Becker’s Hospital Review Names Lutheran in the Top 100 Women’s Health Programs

For the second year, Lutheran Medical Center has been recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review for its award-winning care in women’s health specialties, by being listed in the 2016 Top 100 Hospitals and Health Systems with Great Women’s Health Programs. Lutheran is one of just two Colorado hospitals on the list.

The recognition is based on national rankings and awards that Lutheran received in the past year, including the Healthgrades 2016 Labor and Delivery Excellence Award™, the Women’s Choice Award® Best Breast Centers, Cancer Care, Heart Care and Stroke Centers, and national CareChex rankings for women’s health care.

“Lutheran delivers excellent care to all patients, with a significant focus on women’s health specialties,” said Grant Wicklund, President and CEO at Lutheran. “We pride ourselves on improving the health and well-being of the women in our community. We appreciate being recognized for our efforts and will continue to seek out ways to innovate and advance healthcare for all.”

Hospitals do not pay for inclusion on the Becker’s list. See the full list at

Medical Staff Chooses 2016 Phyisician of the Year and 2016 Nurses of the Year

Nearly 200 Lutheran physicians and guests gathered at Mile High Stadium in Denver during the evening of Nov. 17 for the Annual Medical Staff Meeting and Dinner – an opportunity to connect socially with colleagues and recognize excellence in physician care.

The evening continued by recognizing just some of the exceptional clinical skill in the room.

Congratulations to the 2016 Physician of the Year, Ramesh Devanesan, MD, Midtown Inpatient Medicine!

We also congratulate the 2016 Collaborative Care Practice Award winner, John Ferguson, MD, Rocky Mountain Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine!

Congratulations to the physician-nominated 2016 Nurses of the Year!

Amy Dempsey, RN, Women & Children: Amy is well known as a clinical expert in the arena of perinatal care and is regularly sought after by nurses, physicians and community partners for her knowledge and willingness to share, educate and develop others.

Kate Starks, RN, ICU: The best and most talented ICU charge nurse by far. Not only does she do routine patient care and assists the nurses in their jobs, she also manages the ICU very efficiently and is an amazing employee.

Caitlin Wheatley, RN, West Pines: Caitlin is an exceptional nurse to our psychiatric patients. She advocates for them.  She has a fun and friendly disposition and great working relationship with all other disciplines. Her notes are excellent, giving the team a very clear picture of what happens throughout the day.

New Honorary staff member

Physicians and guests also had the opportunity to thank a colleague for an entire career of care excellence and leadership. R. Douglas Hunter, MD, was appointed Lutheran’s newest member of the Honorary medical staff.

Hunter served as medical staff president during the hospital’s transition from Lutheran to Exempla, which was finalized in 1998. He also served as chair of Medical Staff Peer Review.

Click here for more on the story, photos of the event and a list of new physician leaders for 2017..

West Chamber Names Andrea Burch a “2016 Celebrate Women Honoree”

Lutheran’s VP and CNO, Andrea Burch, MS, BSN, RN, was honored last week by the West Chamber. She was among nine local women who were nominated for the honor.

“We are pleased to be celebrating 15 years of spotlighting amazing women who make a difference in Jefferson County and the West Metro area,” Pam Bales, President and CEO of The West Chamber said.

Carol Salzmann, VP of Community and Government Affairs, and past Celebrate Women Honoree, introduced Burch at the ceremony with the following:

Andrea Burch, Vice President & Chief Nursing Officer at Lutheran Medical Center, has transcended expectations through her work both in the medical field and in leadership. 

During her nearly 25 years of nursing, Andrea has served many roles, from certified nursing assistant to a critical care specialty nurse in neurosciences. She has also fulfilled several leadership positions, managing a variety of departments, initiatives and committees. 

Today, Andrea provides strategic direction for nursing professional excellence, quality and safety at Lutheran, and serves as an advocate for staff and patients. 

She relies on collaborative, authentic leadership that encourages nurses to reach their highest professional potential through a “servant leadership model.” 

Andrea is a registered nurse with a Master’s Degree in Leadership of Healthcare Systems from Regis University, and she is currently pursuing a Distinguished Leader Executive Certificate from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. 

When she is not bettering her community, she spends time with her husband, Dave, and their three children. Andrea’s selfless efforts to improve the conditions of both her patients and employees have positively impacted and uplifted the entire medical community.

Congratulations Andrea!

