2017 Nightingale Award Nominees

Nine outstanding nurses from Saint Joseph Hospital were recently nominated for the prestigious Nightingale award. The nominees were (pictured left to right) Lisa Thompson, Clinical Manager, L&D; Melissa Filter, Director, Nursing Professional Practice and Magnet Program; Susan Zabala, Clinical Educator, Med/Surg; Kristi Legaarden, Interim Clinical Educator, Emergency; Marcy Ackert, RN, OR; Nancy Egener, Clinical Manager, Orthopedic Care; Cori Holloway, Clinical Manager, CV Surgery; Amanda Reff, Clinical Manager, Oncology; Hazel Marez, Clinical Manager, Float Pool (not pictured) along with Mary Shepler, CNO.

In addition to honoring all of these incredible nurses at the regional recognition event held April 1, 2017, Amanda Reff was selected as the 2017 Luminary Award Regional winner making her one of the finalists for the State Nightingale Luminary Award. This honor will be awarded at an upcoming recognition banquet on May 13. Good luck Amanda!

The inspiration for the Nightingale award was the nursing practice of Florence Nightingale. There are two nomination categories for the Nightingale award: Clinical Practice (RNs who practice 50% or more in a clinical role) and Administrative (RNs who spend 50% or more in educator, researcher, and other non-traditional practice roles). In each category, RNs can be nominated in one of three recognition areas: advocacy, innovation, or leadership. Nurses are typically nominated by their peers or organization.

Congratulations to all the nominees for their work in the following areas:

Marcy Ackert was nominated for her work to create policy and coordinate multidisciplinary teams to safely care for patients that have received chemotherapy. She reached out to multiple organizations and researched best practice protocols to put in place.

Nancy Egener led a multidisciplinary team that: 1) Finalized the Self-Medication Administration policy for pancreatic enzyme administration; 2) Changed electronic medical record to reflect the change in practice; and 3) Developed and implemented paper self-medication flow sheet and an education process to ensure proper storage, dispensing, documentation and disposal of the pancreatic enzymes. Additionally, to allow desensitization outside the ICU, Nancy: 1) Worked with the NJH CF nurse coordinators to give Medicine North RNs clinic time to observe 1:1 care for desensitization; 2) Developed an evidence-based nursing guideline for desensitizing CF patients outside the ICU; and 3) Trained Medicine North nurses on desensitization.

Melissa Filter formed grass-roots teams of passionate associates to look at the Magnet standards. Melissa formed relationships with the other Magnet accredited hospitals locally and became part of the Magnet Program Director group to learn and explore options and creative methods to help create pride. Melissa used a variety of methodologies to increase not only nurses perception of what they do but what the entire hospital does to make patient care what it is today. Melissa led or sponsored teams to help lead the charge including a Magnet Steering Committee, Magnet champions team which included EVS to the COO, and created an annual report that showcased how nursing matters!

Cori Holloway’s awareness and advocacy for both nurses and telemetry technician’s allowed her to create a program where the units and the telemetry technicians could work together. Cori worked with the telemetry educator to create a robust program that would allow for successful telemetry monitoring. This education was specifically geared toward proper monitoring, recognition, and resources for non-telemetry units, and was deep rooted with support from the telemetry technicians. Cori also recognized the importance of support and visibility in this initiative, and recruited the CNO, inpatient/ancillary directors, telemetry technicians, shift coordinators, educators, and mangers to run the Tele Trolley.

Kristi Legaarden created the SJH ED Simulation-based learning (Sim) program along with nurse leaders, and physicians. Kristi and the SJH ED physician Sim Team attended a 3-day iSim training. Kristi, working closely with physicians, developed and wrote pertinent scenarios, identified target learners, aligned objectives with SJH’s accreditations / goals, offered staff CEs, and excited / energized staff and providers with her results. Kristi identified multiple latent safety threats (now corrected), improved teamwork among staff members, and helped provide better, safer patient care. Kristi has continued to plan, implement, promote, and steer the Sim program making it one of the most successful programs at SJH.

Under Hazel Marez’s leadership, the ED Flow Team formulated ideal state of patient flow eliminating long wait times with “direct bedding.” Instead of waiting in the waiting room for triage, patients move directly from the waiting room to an available bed with quick triage at bedside by a nurse and immediate physician assessment. Hazel gathered feedback from clinicians during the trial. Nurses liked a nurse consistently in triage as this was a safer practice than leaving triage unattended. Furthermore, nurses suggested Control Techs round in the ED answering call-lights to improve patient experience and PCTs transport patients from triage to the ED room taking vital signs. Hazel incorporated feedback into second trial where process moved smoothly with fewer wait time complaints.

