understands it begins with her. She demonstrates care and compassion to patients and the staff and they follow her lead. She gives 100% to her job and makes it known that this is a wonderful place to work. Cara also provides also for education of staff and the community in teaching ACLS, PALS, and BCLS. She takes on new projects with enthusiasm. She has been involved in development of nursing standards for the health system, and she is part of a health system team that works on improving the overall functioning of the emergency departments.

Once a year, Cara brings out all of the emergency department equipment and works with nursing staff to make sure they are comfortable and competent in their skills in using the equipment. She also does this on a periodic basis during downtime in the ED. This is important so that when a patient comes to the ED requiring use of the specialized equipment, staff are prepared to provide the best care possible to the patient. She also provides leadership for annual skills labs for the entire hospital in her areas of expertise.

Specific event in your career that you feel makes you an outstanding nurse:

The reason for my nomination is my first glimpse of Cara in action in the ED a few weeks after starting here in which Cara demonstrated the ideals of collaboration and teamwork. I received a call from Medical Affairs, asking me to check on the ED as we had a mother with a premature delivery in progress. Since we do not care for obstetrics here, he was worried about physician coverage. The Neonatal transfer team from Davenport was enroute. I quickly proceeded to the ED and discovered that Cara had everything in control. She had already contacted the family practice physician, who was assisting the ED physician with the delivery. She was in conversation with the transfer team and ambulance was present ready to transport mom and baby. Those nurses with previous delivery experience were present and the incubator was in process of warming. All was under control because Cara had everyone working together. The transfer team on arrival was impressed with our preparation. Mom delivered and all went well.

Mary Chilberg, BSN, RN-Charge

Mary Chilberg, BSN, RN-Charge
Orthopaedics, GMC, West Central Park

Concern for Humanity:

Mary Chilberg, BSN, RN-ChargeMary has been actively involved in the community for many years. She volunteered her time teaching first aid to her daughter's Girl Scout Troop and  assisted with sports physicals at a local high school. She was an active member of the American Diabetic Association, has volunteered at the Bix 7 road race medical tent for past 10 years and has joined the Bone Marrow Donor Registry. She also volunteers her time educating the orthopaedic patient population. She participated on a public panel with local orthopaedic surgeons to promote orthopaedic health. She was also instrumental in helping to develop the teaching guide for patients undergoing total joint repair. The training material has been incorporated into a class that is held twice a month for future total joint patients. She is also a member of the American Nurses Association.

Mary is a patient advocate. She feels that  nurses at the  bedside have hands-on knowledge of the patient's hospital course and can direct that patient toward a positive outcome. She is the day shift charge nurse on the Orthopaedic Unit. She has taken an active role in providing appropriate and adequate pain control for her patients. She has taken numerous courses regarding pain control and is a member of the health system pain management committee. She is currently pursuing a pain nurse certification.

She frequently discusses with the physicians appropriate dosing guidelines and advocates for the continuance of the patient's home pain control regimen.

Leadership through mentoring or serving as a role model for others:

Mary is passionate about learning. She is a speaker for the health system's new employee orientation -- presenting on "never events" especially catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI). She presents the proper use of indwelling urinary catheters using research-based findings. She is also involved in the unit-based orientation.  She educates new employees on unit procedures, the charge nurse role and care of the orthopaedic patient. She encourages them to choose a mentor and keep the lines of communication open. She also meets with the nursing instructors from local schools to discuss goals and expectations of the instructors and the nursing staff. She is also a member of the Value Analysis Team (VAT). She frequently volunteers her unit to test new equipment and give feedback. She encourages all staff on the unit to participate and share opinions. She has been an active member of the hospital Spirit Committee, providing fun activities for all employees.  She has also been seen wandering the halls during the hospital holiday party as Mrs. Santa Claus! 

Demonstrating a dedication to nursing:

Mary was caring for a patient with a fractured hip. His mobility was impaired, and he was not able to stand or walk any distance prior to discharge. On the day of discharge to an ECF, he received a phone call from his sister stating that his 90-year-old mother was in the Emergency Room on the other campus of the hospital and not doing well. Mary connected the patient with the Emergency Room, and he was able to talk with the physician caring for his mother. The patient was distraught over the possibility of not being able to see his mother and perhaps saying goodbye to her. Mary called the medics that were to transport the patient to the ECF to see about the possibility of stopping at the Emergency Room to see his mom on the way. After a lengthy discussion and phone calls to the East ER, it was arranged. The patient was tearful and grateful for the intervention on his behalf.  His mother died three days later. How fortunate the patient was to have a nurse that took the time and energy to make this happen.

Julie Dolan, MSN, RN, AMSN

Julie R. Dolan, MSN, RN, AMSN,
Surgical specialty Unit, GMC, East Rusholme St.

Describe how you have shown concern for humanity.

Julie DolanHurricane Katrina compelled me to answer the call for assistance. The moment Genesis offered access to that call, I signed up to volunteer my time and my skills. I spent two of the most humbling weeks trying to make sense of such devastation and the aftermath that completely changed forever the lives of thousands. Whether my time was spent assisting the Red Cross at a makeshift housing facility; moving shipments of medications to Baton Rouge to set up a pharmacy; taking phone calls at a Call Center from worried family searching for their loved ones; taking vital signs and health histories for exams; providing chair-side assist at a dentistry van; or cleaning out animal cages at the fairgrounds that housed pets, farm animals, and strays; the experience was rewarding.

What do you consider your most significant contribution to the nursing profession?

What I consider to be my most significant contribution to the profession of nursing has been my desire and motivation to improve myself through educational growth. I have learned proficiency in nursing through many years of clinical experience. But, the knowledge gained through each and every class I have taken benefits patient care by providing the most recent evidence-based practice.