A Week of Ups and Downs

At long last, the activation of the new Philips Patient Monitors has begun! Thanks to the facilities, clinical and admin staff that have made this project a reality. The first care team to begin using these new vital sign monitors was PCU and their section of the Central Monitor Room, followed by Tele/AOU.

The rest of the activation will take place over the next seven weeks, with the assistance of our team of experts, including on-site support staff from Philips. Later this month, portable monitors will be installed for several units. Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to make this project a reality.

In quality news, the Leapfrog Group announced their semi-annual hospital report card this week. After more than two years of receiving an “A” from this particular ratings agency, Lutheran received a “B.”

It’s important to note that the safety score calculation is based on both a self-survey and publicly-reported CMS data from between 2013 and 2015. The results of this survey show that our greatest opportunities for improvement are CLABSI, C.Diff, Post-op PE/DVT and Post-op Respiratory Failure.

Our team has done so much great work in the past few years around safety, quality and education, and it shows in many of our quality ratings such as Healthgrades, Women’s Choice and more. Leapfrog is one of an increasing number of agencies working to provide quality and safety information to consumers.

For comparison, here are the ratings for our local system hospitals and others in our community:

  • Saint Joseph Hospital                                   A
  • Good Samaritan Medical Center                 C
  • Platte Valley Medical Center                        B
  • Anthony, Lakewood                                       C
  • Denver Health                                                 C
  • Swedish                                                             B
  • Anthony North                                                B
  • University                                                         B
  • Sky Ridge                                                          A

At Lutheran, we believe in transparency and are committed to sharing quality and safety information so that patients can make informed choices. There is a crowded field of conflicting rating and ranking systems that use different methodologies and data sources, however. We encourage our patients and associates to rely on the information found on the CHA Hospital Report Card at

Have a great week,


Lutheran Cancer Center Achieves First in Colorado Accreditation

The Cancer Centers of Colorado at Lutheran Medical Center has demonstrated compliance with the standards of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Accreditation Program for Excellence (APEx®), for a four-year accreditation of their radiation oncology services.

“We are pleased to be the first cancer center in Colorado to receive APEx accreditation from the premier radiation oncology society,” said Denise Black-Anderson, director of oncology services at Lutheran and at SCL Health. “Evaluating our processes in relation to ASTRO’s high standards, including standards for safety and quality, validates our practices and recognizes the efforts of our radiation oncology team to deliver patient-centered radiation oncology care.”

APEx is an independent radiation oncology practice accreditation program developed by ASTRO based on a comprehensive set of sixteen evidence-based standards of radiation oncology practice. The sixteen standards are focused on five pillars of patient care: 1) the process of care; 2) the radiation oncology team; 3) safety; 4) quality management; and 5) patient-centered care.

“ASTRO is proud to recognize Lutheran’s Cancer Center for achieving  APEx accreditation,” said ASTRO chair Bruce D. Minsky, MD, FASTRO. “Lutheran’s Cancer Center has demonstrated a commitment to providing their patients with safe, high-quality radiation therapy services.”

Accreditation through APEx is a rigorous, voluntary, multi-step process that can take up to one year to complete. Each center seeking APEx accreditation must have its policies and procedures evaluated using objective, verifiable expectations for performance in radiation oncology. It must demonstrate its commitment to high standards of safety and quality in the practice of radiation oncology and that it practices patient-centered care by promoting effective communication, coordinating treatment, and engaging patients and their families as partners in care.

APEx has a distinctive program structure that includes both a self-assessment process and a facility visit conducted by a medical physicist and a radiation oncologist, radiation therapist, nurse, dosimetrist, nurse practitioner, physician assistant or practice administrator. APEx integrates Maintenance of Certification (MOC) templates that promote value and efficiency for physicians and final evaluation reports that link standards and performance to quality improvement resources. APEx applicants also have access to a library of quality improvement practice management tools to facilitate a culture of safety. APEx reflects competencies and practices identified and endorsed in the 2012 ASTRO publication Safety is No Accident: A Framework for Quality Radiation Oncology and Care. 

About Lutheran Medical Center

Lutheran Medical Center is a community-based, 338-bed acute-care hospital located in Wheat Ridge, CO. Local and national ratings organizations regularly recognize Lutheran for clinical excellence, patient safety and patient experience.