Amanda Reff utilized the Nursing Professional Practice Model (PPM) components of innovation and patient advocacy, to reduce alarm fatigue. By determining the most critical alarms and streamlining processes, the team also met the 2016 National Patient Safety Goal of using alarms safely. After Reff implemented her innovative “Tele Trolley” in February 2016, the alarms per CMR tech in a 12-hour shift decreased from 78.0 in January 23-30, 2016 to 59.3, 61.0, and 41.7 in March 6-12, 2016, March 13-19, 2016, March 20-26, 2016, respectively. Prior to the interventions, the Central Monitoring Care Coordination issues decreased from 0.5 in December for all inpatient units to 0.0, 0.0, and 0.0 in March, April, and May 2016, respectively.

Lisa Thompson’s work resulted in fewer babies having unfortunate outcomes due to her advocacy for the enhancement of nurse knowledge of fetal monitoring, improvement in patient assignment for new nurses on night shift, and support for changes in workflow and unit culture to allow for 10 minute “Strip Rounds” every four hours. From February through December 2016 resuscitation of full-term babies in Labor and Delivery was reduced; down from 3 code blues to 0 and full-term neonates needing brain cooling was reduced from 6 to 1. With Lisa’s support of newer nurses to use the chain of command and incorporation of this into the orientation program she has changed Labor and Delivery unit culture from one of “it wasn’t my patient” to one where all caregivers have a system and safe environment in “Strip Rounds” to voice their concern about any patient showing signs of deterioration.

Susan Zabala played a lead role in a multi-disciplinary team that created the following evidence-based ERAS/ERAB protocol that was incorporated into the electronic medical record (EMR). The ERAS/ERAB protocol now structures pre- and post-operative care with:
• Multimodal Perioperative Care Pathways
• Early recovery after surgical procedures
• Focusing on maintaining pre-operative organ function
• Reducing stress response of surgery

The implementation of ERAS/EARB helped the hospital:
• Re-examine traditional practice and replace with evidence-based practices
• Focus on every aspect of a patient’s surgical journey
• Reduce length of stay
• Decrease complications
• Improve patient satisfaction
• Save $5,000 – $10,000 per patient


Former NICU Patient Gives Back to Saint Joe’s

Fifteen-year-old Zach Burks is working toward his Eagle Scout rank with the Boy Scouts and as part of the effort, he made and then donated 100 breastfeeding support bags to moms in the NICU at Saint Joseph Hospital on April 17. What makes this donation particularly special for Zach is that he is a triplet who was born at 30 weeks (10 weeks early) and spent eight weeks at the Saint Joe’s NICU with his brothers Avery and Jeremy. Zach’s younger brother Spencer was also born prematurely and spent time in the NICU as well so this family knows firsthand the importance of the life-saving work done every day at Saint Joseph Hospital.

To complete this project, Zach raised funds, organized a volunteer sewing day, and assembled the final kits which contain essential supplies such as granola bars, water, a journal and pen, tea and an infinity breastfeeding scarf. In addition to holding the supplies, the bags are insulated to help with transporting breastmilk. Zach also donated the funds that were left after making the kits, which totaled $785.82, back to the NICU for their donor breastmilk program.

During the donation on Monday afternoon, Zach and his three brothers handed out the bags to appreciative moms and dads in the NICU and had a crew of supporters there including:

  • Jeanne Burks, mom and a Saint Joe’s NICU nurse
  • Randy Burks, proud dad
  • Mark Williams, Eagle Scout Advisor
  • Dr. Ann Ryan, NICU Medical Director
  • Erin Fierro, current NICU nurse who also cared for Zach and his brothers at birth
  • Sara Griffin, NICU Manager

This heartwarming story attracted media attention and aired on Channel 2, FOX 31 and CBS4.

Way to Go Zach!


Meet the 2016 Associate Safety MVPs

Saint Joseph Hospital Perioperative Services Associates.

While several departments at Saint Joseph Hospital boasted sterling safety records, there could be only one winner of the Safety MVP award. Saint Joseph Hospital’s safety council awarded the 2016 Associate Safety Recognition award to Perioperative Services. Among the department’s accomplishments were:

  • Three fewer sharps injuries than 2015.
  • Zero sharps events for residents since October.
  • A 61% reduction in sharps events since 2012.
  • 100% safety huddles completed for all events.

Perioperative Services had some stiff competition and just beat out two worthy nominees: Environmental Services and the Workplace Violence Prevention Committee.

Environmental Services holds team stretching after every daily huddle, and leadership conducts safety observations, participates in environmental rounding and shares a weekly safety topic in department huddles. The department had two fewer injuries than 2015 and 57% fewer than 2013.