Leadership through mentoring or serving as a role model for others:

I have been both a relief Charge Nurse and a status Charge Nurse since beginning my nursing career at Genesis. In that role, I was a resource to staff and accountable for patient care and upholding the Standards of Behavior. I always tried to step-up to the challenge and learned along the way how difficult it could be.

I accepted work on quality audits and updating competencies early in my career. I served six years as a Patient Care Area Partnership Chair (PPC), organizing PPC meetings and involving staff in shared governance. I have been a formal Preceptor orienting new hires and have precepted many nursing students.  I also have been a Clinical Instructor.

Is there a specific event or story that demonstrates your dedication to nursing or portrays you as a great nurse?

My best answer to this is that my mother knew long before I did that this was my destiny. She was a housekeeper at Jane Lamb Hospital in Clinton. Her love and respect  for the profession of nursing stemmed from experiences she had as a young girl at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.  She translated those emotions into her dedication as a hospital housekeeper. Everyone loved and respected her as a person and treated her as an equal.

When a Ward Clerk position opened at her hospital, she challenged me to apply for it. My goal was to be a teacher for mentally handicapped children. However, I accepted my mother's insight that this job was meant for me. The job quickly became more than that. Like my mother, I appreciated the therapeutic care that nurses were providing to their patients.

I had many great role models who recognized something within me and encouraged me to enter into a nursing school. I will never forget the day I clocked out at Jane Lamb Hospital, got into my car to drive home, and thought of my mother's words, "What are you waiting for?" I found myself at the doorsteps to Clinton Community College, took a deep breath, and entered into the best career choice and opportunity of my life.

My mother died unexpectedly before I graduated from that program. Two days before her death, she had called me to tell me how she knew that I would accomplish all that I set out to do and how proud she was for me. She said, "You'll never regret it." Once again, she was right. I have never regretted a moment spent providing the best care to my patients that I know how to give.

Maggie Dubin, BS, RN

Maggie Dubin, BS, RN
Magnet Program Coordinator, Patient Care Services, GMC Silvis Campus

Concern for humanity:

Maggie DubinAs an RN, Maggie Dubin has always felt she had a duty to do more than practice her profession inside the hospital. During her career, she has discovered that her role as professional nurse makes her sought after to serve in her community, too.

She serves on the "Wellness Committee" for her parish and has been involved in health fairs, written health facts columns in the newsletter, and performed monthly blood pressure screenings. For many years, she has been a guest speaker at the local middle and high schools on the topic of sexuality, adolescent parenting, and growth and development. 

Maggie has been on the board of Lutheran Social Services and helped to initiate a Mother/Baby Home visit program in collaboration with the hospital. For over 10 years, she served on the March of Dimes Board (at the local and state level). For eight years, she was on the Board of the Edgerton Women's Health Clinic, serving the underprivileged women for OB/GYN services, as well as supporting the local WIC offices.

Maggie was a school board member for the local Catholic high school for a three-year term and currently is on the Board for School Health Link, a community network providing health care and education for children. Other community activities include participation in Junior Achievement at the grade-school level and becoming active in an Autism Awareness campaign that helped with a local fundraiser for a behavioral therapy center in the community.

Most significant contribution to the nursing profession

As a young nurse in 1975, she was challenged to change the culture of the OB Department. This was a time when fathers were not allowed in the Delivery Room or to be in the room with their babies. They were sent to the "Fathers' Waiting Room" and then could only visit their wives during certain hours of the day while the babies were kept in the nursery. She attended a very "innovative" workshop (for those days) and returned to share findings about establishing a "Father's Hour" on the unit, a time when the father could actually be in the room with his wife from 8-9 pm every evening, with a gown on of course! Her nurse manager encouraged her to proceed but told her that the other nurses and the pediatricians would never go along with it. Well, all finally agreed upon a "trial" time period and guess what?! The staff and physicians received such positive feedback from the families that it became permanent. From there, the floodgates were opened, and Silvis rapidly changed to center childbirth around the patient and family. As Maggie moved up the management chain, she was able to affect other innovative practices for the good of moms and babies.

Leadership through mentoring or serving as a role model for others

Maggie has had many roles throughout her 37 years of professional practice. The ability to serve as a preceptor, mentor and role model become evident in each domain. Her ability to teach, communicate and connect with people brought her integrity and respect. Staff RNs and Managers all benefited from her knowledge, skills and ability.

Interestingly, at one point in her career, she was asked to serve as the Interim Manager for the Social Services Department (while still managing a Nursing Department), and met resistance from social workers who felt they should not be managed by a nurse. Maggie not only learned from them and shared her nursing perspective, but after the interim period was over, she had gained their respect. They awarded her a framed diploma as an "Honorary Doctorate in Social Work"!

In the past two years, she has taken on the challenge of being a Magnet Coordinator. Before leaving her manager role, she selected a young nurse who was interested in management and helped mentor her through a variety of management roles -- first as a Supervisor, then Nurse Manager and most recently as a Director of Nursing. 

Story demonstrates dedication to nursing

The one story that comes to mind is Maggie helping a young couple having their first baby, who experienced a fetal demise. This was one of the most difficult days that Maggie has ever had as a nurse. “You feel so inadequate," she says. But as she stayed with this couple for 12 hours, she developed such a beautiful bond and felt honored to have been their support. This was before she had a formal program for bereavement with a stillborn or fetal demise, and just went on instinct. There was really no literature out there yet, but she encouraged the couple to hold their baby, do footprints, and cut a lock of hair for them to keep. Some of the other nurses were horrified that this couple was keeping the baby with them for so long, but Maggie encouraged them to do what they needed. When they came back several years later to have their second child, they requested Maggie and she was able to experience the other end of the spectrum with them this time -- JOY!