Lutheran’s premier services include a five-star birthing center, Heart and Neurovascular Center, robotic surgery, Primary Stroke Center, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Orthopedics, a Level III Trauma Center and emergency services including the first Senior Emergency Room in Colorado. Senior-focused services also include Senior Behavioral Health and a Senior Surgery Center. Lutheran operations include West Pines, Lutheran Hospice, Bridges Health and Wellness and Colorado Lutheran Home and Apartments. To learn more, visit

Lutheran is owned by SCL Health System, a faith-based, nonprofit healthcare organization that operates eight hospitals, more than 190 ambulatory service centers, home healthcare and safety net services in three states — Colorado, Kansas and Montana. 


ASTRO is the premier radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 10,000 members who are physicians, nurses, biologists, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists and other health care professionals who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, the Society is dedicated to improving patient care through professional education and training, support for clinical practice and health policy standards, advancement of science and research, and advocacy. ASTRO publishes three medical journals, International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics (, Practical Radiation Oncology ( and Advances in Radiation Oncology (; developed and maintains an extensive patient website, RT Answers (; and created the Radiation Oncology Institute (, a nonprofit foundation to support research and education efforts around the world that enhance and confirm the critical role of radiation therapy in improving cancer treatment. To learn more about ASTRO, visit


Fall Daisy Awards!

The Daisy Awards are for “extraordinary nurses” that go above and beyond in caring for their patients.  The program recognizing these nurses was established in 1999 and awards are given quarterly.  Each DAISY Award winner is given a statue called the “Healers Touch” made in Zimbabwe that symbolizes the way these nurses care for their patients. Good Sam wouldn’t be the same without these amazing nurses!

This quarter’s DAISY Award Winner was Eric Wolf, RN – Medical/Surgical/Oncology!
Eric was nominated by a co-worker when a young mother was in his care. She had widely metastatic cancer and was resolute in her commitment to “keep fighting” to stay alive longer for her family. Palliative Care was consulted to support the patient and family about Good Sam’s ability to have an open conversation regarding the reality that she was likely days to weeks from passing. Eric’s open and compassionate nursing care allowed the patient and family to feel safe in asking very vulnerable questions about her declining health. Eric re-opened the door for the team to re-engage and discuss her end of life goals. Ultimately, this young woman was able to have closure and peace. It was less than 36 hours later when she passed with her family around her bedside. If it were not for Eric Wolf’s expert nursing communication skills and compassion, her last hours would have been anything but peaceful.

Thank you Eric for being an outstanding example to others here at Good Samaritan Medical Center.

Congratulations to all of the nominees!!!!


April Gottschalk, RN – Talent Share Float Pool


Bradley Dryden, RN – Float Pool


Brooke Czarnetzki, RN – Mother/Baby


Charlie Nygard, RN – Medical/Surgical


Elizabeth Naranjo, RN – Outpatient Unit


Farida Ebadi, RN – Medical/Surgical


Jennifer Day, RN – Medical


Kate Newman, RN – Medical/Surgical


Kirstin Magliacano, RN – Medical Surgical


Kylie McBride, RN – Talent Share Float Pool


Phil Lampa, RN – Pre/Post Unit


Andi Rutherford, RN – ICU


Angie Allen, RN – Medical/Surgical


Emily Hey, RN – Medical


NICU RN Team – Tiffany Damicus, Jody Haeberle, Cheri Lutton, Ruby Park, Kathy Quintana, Debbie Swofford

Message from Grant – Aug. 1, 2016

Congratulations are in order for our Women’s Services and Labor and Delivery! Healthgrades® just announced the recipients of the Healthgrades 2016 Labor and Delivery Excellence Award™ and our team was honored. That puts us in the top 10 percent in the country for safe, quality care in labor and Delivery. More on the story in the newsletter.  As a bonus, Healthgrades gave special recognition to our patient engagement efforts including the “Your Moments” video and social media developed by our marketing expert. You can read about that in their Women’s Service White Paper.

Working to Improve Hand Hygiene

We all know the importance of hand hygiene in preventing hospital-acquired infections. It’s the easiest, simplest way to cut down on the roughly 722,000 infections that happen in acute-care hospitals each year. The costs of these infections are astounding: 75,000 patients died from HAIs in 2011. Those that contract infections are hospitalized longer, at greater cost. Did you know that 4 percent of all hospitalized patients have one or more HAIs on any given day??

Traffic LightAt Lutheran, we have always been serious about reducing infections. Our latest observation shows that we are at 88 percent compliance, which is pretty good, but of course we need it to be 100 percent. Now, our hand-hygiene campaign has a new tool. We’re piloting the Biovigil monitoring system in the ED and Internal Medicine, starting today. In 90 days or so, we’ll decide if we want to implement it house wide. We are the first in Colorado to try it.

It’s a “handy” gadget that will help us to be open and transparent with our patients and families about hand hygiene as we work to keep everyone safe and healthy. It’s a simple device, worn like a badge, which can detect whether a caregiver has performed hand hygiene and remind them if not.

With better monitoring and reporting, our infection prevention efforts should show great results – it’s worked in other facilities by increasing compliance by 100 to 200 percent, thereby reducing infections by between 28 and 63 percent.

I’m anxious to see if we can show similar successes here, and I appreciate all the staff and physicians for their willingness to try it out. If you want to know more about how it works, check with Fred Meisterplass, our administrative intern, who has assisted with the project. Happy hand washing!

Have a great week,


Lutheran Named One of Healthgrades 2016 Labor and Delivery Excellence Award™ Recipients

Lutheran Medical Center has achieved Healthgrades 2016 Labor and Delivery Excellence Award™, according to Healthgrades, the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. The distinction places Lutheran within the top 10 percent of all hospitals evaluated for the exceptional care provided to mothers during labor and delivery.

“As the only hospital in the west metro Denver area that delivers babies, Lutheran is committed to the best possible quality care for moms and babies,” said Grant Wicklund, Lutheran’s President and CEO. “We are fortunate to partner with several well-known physician practices, such as Westside Women’s Care, Associates in Women’s Health, Red Rocks OB-Gyn, Dr. McArthur Hill, and the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Center for high-risk pregnancies. Together, we deliver skilled, compassionate maternal care.”

In addition to the excellence award, Healthgrades recognized the Women and Family Center at Lutheran for achieving a five-star rating in vaginal deliveries.

To help consumers evaluate and compare hospital performance in labor and delivery, Healthgrades analyzed patient outcome data for virtually every hospital in the 17 states that provide all-payer state data for years 2012 through 2014. Healthgrades found that the variation in hospital performance makes a significant difference in terms of clinical outcomes:

  • From 2012-2014, if all hospitals in the 17 states included in this analysis, as a group, performed similarly to hospitals receiving the Labor and Delivery Excellence Award, on average, 116,703 in-hospital complications could potentially have been avoided.*
  • Further, from 2012-2014, patients treated in hospitals receiving the Labor and Delivery Excellence Award, had, on average, a 36.3 percent lower risk of experiencing a complication while in the hospital than if they were treated in hospitals that did not receive the Labor and Delivery Excellence Award.*

“Selecting a hospital for the birth of one’s child is the first healthcare decision made as parents,” said Evan Marks, Chief Strategy Officer, Healthgrades. “By choosing a hospital recognized as a Healthgrades 2016 Labor and Delivery Excellence Award recipient, parents can take comfort knowing that they have access to the highest quality care for their loved ones.”

For additional details on the methodology for selecting the Labor and Delivery Excellence Award recipients, please see the complete Healthgrades 2016 Report on Women’s Health, at

* Statistics are based on Healthgrades analysis of all-payer data for years 2012 through 2014 and represent three-year estimates for patients in 17 states for which all-payer data was made available.


Q2 Monarch Awards!

It’s official!  Here is a run down of our Q2 Monarch Award winners!

These winners were chosen because they exemplify the traits that M-O-N-A-R-C-H stands for. A Monarch is 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 Good Samaritan have so much energy, dedication and passion for what they do, and their teamwork and excellence is appreciated throughout their departments.

Please recognize the following nominees and our winner for their exemplary work:


Chris Singer – Respiratory Therapy The winner for our 2nd Quarter MONARCH AWARD!!!!



Mary Watson – Cancer Center Lab



Joe Gayatao – Physical Therapy



Rob Brouer – Chaplain



Paula Ellis – Behavioral Health



Lindsey Body – Tech Critical Care 1



Cassandra Bernal – C.N.A. Outpatient



Annabelle Boucher – EVS Aide



Heidi Marquard – C.N.A. Outpatient



Casey Ireland – C.N.A. Surgical Acute



Cassie Blatzer



Robert Ratliff – Facilities



Mike Lueck – Sky Cafe

Saint Joseph Hospital Nurses Receive Scholarships and Awards


Dozens of nurses and nursing students received scholarships and achievement awards at the 2016 Scholarship and Recognition Brunch at Saint Joseph Hospital.

Held during National Nurses Week, these talented individuals received more than $35,000 in scholarships, accolades and recognition from donors to the Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation, health care organizations and hospital leadership for their accomplishments in 2015.

View photos from the event.

Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation Scholarship Funds

For more than 20 years, the Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation has supported nursing education through generous grants from the Viola Vestal Coulter Foundation. Joining the Coulter Foundation in providing scholarship funding are the Colorado Permanente Medical Group (CPMG) Healthcare Education Fund, the Dr. Leroy Sides Nursing Scholarship Fund, and the St. Joseph Hospital Nursing School Alumni Scholarship Fund. All are funds of the Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation.  The Nursing Shared Governance Coordinating Council serves as the scholarship selection committee.


Colorado Permanente Medical Group (CPMG) Healthcare Education Fund Scholarships

The CPMG Healthcare Education Fund was established in December 2002 by the Colorado Permanente Medical Group, the exclusive Kaiser Physician multi-specialty practice.

The fund was established by the Kaiser Physician group to improve the future of health care delivery at SJH and Kaiser, especially nursing education to stem the shortage of skilled clinicians in an acute care setting. The goal of these improvements is to foster a spirit of scholarship, mentoring, and preceptorship. Today, the CPMG support will provide education assistance to students pursuing a degree in an approved program.

Executives from CPMG, Kaiser, Saint Joseph Hospital, and Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation serve as members of the Healthcare Education Fund Committee.

  • Leslie Bierema, CV Care – Regis University
  • Jenifer Grizzard, SS & Proc Cardiology – Denver School of Nursing
  • Cori Holloway, CV Care & Card Monitoring – Western Governor’s University
  • Carrie Jones, Float Pool – Regis University
  • Christina Kauffman, Ortho Care – Western Governor’s University
  • Ashley Mabe, SS & Proc Cardiology – Regis University
  • Joshua Mickelson, L & D – Arapahoe Community College
  • Matt Miller, Card Monitoring – Regis University
  • Marcy Polk, Ortho Care – Western Governor’s University
  • Amanda Reff, CV Service Line – Regis University
  • Jason Schultz, Ortho Care – University of St. Mary
  • John Spear, Emergency – Metro State University of Denver
  • Grace Staehlin, Surgery Care – Regis University
  • Ariana Stemple, Surgery Care – Grand Canyon University
  • Emily Tremlett, Research – Regis University
  • Sam Vigil, Jr, Card Monitoring – Colorado Christian University
  • Mayna Yang , Women’s Place West – Metro State University of Denver


Saint Joseph Hospital School of Nursing Fund

Graduates of the Saint Joseph Hospital School of Nursing Fund support any project enhancing nursing education for associates. This year’s recipients are enrolled in BSN programs.

  • Maria Kouzmina, CV Care – Colorado University
  • Courtney Welch, Inpatient Oncology – University of Northern Colorado
  • Carly Jane Wells, Surgical Care – Rocky Mountain University


Viola Vestal Coulter Foundation – Mabel Monroe Coulter Nursing Scholarships

William Jesse “Bill” Coulter was a well-known early twentieth century mining engineer who made his fortune in the Climax mine. Bill believed in education and created the Coulter Foundation funds to support scholarships in mining, engineering, law, nursing, medical research, music, business, and history. Named after Bill Coulter’s wife, The Mabel Monroe Coulter Nurse Training Scholarships were established in her memory. The Coulter Foundation has helped the Saint Joseph Hospital Foundation provide nursing scholarships since 1990.

  • Jennah Allen, Ortho Care – University of Colorado Denver
  • Denise Huckfeldt, Perioperative Services – Regis University
  • Joseph Mungoma, Float Pool – Regis University

Mabel Munro Coulter Nursing Program Scholarship provides a larger gift over a two-year period. The recipient of this award is Melissa Morales (formerly Edney). Melissa is a 10‑year associate who works as a Lead Dietary Aide in Nutrition Services.

Two Saint Joseph nurses successfully defended their doctoral research to earn their PhDs. Congratulations to:

  • Lynne Bentley, Cancer Centers of Colorado
  • Deb Roybal, Saint Joseph Hospital Senior Leadership Team

Nurse Research Fellows:

In 2015, Saint Joseph Hospital announced the formation of a Nursing Research Fellowship Program. This program offered nurses the opportunity to combine specialized education, practical experience, formation of a research project, and partnership with a mentor. Following an application process, two nurses were selected to complete a 12‑month nursing research fellowship.

  • Laura Diehl, Short Stay and Procedural Cardiology
  • Courtney Welch, Oncology


2015 Presenters, Publishers and Editors

Amy Brown, Inpatient Medical / Surgical Services

  • Guest editor for April 15 issue of AONE’s Nurse Leader

Cyndy Krening, Women’s Services

  • Podium presentations at Colorado AWHONN Conference, ACOG Colorado Symposium, Neonatal Advanced Practice Conference, ACOG Colorado Maternal Mortality & Morbidity Annual Symposium, and Denver SCL Annual Perinatal Safety Conference.

Jisebelle Tizon, ICU

  • Poster presentations at AACN National Teaching Institute / Critical Care Symposium and the 36th Philippine Nurses Association of America National Convention.
  • Abstract in the April 2015 Critical Care Nurse Journal
  • Journal Article in the August 2015 Philippine Nurses Association of America, Inc. Journal of Nursing Practice Applications & Reviews of Research

Sandra Walters, Breast Care Center

  • Poster and Panel Presentation at the International Caritas Consortium.


Daisy Award

The Daisy Award for extraordinary nurses recognizes the superhuman work that nurses do every day. This award was established by the DAISY Foundation – a foundation for the elimination of Diseases Attacking the Immune System in memory of Patrick J. Barnes. Mr. Barnes’ parents established the foundation in Patrick’s memory, because they had experienced first hand the skill, as well as the caring and compassion, of many nurses. The award is given monthly to an outstanding RN at Saint Joseph Hospital.  Congratulations to the following 2015 Daisy Award Recipients:

  • Laurie Bacheller, NICU
  • Rebecca Blethen, Emergency
  • Alicja Federczyk, L&D
  • Allie Hansen, NICU
  • Linda Hearn, Pre-op/PACU
  • Terri Hill, NICU
  • Katie Manart, Emergency
  • Erin Pilger, PPU
  • Laura Schultheis, L&D
  • Grace Staehlin, Surgical Care
  • Sue Vigil, L&D

In 2014, The Daisy Foundation introduced a new annual team award to recognize an outstanding nursing team.

2015 Daisy Team:

  • Suzanne Belcher, Surgery
  • Linda Hearn, Pre-op/PACU
  • Orthopedic Nurses

“From the moment I arrived in Pre-op, Linda and the staff, along with two other nurses were informative, organized, and kind, which really helped because I was anxious. My OR nurse (made the part that I was awake for) feel that I was in good hands; she seemed very skilled and knowledgeable. What REALLY impressed me were the nurses on the 7th floor. They could not have been more kind, efficient, patient, and they came quickly for comfort requests, bathroom visits, and were really informative on helping me figure out how to optimize my pain medications. They were outstanding.”

2015 Daisy Nurse Leadership Award

  • Zari Ortiz

Associate (Beryl Anne Williams) Nomination:

I nominate Zari Ortiz for the “Florence Nightingale / Mother Theresa / General McArthur / Wizard of Oz / Grace Under Fire Award” (an award of my own creation, of course). To say that Saturday night was extremely busy is an understatement. Zari wore the hats of charge nurse / control  tech / environmental services / Jill‑of‑all‑Trades person, AND, she did so with grace and aplomb. I admire the manner in which she maintained her composure under very demanding and challenging circumstances (e.g. prima donna visitor demanding special treatment for his dog‑bite victim friend, constant calls for her advice, etc.). In all of the years that I have worked here, I have never seen it so busy, crazy, and unusual to the extent that it was on Saturday night. Kudos to Zari!

The Nightingale Awards for Excellence in Human Caring was founded in 1985 to honor nurses who best exemplify the philosophy and practice of Florence Nightingale, the 19th century nursing pioneer who epitomized the art of helping people toward their optimal health.

Registered nurses throughout the state are nominated in the fall of each year. Fifteen finalists are selected by the regions and forwarded to the State Selection Committee, who determines the recipients. Each region also hosts a local event for their nominees.