Saint Joseph Hospital Environmental Services Associates.









The Workplace Violence Prevention Committee secured $25,000 in funding to educate more than 500 associates in combative patient TEAM training, increased PEARL reporting and saw no associate injuries surrounding workplace violence events.

Matt Felker, Security Program Manager, and Angela Romero, Behavioral Health Department Manager.

The Magnet Site Visit was Amazing

What a fun and exciting experience to host a Magnet Recognition Program® Site Visit on April 3-5. The four appraisers saw and felt the heart of Saint Joseph Hospital and they were impressed. From EVS to the Executive Team, associates and providers met with the Magnet appraisers to share their stories. Meetings, unit visits and meals were scheduled over the three days to verify, clarify and amplify our Magnet document which aimed to demonstrate our collaborative culture, transformational leadership, outstanding outcomes, empowerment and professional development support.

Be proud Saint Joseph Hospital community! The appraisers used words like ‘amazing,’ ‘inspiring,’ ‘great’ and ‘awesome’ to describe our team. These representatives of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) could not say enough positive things about their time with you. The lead appraiser said, “The Magnet Community needs to hear from Saint Joseph Hospital!”

Next Steps

Now we wait. The Magnet appraisers will submit their report to an independent Magnet Commission that will review the documentation and our outcome data to make the final accreditation determination. We expect to hear in the next 2-4 months so stay tuned. Thank you all for sharing your time, energy and passion during our Magnet Site Visit.

Raise Your Hand if you Love Saint Joe’s!

Saint Joe’s Opens Mothers’ Milk Bank Donation and Outreach Center

Mothers’ Milk Bank (MMB), a Colorado-based program benefiting women and babies nationwide, opened its 70th human milk donation and outreach center, and its 27th in Colorado, here at Saint Joseph Hospital on March 28. Teresa Abel was at the center opening, delivering the first donation of breast milk (200 ounces!) here at Saint Joe’s and celebrating the importance of this community resource.

Abel’s daughter was born prematurely at Saint Joseph Hospital in November and she was worried she might not be able to produce enough breast milk for her. Although she was able to provide an adequate supply of milk for her daughter, Abel understands the struggle of some moms to regulate their milk supply to give their babies what they need to thrive and became a milk donor as a result.

Referred to as  “liquid gold,” human milk provides newborns and babies with essential immune properties, growth factors, hormones, enzymes and many other important properties that they cannot get from formula.

“Saint Joseph Hospital was one of the first hospitals in Colorado to partner with MMB to provide pasteurized donor human milk to babies in need to ensure they get the best possible start in life, “ said Pat Maass, Saint Joseph Hospital Lactation and Education Manager .“We are excited to expand this partnership by becoming part of MMB’s network of donation and outreach centers. “

In 2016, MMB screened, pasteurized and dispensed nearly 800,000 ounces of donated human milk.  During that time, Saint Joseph Hospital used a total of 27,238 ounce of human milk with 18,000 ounces used by babies in the neo-natal intensive care unit and 9,000 ounces used by babies whose moms were unable to provide enough milk to sufficiently meet their needs.

Women interested in giving the gift of human milk are asked to fill out the donation screening form on MMB’s website, www.milkbankcolorado.org, or by calling 303-869-1888. After the initial screening, women can then schedule an appointment at the Saint Joseph Hospital’s donation and outreach center to have their blood drawn. Once approved as a donor, women will be able to drop off their milk at Saint Joe’s where it will be stored safely until it is transported to MMB’s Arvada facility.

A Volunteer Opportunity You Will DIG!

Saint Joseph Hospital has formed a community partnership with Metro Caring to expand the Raised Gardens at the SJH Cancer Center that was originally established in June 2016. It’s fair to say that this partnership organically grew out of our close proximity and shared mission to serve the Denver community. Metro Caring (http://www.metrocaring.org/) is located at 18th and Downing and has provided hunger relief to low-income individuals and families in Metro Denver for over 40 years. Additional programs also promote health and self-sufficiency. Metro Caring invites families and individuals to freely shop for up to one week’s worth of nutritious, fresh foods each month. And, some of that fresh produce is actually grown in our own SJH backyard! So, we’d like your help to make it possible for them to grow even more.

With that goal in mind, SJH associates have an opportunity to help Metro Caring expand the existing gardens located behind the Cancer Center on, Friday, April 21st. We need SJH volunteers to help build five more beds and replace some old dirt with more fertile ground.  This will be a paid SJH volunteer opportunity, if this date and time fall within your regularly scheduled work day and you have your manager’s approval to participate. More details about the event will be provided within the link and to registered individuals shortly before the project date.