Deb Fox, MSN, RN

Deb Fox, MSN, RN
Manager of the Emergency Department, Ambulance at Genesis, DeWitt

At the time this nomination was written, Deb served as a Quality Nurse Specialist.

Concern for Humanity:

Deb FoxDeb is a Quality Nurse Specialist at GMC, DeWitt. She works every day to ensure the highest standards of quality are met through the care that the patients receive. She takes all customer service calls and works with patients and families to make sure their experience with GMC, DeWitt is a pleasant one. Deb works to make sure that all standards set forth by the regulatory bodies of the hospital are in place and maintained. She guarantees patient rights are maintained and that hospital operations are in line with standards of The Joint Commission and Medicare/Medicaid. Deb has worked on special projects addressing patient and employee satisfaction and is directly involved in making sure the work environment at the hospital is a safe and just working environment, all in the name of patient and worker safety.

She supported and participated in trips providing mission work in impoverished Jamaican areas, most recently in 2010.

She has participated and conducted multiple community education opportunities including the following:

  • Safe Kids program with the local school district
  • Operation Prom with the school system
  • Acted as guest presenter for the child development class at the local high school
  • Precepted nursing and nursing leadership students from the local community college
  • Taught “do not smoke” program at local elementary school
  • Participated in Infection Prevention Education for local school districts
  • Provided babysitting training for local school summer program
  • Assisted with Community Health and Safety Days
  • Provided community education on patient safety

Mentor/Role Model

Deb demonstrates organizational skills and responsibilities to those around her. She accomplishes this by serving as a strong and well-organized chairperson of the GMC DeWitt Performance Improvement Committee. She helps department managers identify areas for improvement, then assists to implement changes and monitor improvements in the department. She also chairs the Accreditation Readiness Team. Organizing this team is vital to make certain standards recommended by regulatory agencies and payment bodies are followed. Her organizational skills and knowledge of the regulatory standards help administration, department managers and employees do their work in the most efficient and professional way.

She demonstrates to fellow nurses and nursing students that persistence is important, career development is critical, and that if you set your mind to anything you can accomplish what you set out to do! That each day is a step towards the future and each of us has a significant contribution to make in someone else's life through our profession. Whether that be a patient/patient's family, another nurse or healthcare provider or the community we live in. Nurses are the backbone to healthcare and our knowledge, ingenuity, professionalism and compassion are the backbone to our profession.  Deb does very well at customer service recovery programs representing the customer service needs to hospital management and administration.

Deb provides leadership to the annual recognition event for our facility which provides awards in several areas of service, relationships, Eden philosophy, Rising Star and many others. This is a very successful and creative event which is important for employee engagement as employees look forward to this event for months before the event and talk about how wonderful it was for months after. Employees receiving awards are reminded of how much their service to people in the community matters and they are recognized for this.

Deb also collaborates as a liaison with medical staff to provide information and education for the hospital in the areas of quality, infection control, physician order protocols, physician committee representatives and physician peer review.

Deb is proficient at data collection, statistical analysis as well as creating and teaching computer programs.

Advancing the Practice of Nursing

Deb supports nursing practice advancement and is a living example of her support for the nursing profession. She recently completed her Masters in Nursing, and has helped other students along the path whether it is through reviewing papers or locating books for them. She has completed an advanced literature review on "Just Culture", or fairness in healthcare work environments. She knows this work will lead to identification of problems in healthcare environments so solution to problems can be sought. In the long term, this will lead to safer healthcare environments for patients and healthcare workers, including nurses. This was demonstrated in a capstone project by performing multiple nurse surveys to assess the safety culture of the hospital where she works. Results of the safety surveys were shared with department managers. This lead to Health System organizational change in safety culture which in turn lead to implementation of HPI (Health Prevention Interventions) and development of Just Culture.

She has acted as a clinical instructor for nursing students and also acted as a leadership preceptor for nursing students. Deb has encouraged multiple nurses to return to school to expand their education.

She served as a "nurse manager/charge nurse" in the medical/surgical, OB, ED and OR areas. She is a role model in day-to-day activities as a nurse, creating a positive influence to those lives she touches in her career. Deb’s determination and tenacity are exemplary for example: she functioned as the infection control professional as created the surveillance, data collection and reporting processes for our Critical Access Hospital. She was also a mentor and teacher for her replacement with very positive outcomes.

Specific event that lead to nomination

There are several activities that led to Deb's nomination. The first is her guidance when the hospital had a survey by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospital Organizations. Deb took a lead position in the three-day visit, and her responsibility was to organize the survey events as well as tour the surveyors through the hospital. Basically, showing the surveyors how GMC- DeWitt provides accredited services for patients, in all departments, over a three-day span. This was an all-day, every-day activity. The surveyors look at everything -- policies, clinical practices, how regulations are being met, etc.  She did a tremendous job and the surveyors were very satisfied with what they saw at GMC DeWitt. The other activity Deb has done is to bring staff satisfaction and safety surveys to GMC DeWitt. This information gives administration and department managers ideas of what employees view and is imperative to making important decisions that impact the welfare of GMC DeWitt. 

Her career accomplishments include:

Managing and providing care in the Med/Surgical, OR, OB, ED areas as well as developing her career further with skills as infection control practitioner, employee health nurse, and clinical pathway coordinator. She also provides oversight of accreditation, patient safety, risk management, customer service, and acting as patient advocate and Medical Staff liaison. She has extensive training in facilitation, Lean Process, Performance Improvement Techniques and Nursing Education. Additionally , she is recognized for initializing the utilization of Evidence Based Practice in implementing clinical pathways in the area of CHF, CAP, COPD, MI and Trauma cases, as well as Utilization of Evidence Based Practice to improve patient safety and decrease medical errors.  While returning to school for her BSN, she acted as a clinical instructor for the local community college. She developed many lasting relationships with the students she mentored and assisted them over the years with their career advancement. All of these things have one thing in common, this career development allowed her to contribute day-to-day to the field of nursing, with small steps that have impacted nursing overall within the local area throughout the years. This can often be the biggest impact that one nurse can make during their career. If we can affect just one other nurse to strive to be better and practice to the best of their ability and in turn mentor someone else in the same way, we are building a solid base to develop the future of the practice of nursing.

In addition to the multitude of accomplishments listed above, I am impressed with Deb’s professional development throughout her career while working full-time and being the mother of four children. She started as a CNA, obtained her A.D.N., returned to school after the birth of her second child to obtain her BSN and then returned to school again after the birth of her twins to obtain her master's degree. During this time, she continued to develop in her professional career, as well.

Ann Garton, BSN, RN, ONC

Ann Garton, BSN, RN, ONC
Clinical Level IV RN, Orthopaedics/Magnet Program Coordinator, GMC Davenport

Shows concern for humanity:

Ann GartonAnn has encompassed humanity through volunteerism since high school. She has been an avid volunteer in so many organizations that are too numerous to name. She began all those years ago when a friend invited her to become involved in a therapeutic riding program for those with physical or mental disabilities. She was hooked. For the last 25 years, she has been volunteering in some capacity.  She has since been chair of the family day at a nationally recognized horse show where, at the time, the proceeds earned were donated to the Rainbows Babies Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. She has volunteered in multiple organizations to promote the growth of children through such positions as 4-H advisor and being one of the starting members of the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA). The IEA was started to promote horse showing for students who may not have the means to afford their own horse and equipment. Having been active in the horse world for years, Ann knew how these graceful animals helped her growth in such attributes as responsibility, self-reliance and team building. This program has since grown to offer 3,000 middle and secondary students across the country an opportunity of organized sport within the equestrian field.

Most recently, Ann volunteers at the local greyhound rescue organization and has just been nominated to become a member of the board of a local park and conservatory that she has volunteered at over the last eight years. She has also been involved in a local polo club’s charity event, which distributed funds earned to a local children’s therapy program. She has presented “How to be an informed patient” at multiple women’s groups. Ann sits on two local school committees that evaluate the overall wellness of the school and looks forward to assisting in implementing a health and wellness program in the near future.

Beyond volunteering, Ann is one who will stop and help someone in need. One such example occurred while driving to work one day. She went through an intersection where a woman’s car had broken down. Noticing the woman was overly “frazzled” by many people passing and honking, she stopped to offer assistance. The woman who was hearing-impaired was becoming very frustrated by the inability to communicate her needs. She had no means to call her husband and barely knew how to drive the stick-shift car. Through patience and a pad of paper, Ann assisted her by not only moving her car out of harm's way but by driving the woman to her home to change for work. She then drove her to her place of employment and called the woman’s husband to inform him of the incident.

Ann continues this assistance at the bedside. While working within the Orthopaedics patient care area, she often offered to be assigned a more complex patient, hoping she could in some way make their day a better one. She has been known to buy an ice cream for a patient in need of a smile, drop off forgotten belongings to a discharged patient or offer to assist her co-workers in any way she can.

Most significant contribution to the nursing profession:

While employed on the patient care area, Ann was continually evaluating quality. What evidence supported the care they were giving? What performance improvement project could she assist in implementing to improve patient satisfaction, decrease infections or enhance staff morale? Ann became the chair member of the Orthopaedic’s shared governance and represented that area at the larger Nursing Partnership Council. She became a member of multiple committees and work groups, including the Professional Development Committee, quality representative and multiple Kaizen events to evaluate and implement processes, such as CMS core measures, medication reconciliation, IV improvements, as well as assisted at multiple skills labs. She also became a member of NAON and Iowa Nurse Leader Association. 
 
Recently becoming the organization’s Magnet Coordinator, she is continuing to encourage the best out of the RNs throughout GMC-Davenport. She looks for methods to assist others in recognizing their strengths and how they can move forward in their profession. She sits on multiple committees and has acted as camp counselor during the camp for high school students looking at health care as a possible future career. She continues to strive for quality care but now looks beyond just one patient care area. Her scope for excellence has moved past a specific patient care area and now involves nursing throughout the organization. She is a member of the Nursing Quality Committee and takes the lead in patient satisfaction. She also has recently become the NDNQI site coordinator for the organization and leads our quarterly pressure ulcer prevalence study. Her enthusiasm is shown in many ways – whether it be through organizing a program to facilitate peer coaches for the organization’s clinical ladder,  assisting in the development of policy to improve patient care, or planning a celebration of the many RN successes throughout the organization. 

AG is one of nursing’s biggest cheerleader. One may state the nature of the Magnet Coordinator is to be “the cheerleader” – but Ann was the RN with pom-poms long before accepting this position. She assisted the team in leading the organization to re-designation as a Magnet facility. She continues to encourage others to advance with certification or education, encouraging RNs to research the best evidence-based practice for their patients, stepping in and working at the bedside when an area is short staffed, and celebrating everyone’s success.

Leadership through mentoring, or serving as a role model for others:

Ann has led through both mentoring and as a role model throughout her career. She has acted as a new employee and student preceptor. When faculty has shown their frustration with students not performing at their potential, Ann has offered suggestions on how to better encourage and inspire them. Having had difficulty through school herself due to extreme test anxiety, she probably understands better some of these students’ needs. Many times, faculty have asked Ann to act as a preceptor to struggling students as she has shown patience, encouraged them to utilize their learned skills but also not allowing them to make excuses for themselves.

Ann continually strives to not only improve her own skills within the profession but to bring others along with her. In 2005, she sat for the Orthopaedics certification and then through peer review became the first Clinical Level IV RN on that patient care area. After completing this, she encouraged her peers to follow. She offered a study group to assist in their preparation for the exam. She offered to meet them at all hours to assist in their needs due to their shifts worked and shared her reference materials. That year seven of her peers successfully sat for the OCN exam. Ann hasn’t stopped there. She continues to act as a coach for those working toward enhancing their clinical ladder.  Presently, Ann is working on her MSN. She hopes through her success she can lead others to do the same. She has also completed a program that is supported through a Robert Wood Johnson grant to support RNs with an MSN to become adjunct faculty at local nursing academic programs.

After taking the position as Magnet Coordinator, Ann continues to work PRN within the Orthopaedic patient care area. Many of those that she has mentored in the past enjoy the moment when Ann asks for their expertise – she is always informing them – “You’re the expert."

Specific event that prompted nomination:

Ann's passion for nursing and caring is infectious! Working with Ann on the hospital journey for Magnet re-designation has been an adventure. She took on the role as the Magnet Coordinator for our organization and made it her own. Although she had the help of many people, Ann's vision for nursing and patient care is carried forward. She personally visits patient care areas and engages nurses to tell their stories about the patient care they provide. In doing so, she recognizes nurses, and shows them how what they do every day... the  little things.. have such an impact on our patients' experience, and how " just doing my job" profoundly affects the people they touch. Ann brings forward these stories, shares them, and showcases how important the care that our bedside nurses provide is to our patients and families. She makes it her job to discover the nurses who daily carry on Florence Nightingale's vision and recognizes them for the work that they do, and the caring that they provide. In doing so, she reignites the passion for nursing -- the reason nurses choose nursing as a profession.  This has had a domino effect. Not only is there a reigniting of the passion for nursing care by bedside nurses, but also for nurses viewing what they do and what they know, makes such an impact on our patient outcomes and the patient and family experience.  Many nurses have realized the importance of becoming experts and are taking the steps of obtaining Nursing Certification from their professional organizations, pursuing nursing degrees of higher education and advancing through the hospital Professional Development Program. Ann is a very humble person and is content to have her efforts seen through the success of others. I feel so blessed to know Ann, to work with her and be on her team. It is with great pleasure that I nominate Ann to be recognized as one of Iowa's Greatest Nurses for 2011!

Gary Gonner, BSN

Gary Gonner, BSN, Administrative Level III RN-Charge/Clinical Level III RN
Medical/Surgical Unit, GMC-DeWitt

Concern for Humanity:

Gary GonnerGary entered into the health care profession due to a car accident in his hometown. The Fire Department responded, and no one knew about first aid (because both the nurses in town were at work and not home.) He made up his mind to learn more about emergency care and eventually obtained a license in nursing.

Since then, he has taught many classes to fire departments and first responders and shared  information during nurses meetings, providing CEU credits. He takes time to observe his neighbors for safety and needs. He has attended the Pastoral Nurse series to learn how to incorporate his faith into his nursing practice and community. Gary attends the visitations of previous patients who have passed away. He feels that time spent with a dying patient and their family creates a bond that really is never broken. It not only helps him through the grieving process but provides an opportunity for families to remember they are not alone.

Gary assists with Angel Food Ministry by delivering food to homebound residents. He maintains his EMT license and was a Field Medic in the Army. He was called up and ready to serve for three months during Desert Storm. Gary also works with his neighbors and aging parents to make sure they are safe and their needs are met. Gary has been instrumental in providing education to nursing staff regarding the Pathway to Excellence Program initially and continues to be a strong advocate in our journey.

Gary also shows humanity by helping others advance their careers through the Professional Development Program. He has completed the program and serves as a role model to others.

Significant Contribution:

Gary aspires to work as a patient advocate and a mentor role model for other nurses. An example of patient advocacy would be an experience with a patient, family, and end of life care. He feels so strongly about this that he used this as the theme for his BSN research paper. End of life is an area where nurses truly shine. They have constant contact with the patient, family, and extended family. It is this nurse who consoles, coordinates care, plans care around visitors, and is knowledgeable enough to know when to call for assistance from other specialties who can help the patient and family most. Gary has shared prayers with families while waiting for ministers to arrive, kept the physician informed and talked with families too far away from the hospital to visit. 

A specific example of this (one of many) is the shift he assigned himself of an 80-year-old female patient admitted for respiratory distress, arrhythmias, and infected venous stasis ulcers. She was cognitively alert and was educated about her health. When she decided to stop antibiotics, her level of consciousness wavered and Gary spent more time with her being respectful of her wishes. The family felt safe with his presence. The night before she passed away, she asked him to sit and hold her hand for awhile. He sat quietly and reminisced about the last four days. He realized that this was nursing at its best, providing personal care. Her son took over holding her hand as Gary excused himself for the night. The following evening, they prayed together before Gary left and she died quietly in her sleep. He attended her visitation and her family requested he join them for the funeral service the next day. In four short days, memories were made that Gary and the family will never forget.

Mentor/Role Model to others:

Gary is a teacher/mentor/preceptor for new graduates and nursing students, EMT students, Lab students, and secondly, mentors new employees. He is able to see the 'big picture' and share with the health care providers on priority setting and work planning. He works hard to retain skills in many areas so he can remain proficient and mentor others. Gary takes new nurses under his wing and makes sure they understand important clinical skills before they attempt to perform patient care on their own. This supports his ideal of patient safety and quality care. He communicates with his manager and CNO about concerns that could affect patient outcomes and works to resolve issues, and educate other nurses so patients receive great care. 

He keeps his patient care knowledge current and represents our facility through membership in many system committees, including Professional Development Program (career ladders), Clinical Documentation Group and Recruitment and Retention. Gary chairs and is very active in our Nursing Partnership Council, which is the overarching council for Nursing Shared Governance.

Gary was instrumental in implementation of patient bedside report and advocates for patients by continuing to promote this process, which is known to increase patient safety and satisfaction.

Specific event – outstanding nurse leading to nomination:

Gary loves nursing and every aspect of nursing. His interest in the nursing profession and high energy  levels are impressive. Some nurses grow weary as their nursing career advances. Gary continues to strive to bring the patient needs to the forefront through communication with his manager, co-workers and CNO. He represents patients and is dedicated to addressing their needs.  In situations where most would walk away, Gary tries to address the issues and work towards resolution. He is in tune with everyone he works with and communicates difficult issues to those who need to know. Gary’s demonstration of responsibility, effective communication, and care for patients in his community are what led to this nomination.

Sunyim Kim, BS, RN-BC

Sunyim Kim, BS, RN-BC
Clinical Documentation Specialist
Health Information Management, Genesis Health System

Shows concern for humanity:

Sunyim Kim, BS, RN-BCSun feels if you can connect with the patient, positive outcomes will be realized. She often tells her VNA Nurse story. One day she went to see a patient and found her in the dark, quiet bedroom. The patient's husband was concerned that she did not eat, drink, ambulate or respond to verbal stimuli. Sun looked around the house and saw an old spinet piano in the living room. She started playing. The severely depressed, almost catatonic, legally blind woman came out of her bedroom to the living room all by herself, she followed the piano sounds. She sat on the bench and started playing the Star Spangled Banner and singing with her high-pitched soprano voice. Her husband joined in. He was elated and thankful that Sun provided a connection for his wife.

Another story is about an airplane traveling adventure. While in flight, a passenger went into cardiac arrest. Sun stepped up to the challenge and ran the code! The passenger survived. The plane made an emergency landing in the Bahamas for transportation to the hospital. 

Most significant contribution to the nursing profession:

Sun has been a nurse for over 30 years and has experience in: ICU, ER, OR, NICU, BURN, PCCU, Med/Surg, Dialysis, Behavioral, VNA, and Clinical Documentation. She is certified in Nephrology and Behavioral Health. Wherever she works, she explores ways she can improve care and increase efficiency by using innovative ideas. Evidence-based practice is used and shared with colleagues. Sun goes above and beyond. She studied, researched and developed Urea Kinetic Modeling computer software to ensure the delivery of adequate personalized dialysis treatment. 

She was a reviewer for the Kidney Disease Outcomes Initiative (DOQI), sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation, and was featured in the "Quality of Life" award in the Medical Journal of Nephrology News and Issues as an "Unsung Hero."  She has initiated other research projects; developed programs and procedures; and, shared the outcomes with colleagues. Included are: Relationship between Normalized Protein Catabolic Rate (NPCR) and Albumin, Heparin Kinetic modeling, Clinical Utilization of EPO according to Patient’s Hct, Fluid Modeling by utilizing Sodium, Continuous Venous Hemofiltration (CVVH), relationship between venous pressure and graft clotting, Trend Analysis of water and dialysate for the Dialysis Center. She constantly energizes and initiates innovative ideas to improve patient’s care through her dedicated hard work.

Leadership through mentoring or serving as a role model for others:

Sun has held various positions throughout her career from staff nurse to manager. She always tries to create a comfortable and professional working environment. Her goal is to establish and maintain an excellent rapport within nursing staff and ancillary departments. She is loyal, independent and accountable. She frequently and willingly provides in-services to staff, new employees and nursing students. Sun is a great motivator for staff and co-workers, encouraging them to advance their degree, attain certification or participate in the clinical ladder. Sun has been a great resource who provides support when her co-workers are in need either physically, emotionally, or spiritually. She is recognized as an outstanding performer, preceptor and role model.

A specific event that prompted this nomination:

Recently, Sun developed over 30 Query Forms, in all different subjects, from Anemia to Dementia. She shared these forms with her co-workers hospital-wide to improve documentation. Her strength is not only developing new ideas but also sharing to improve patient outcomes. In order to provide safe care to ESRD patients 365 days a year, she designed a trending tool to keep impeccable water and dialysate analysis constant. Sun believes anyone can learn the most up-to-date knowledge and techniques, but a caring mind can only come from the heart. This is what completes nursing. She is thankful that she has been able to practice nursing in the state of Iowa for over 30 years. She loves being a nurse and caring for others.

Elaine Martin, MSN, RN, CNOR

Elaine Martin, MSN, RN, CNOR
Director, Surgical Administration, GMC Davenport

Shows concern for humanity:

Elaine MartinElaine meets challenges head-on and finds solutions. A few years ago, she identified a community need for surgical techs. There were no programs in the area and recruiting was near to impossible. Elaine initiated an exploration of alternatives and ended up partnering with a community college to develop a training program. She currently participates on their advisory board and has helped identify obsolete or unused equipment at the hospital that could be used in the operating room lab at the college. She also provides clinical experiences for students.  Elaine  was able to hire two of the first graduating class!

Elaine helped develop "The Joint Effort," a multidisciplinary effort of care providers to teach total joint replacement candidates about the pre-, intra- and post-op care, rehabilitation, nutrition and home preparation. This program is offered twice a month and is attended by over 80 percent of the individuals undergoing this procedure.  In addition to this, an annual screening event for those with joint pain was developed. This event provides educational talks, screening x-rays and a chance to speak to multiple caregivers, including the surgeon and implant vendors, in a non-stressful way to determine if the individual meets criteria to become a surgical candidate.

She also was a member of the Advisory Board for a 4-H Horse and Pony Club for nine years. This board helped plan instructional clinics, open riding arena practice, fund raising, county fair awards, and most importantly the "Little Wrangler Show" that catered to the young horseman 8 and under, where the big kids could help teach horse safety to aspiring 4-H members.

Currently, she is a swim mom at a local high school swim team, which means coordinating apparel, meals, senior night, banquet and pictures. She takes new swim parents under her wing to explain swim meets, practice schedules and how to be a supportive parent.

Most significant contribution to the nursing profession:

Elaine has practiced for 30 years as a perioperative nurse, has been certified for 21 years, and is the past president of an AORN chapter.

She was featured in OR Manager Journal for her work on pre-operative patient flow that was determined to have benchmark performance in a VHA study from patient arrival to surgery start time.

She has worked on four separate LEAN projects in two facilities, focusing on the surgical experience, particularly patient flow, from the time an individual decides to have surgery until the time he or she leaves the outpatient surgery department. These projects focus on employee work flow measured by employee and physician satisfaction, on time starts, and turnover time.

In the past three years, Elaine has setup a successful perioperative infrastructure, including the development of a trusting relationship with anesthesia providers and surgeons. She initiated the formation of an OR Committee and has developed policies and procedures that govern the committee oversight. She introduced the concept of a business manager and operational manager for the OR, in addition to creating Service Leads to provide hands-on support to the physician.

Currently, she is providing oversight to the development of a career ladder program for sterile processing techs and partnering with the local high school for sterile processing to be included in the health career program.

Leadership through mentoring or serving as a role model for others:

Throughout her career. Elaine has held adjunct professor positions with several universities and has mentored BSN and graduate nurses through capstone and leadership rotations. She mentors others on how to develop key relationships and stresses the importance of creating an effective work environment that includes the entire team. Currently, she is mentoring three new managers, focusing on developing the servant/service mentality.

A specific event or story that demonstrates dedication to nursing:

Elaine speaks of understanding defining moments in your career that allow you to build one upon another. The defining moment as a staff nurse was learning to work with others, anticipating the needs of the team before they ask and providing emotional support to anxious patients. As an office nurse/private scrub nurse, the defining moment was understanding what is important to the surgeon and the patient undergoing surgery. As an educator, it was understanding your own limitations and knowledge and how to draw on the expertise of others to help guarantee the success of new staff. As a manager, it was understanding budgets, people and process. As a clinical nurse specialist, it was understanding cultural differences that impede learning and acceptance. And now as a director, she puts all aspects of process, structure, and practice together in a way that can articulate the vision of Genesis while living its mission. In other words, Elaine walks the talk.  

Peggy Schaefer, MSN, RN

Peggy Schaefer, MSN, RN
Manager, Genesis Regional Referral Center, GMC Davenport

Shows concern for humanity:

Peggy Schaefer, MSN, RNOver the past 28 years as a registered nurse, Peggy has been very involved in the community. For eight years, she was a certified babysitter instructor for the American Red Cross. Several years were dedicated to educating 12-to-15-year-old children interested in becoming a certified babysitter.

She also served as a mentor for high school students who were interested in a health care career. The Venturing Program was designed to offer high school students the opportunity to experience " hands-on" hospital experiences. This was a very  positive experience for the high school students. The students visited multiple health care areas and received guidance on a medical career. Several of the students are currently pursuing a career in medicine, nursing, radiology, physical therapy and pharmacology. The exposure to the hospital setting guided  the students in making long-term career decisions.

Peggy has volunteered many hours to her church, from blood pressure checks on the first Sunday of the month to educating church members about medications. In addition, she has dedicated many hours of time to the school system as a nurse chaperone on band trips to local events, as well as New York and Florida. Peggy also spent several years working with the Girl Scouts, serving as the camp nurse for winter weekend retreats.
 
She is willing to transform to whatever the need is. Through compassion and commitment, she serves as a resource for her family, extended family, neighbors, community and church. The nursing journey for her is an individual destiny to inspire others.

Most significant contribution to the nursing profession:

Peggy's most significant contribution to the nursing profession is having an optimistic holistic vision. As a leader, she focuses on process and quality improvement. Through Kaizen events and LEAN methodology, she is very persistent in making patient safety a top priority. Involving key individuals and looking at the "big picture" have also been significant to her nursing profession. By working with patients and listening, she is able to evaluate what patients really  want. She is always looking for ways to improve patient care.

Leadership through mentoring or serving as a role model for others:

Over several  years of her nursing career, Peggy provided education to patients and families in preparation for upcoming surgery. She served on a task force to develop a Total Joint class to prepare patients for upcoming total joint replacement.  Currently, she serves as a nurse manager mentoring new employees in the Regional Referral Center and Nursing Administrative Supervisor department. She has developed an orientation that clearly defines the job description and departmental expectations.

A specific story that demonstrates your dedication to nursing:

On July 4, 2010, Peggy was attending the "Heritage Days Parade" in Bellevue, Iowa with her family. The day turned tragic when a team of horses ran out of control, injuring many onlookers. Peggy knew she had to help. Twenty-five people were injured, and there was a fatality. She walked down the parade route to see what had happened. There were so many injuries. From broken bones to multiple abrasions, the injuries and scene seemed very surreal. She identified herself as a nurse and instructed a handful of volunteers to get all the injured to one location, raised a tarp and started a triage unit. Peggy used colors to sort victims by how seriously they were injured. She also took their vital signs and suggested dispatch to a variety of regional hospitals. Quick response and assistance was needed to triage all of the injured children and adults. Peggy's nursing career has been hospital-based, where medical resources are readily available. In the hospital, there are medical personnel and resources at our fingertips.  She never thought her disaster preparedness would be so needed. Everyone blended and worked together as a team to assist with those at such a tragic time.

Denise Westendorf, MSN, RN, CNOR

Denise Westendorf, MSN, RN, CNOR
Nursing Outcomes Specialist, Patient Services Administration, GMC Davenport

Concern for humanity:

Denise Westendorf, MSN, RN, CNORDenise keeps herself active within her community as well as within the nursing profession. Because of her passion and commitment to helping others, she volunteers her time and participates in several community events, such as the Komen Quad Cities Race for the Cure, Melanoma Research Foundation and the SIDS Walk. Her support for youth in her community is reflected in her involvement as a lifelong mentor to the members of  local 4-H Clubs. In addition, she is actively involved within her church community, teaching Sunday School and assisting with Bible School, and youth programs.

She was invited by local elementary schools to present on the career of nursing. While she was at the schools, she took the opportunity to instruct the children on hand hygiene and infection control to help their well-being. Her contribution to the elementary schools demonstrates her ability to reach out to school-age children and present in a fun and educational manner.

Most significant contribution to the nursing profession:

Denise has taken the lead for our organization in promoting the nursing profession to youth in the community. She examined journals regarding the nursing shortage and utilized the information to develop a program intended to inform and interest adolescents in the nursing profession. For the last two years, she has run a five-day "camp" for adolescents that shows them what nursing is all about. After the first year, several participants asked if they could be "camp counselors" the next year. Having participants ask to return attests to the success of the adventure at least in the short-term. Denise hopes to conduct a longitudinal study to determine the effect of the "camp" on admissions into nursing programs and the nursing profession.

In talking with newly employed graduate nurses and listening to their frustrations, being acclimated into the working environment post graduation, she realized there was a need to help reduce the new graduate anxiety. Once more, she investigated the literature and implemented two programs for the organization.

One of the programs is an apprenticeship offered to nursing students after completing their junior year of a four-year baccalaureate program. The program grants students an opportunity to be paid to work side-by-side with a preceptor for an eight-week period of time and witness nursing care provided to patients outside of the structured clinical environment. Nursing students are matched not only with preceptor nurses in their area of interest, but also provided opportunities to work with nurses and patient populations that they may have had little exposure to in the clinical setting. This process is a great recruiting tool for our hospital, allowing the student nurse and the hospital the opportunity to determine if employment within our organization is a good fit.

Realizing newly graduated nurses have limited exposure to some situations they will be facing when caring for patients and families, working with ancillary departments and physicians, Denise again perused the literature to see how she could help. She structured a program allowing new graduate nurses to attend six sessions where information is provided and discussion encouraged regarding their nursing experiences. All the information shared during the sessions is confidential. This confidentiality allows nurses to verbalize their feelings and frustrations, and offers opportunities to discuss strategies on overcoming barriers. Finally, the group provides a support system for the new graduate nurse.

Leadership though mentoring and serving as a role model for others:

In addition to the leadership and mentoring associated with the three programs above, Denise was a Clinical Nurse Educator for her Patient Care Area. During her time in the operating room environment, she progressed though the hospital Professional Development Program. Recognizing she could better serve her co-workers and impact patient care by expanding her knowledge base, she pursued her professional certification and went on to obtain her Master's Degree in Nursing. Denise continues to be a coach for nurses advancing through the Professional Development Program.

Denise wants every nurse to be successful in their pursuits and works hard to see that happen. The programs she initiated, as previously mentioned, are examples of her leadership capabilities. She is also intimately involved in the nursing orientation process and continually looks for ways and tools to help nurses achieve their goals.    

Specific event or story:

Denise and I work together almost every day for the past year.  We share our visions and ideas together. There have been many times where I have been frustrated with a process, and Denise has been able to help me overcome barriers. She uses her sense of humor and love for nursing to help staff increase their knowledge. She uses a very non-threatening approach stating, “Have you ever thought about it this way?…”  She is a visionary, and  I truly believe that Denise is one of the 100 Great Iowa Nurses.

2012

  • Tosha Allen
  • Heidi Bradley
  • Melissa Braddock
  • Lynn Colberg
  • Hoi Dinh
  • Deborah Edgeworth
  • Diane Gehrke
  • Kristin MacDonald
  • Lori Palzkill
  • Paula River
  • Carla Roman
  • Deb Stockdale
  • Peggie Warren

2011

  • Cara Boswell
  • Mary Chilberg
  • Julie Dolan
  • Maggie Dubin
  • De Fox
  • Ann Garton
  • Gary Gonner
  • Sunyim Kim
  • Elaine Martin
  • Peggie Schaefer
  • Denise Westendorf

2010

  • Linda Fennelly
  • Marji Franzen
  • Sue Goddard-Gerrald
  • Kathy Luallen
  • Christine Lynn
  • Angie Overton
  • Deshawn Schmidt
  • Sally Werner

2009

  • Judy Chapman
  • Julie Cutler
  • Lucia Dryanski
  • Kathleen Lenaghan
  • Kelly Schmidt
  • Jennifer Stender
  • Jill Weber

2008

  • Debbie Byrnes
  • Betty Carter
  • Renee Fay
  • Jane Fonteyne
  • Teresa Fraker
  • Julie Frost
  • Wanda Haack
  • Tereze Jeffrey
  • Mary Kerofsky
  • Jan King
  • Sue Knapp
  • Louise Olvera
  • Dianna Paustian
  • Linda Rathje
  • Deborah Schmidt
  • Jennifer Stender

2007

  • Jackie Anhalt
  • Lisa Caffery
  • Debra Elmer
  • Marsha Menke

2006

  • Maureen Carty
  • Karen LeMaster
  • Anne Lewis

2005

  • Denise Antle
  • Terrie Becker
  • Pat Christy
  • Mary Clarke
  • Judy Pranger
  • Marilyn Willits

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