Congratulations to the following 2015 Nightingale Award Nominees:

  • Katherine Kivela, Pre-op/PACU – nominated for her work reorganizing the supply room to make it more efficient, saving nurses time, and better meeting patients’ needs
  • Jennifer Lewis, Medicine/Oncology Educator – nominated for her work on training nurses in preparation for the new hospital
  • Mary Anne Smith, SS & Proc Card – nominated for work on decreasing phlebitis in patients getting amiodarone
  • Chris Vittum, Quality & Safety – nominated for her work on creating a culture of safety

2015 Good Catch Awards:

  • Abby Davis, CV Surgery
  • Laura Diehl, SS & Proc Cardiology
  • Matthew Fondriest, Surgery
  • Cori Holloway, CV Service Line
  • Lori Mahoney, Cancer Center
  • Kim Stephens, NICU
  • Jo Williams, Blood Bank



Nursing Caregiver Awards

  • Luis Armendariz, PCT, IMC
  • Mary Ashby, RN, PPU/Endoscopy
  • Dailiana Astorga, PTC, Medical Cardiology
  • Deb Black, Surg Tech, Perioperative Services
  • Cindy Bozekowski, ICU
  • Kathy Christy, PCT, Medicine North
  • Ana Canales De Martinez, CNA, Short Stay and Procedural Cardiology
  • Esther Dominguez, CNA, Pre-op/PACU
  • Leah Evans, RN, Interventional Radiology
  • Teena Gallegos, PCT, Float Pool
  • Ryan Gaschler, CV Tech 2, CV Lab
  • Danica Iaia, RN, NICU
  • Stephanie Hellings, PCT, CV Care
  • Leila Hill, RN, Perioperative Services
  • Lupe Jimenez, RN, PPU
  • Christine Kobriger, RN, Emergency
  • Ron Kuykendall, RN, Float Pool
  • Raquel Lambrecht, CNA, Surgical Care
  • Pam Miller, PCT, Medicine West
  • Brenda Milon, CNA, Oncology
  • Julia Owens, RN, Orthopedic Care
  • Danika Quintana, CNA, Orthopedic Care
  • Stella Revard, RN, IMC
  • Judi Rihacek, RN, Pre-op/PACU
  • Grace Staehlin, RN, Surgical Care
  • Brittany Stafford, RN, Medicine West
  • Grace Stearns, RN, Oncology
  • Carolyn Thompson, RN, Short Stay and Procedural Cardiology
  • Reyna Torres, CNA, Emergency
  • Sarah Wesson, RN, Medicine North
  • Zeke Wilkins, RN, Medical Cardiology
  • Jill Woodfork, RN, CV Care


Educator of the Year

Amanda Reff, CV Service Line

Amanda goes above and beyond to make sure all PEARLs are covered. She strives to get all the RNs educated. She has set up her orientation book for new associates. She does it all for the best care of our patients.

DSC03278 crop Manager of the Year

Nancy Egener

Nancy joined us in 2014 to open our Medical / Pulmonary unit that is critical to our National Jewish partnership as it is home to our cystic fibrosis patients. Nancy partnered with our NJH and internal colleagues to ensure all associates were educated on the care of cystic fibrosis patients, and the team has achieved tremendous success in this area.

In 2015, Nancy identified a need to start a process to identify patients with insulin pumps so they are quickly identifiable in an emergency situation. She and her team created an armband and sign for the room to identify these patients. This process has been implemented throughout SJH and the SCL system.

Nancy has also empowered her team to investigate the option to perform “desensitization” at the bedside and this has allowed patients to be safely cared for at a critical moment without transfer to and from ICU. Nancy has worked closely with her team to elevate the HCAHPs scores of Medicine North into top decile performance and overcome many perceived barriers related to a very specific patient population.

In October 2015, Nancy volunteered to assume management responsibility for our Oncology Care unit and has played a critical role in working with the team to ensure the department is fully‑staffed and able to care for their patients. She has challenged protocols that will keep our oncology patients in the unit where the certified nurses in this specialty are located. She has engaged a very strong team in maintaining top decile HCAHPs results as well.

Nancy is an active participant in our daily safety huddle with quick follow‑up to serious safety events. She recently led a change in practice on both Medicine North and Oncology after an increase in falls, two of which resulted in serious injury to patients. Nancy worked closely with both teams to put practice changes in place that have resulted in a dramatic decrease in falls and zero further serious injuries to our patients.

Nancy is an invaluable member of our team and many patients are safer in this organization today because of her ability to work with her teams and achieve tremendous outcomes with their involvement.