Please sign up using the link below and get ready to dig in with us as we grow this project on April 21st.  Additional volunteer opportunities will become available to SJH associates in the near future as well. So, watch for more information about that later on.  Here we grow!

Sign up here:   CCC Raised Garden Volunteer Project

For questions or more information, please contact Jeanice Hansen at 303-318-1312 or jeanicea.hansen@sclhs.net.

The February 2017 Monarch Award Goes To…

The MONARCH Award is presented monthly and is based on nominations from patients, visitors or other associates to recognize those who consistently demonstrate superior behaviors. These associates have displayed themselves as someone who Motivates, is Organized, Nurtures others, has the ability to Analyze critical situations and Restore normal operations, and Care for and Heal others.

The MONARCH nominees at Saint Joseph Hospital have so much passion for what they do, and their teamwork and excellence is appreciated throughout their departments.

The February 2017 MONARCH award goes to Pam Miller. Pam’s nomination is particularly special because she was nominated by four associates, two patients and two family members for a total of eight times over the last year.

Pam is a noted for being incredibly helpful to patients, their families and associates alike. She consistently promotes the mission, vision and values of SJH. She is positive and upbeat and always handles everything with a smile.

Pam “exemplif[ies] the values and service that make a difference to those she serves and works with every day.  Her caring spirit is exceptional. She makes a difference through her actions and healing presence.  She serves as a role model for others with her behavior and interactions.”

Thank you for standing out as an exceptional associate. You are what makes Saint Joseph Hospital known for its excellent care and we appreciate all that you do!

The January 2017 Monarch Award Goes To…

The MONARCH Award is presented monthly and is based on nominations from patients, visitors or other associates to recognize associates who consistently demonstrate superior behaviors. These associates have displayed themselves as someone who Motivates, is Organized, Nurtures others, has the ability to Analyze critical situations and Restore normal operations, and Care for and Heal others.

The MONARCH nominees at Saint Joseph Hospital have so much passion for what they do, and their teamwork and excellence is appreciated throughout their departments.

The January 2017 MONARCH award goes to one of our social workers, Keri Hanson. Keri is noted for her “gentle and beautiful nature” which is why she came to mind when selecting a winner for this month’s Monarch Award. She is known for being genuine and compassionate. She works well with patients, families and other associates. She is known for donating her time and for being a leader in wellness activities including teaching the weekly Wednesday yoga classes at the hospital.

“Keri is nurturing and kind and restores our spiritual side and centers us in order for us, the caregivers, to give back for our patients.”

Congratulations Keri! Thank you making Saint Joseph Hospital a wonderful place to work.

Congrats to Our Q4 Monarch Award Winner!

The MONARCH Award is presented quarterly and is based on nominations from patients, visitors or other associates to recognize associates who consistently demonstrate superior behaviors. These associates have displayed themselves as someone who Motivates, is Organized, Nurtures others, has the ability to Analyze critical situations and Restore normal operations, and Care for and Heal others.

The MONARCH nominees at Saint Joseph Hospital have so much passion for what they do, and their teamwork and excellence is appreciated throughout their departments. If you see any of these nominees, be sure to congratulate and recognize them for their dedication to making Saint Joseph Hospital such a wonderful place.

The 2016 Q4 MONARCH award goes to a very special associate, who was nominated by a visitor. The visitor had parked their car in one of the many Saint Joe’s parking lots and lost track of where it was they had parked. Daniel Parker drove the man around in his car until they spotted where the visiting man had parked. Not only was he relieved to find his vehicle, but he noted the way in which Daniel made him feel after his own embarrassment.

Mr. Parker explained that it occurs very often and not to feel stupid for when one visits a person at the hospital, their focus often is elsewhere. That was kindness. He was most patient, kind and friendly. I was so grateful”

Congratulations Daniel on receiving this quarter’s prized Monarch award, and thank you for being a perfect example of what a caring spirit means to us here at SCL Health.

Are You Ready for Our Magnet Site Visit?

Magnet is about all of us working together to provide the very best patient care! Help Saint Joe’s to be recognized as one of the top 6% of hospitals in the nation when we host four Magnet Recognition Program® appraisers April 3-5. The Site Visit is a chance to tell our story, to show pride in what we do everyday, and to share how you make a difference to our patients.

What Can You Do To Get Ready?

  • Take a look at our document that tells the story of our Magnet journey– it’s on The Landing.
  • Enroll in the HealthStream elearning today. There are still chances to win great prizes!
  • Join us for a fun Magnet Fair on Wednesday, March 15th in the main hospital lobby.
  • Find one of the mobile Magnet carts to learn more about this amazing journey.
  • Take a look at your unit’s data wall and notice our awesome outcomes.

Learning more prepares us to showcase our quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice.