March of Dimes Celebrates Outstanding Community Nurses

Feb 03, 2014 at 04:31 pm by Staff

Middle Tennessee Organization Hosts Annual Nurse of the Year Awards On Dec. 10, 2013, nurses from across Middle Tennessee gathered to honor their own at the fourth annual March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Awards. HighPoint Health System CEO Susan Peach, RN, BSN, served as the gala event’s chair with Cathy Taylor, DrPH, MSN, RN, dean of Belmont University’s College of Health Sciences and Nursing, in the role of honorary chair. Sumner Regional Medical Center, a LifePoint Hospitals’ facility under the HighPoint umbrella, was the event’s presenting sponsor. Continuing tradition, Nashville Medical News served as media sponsor and Dan Thomas, WSMV - Channel 4 meteorologist, as the evening’s emcee.While top nurses were recognized for their body of work in 16 categories, all of the more than 160 nominees represent the March of Dimes vision for healthier, happier, stronger, safer infants and families. Advance Practice Sponsored by Cigna HealthSpringRene Love, DNP, PMHNP/CNS-BCVanderbilt University School of NursingLove is described as a consummate practitioner, educator and scholar with more than 25 years experience. An assistant professor and the director of the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program, she has spent her nursing career collaborating with professionals from multiple disciplines and organizations. Love’s work has focused on helping those who have experienced crisis or disaster. In addition to coordinating relief for individuals, she has trained public school systems to provide mental health support after unexpected deaths, natural disasters and school shootings.Behavioral Health Jessica Walker, RN, BSNVanderbilt University Medical CenterWalker has been in practice in Tennessee for only two years but has already gained a reputation for exhibiting leadership skills while being a team player. Passionate about psychiatric nursing, she has a heart for service that allows her to connect with patients facing tremendous behavioral health barriers. When not with patients, she is thinking about ways to improve care through evidence-based practice and research. Walker has been heavily involved in a recent project looking at sensory rooms for de-escalation at Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital.CardiacDenise Gould, LPNSumner Regional Medical CenterFour years into her second career as a nurse after working as a teacher for eight years, Gould brings the skills she learned in the classroom to the cardiac care arena. She has incorporated a ‘leading by example’ attitude to help train other nurses as they join the staff. Patient welfare and satisfaction are her top two priorities. To ensure every patient receives the appropriate level of care, she relies on her personal motto of “See a need; fill a need.” Critical CareSponsored by Sumner Regional Medical CenterDiane Comer, RNC-NIC, MSN, BSNMonroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at VanderbiltAn experienced NICU nurse, Comer brings 25 years of experience to her passion for quality improvement and patient safety. In recent years, she has dedicated her leadership efforts to promoting and modeling best practices to reduce hospital-acquired infections and appropriate completion of the required newborn screening tests for the nurses of the Monroe Carell NICU. Her concern for patient safety helps assure Tennessee’s tiniest residents have the best chance at optimal short-term and long-term outcomes.EmergencySponsored by Sumner Regional Medical CenterMelissa Perkins, RN, BSN, EMT-P, CENTriStar Horizon Medical CenterAwesome, effervescent, inspiring, selfless, unbeatable, superhero … these are just some of the words colleagues use to describe Perkins. The clinical coordinator for Horizon’s Emergency Department, Perkins has been a nurse for nine years. While working as a paramedic, she experienced a life-changing accident that created physical and emotional challenges, which many would find difficult to overcome. Instead, Perkins used those challenges to fuel her desire to pursue a graduate degree in nursing while keeping her paramedic licensure current. She epitomizes the ‘grace under pressure’ mindset required of emergency medicine nurses.Entry to Practice Nursing EducationSponsored by Lipscomb University School of NursingRobin Seaton, MSN, RNC-OB, FNP-BC, C-EFMVanderbilt University Medical CenterA nurse for 16 years and practicing in Tennessee for 11 years, this nurse educator invests herself fully in ensuring new staff nurses are well prepared and actively mentored along their journey. Seaton strives to foster a team spirit atmosphere and is willing to stand up for her patients and nursing colleagues … even when it might be the unpopular position. She is known and respected for her integrity, passion and intellect.Graduate Nursing EducationSponsored by Belmont University College of Health Sciences and NursingAbby Parish, DNP, MSNVanderbilt University School of NursingRecognizing educators have the responsibility … and amazing opportunity … to showcase the values and behaviors the nursing profession hopes to cultivate in students, Parish models a collaborative, respectful, professional practice both in the classroom and clinical settings. The assistant professor makes it a priority to know each student as individuals and recognize the different learning styles to best prepare nurses for the responsibility of advanced practice.Managed CareSponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Community TrustKathy Shinkle, RN, BSNUnitedHealthcareA problem-solver by nature, Shinkle is constantly looking for innovative solutions to improve the patient experience. She embraces opportunities to build a collaborative environment and bridge communications between departments. Her passion for nursing extends well past the workday. She is actively engaged in assisting organizations that support families going through the adoption process and promotes awareness of human trafficking.  Shinkle also volunteers her time and skills overseas including two mission trips to Thailand to work with an orphanage. Nursing AdministrationSponsored by Healthcare REITLori Ferranti, RN, BSN, MSN, PhD, MBATennessee Department of HealthAs director of the TDH Office of Policy, Planning and Assessment, Ferranti is a population health champion. The way she leads her team is rooted in her early career experiences as the lone registered nurse in a rural hospital more than two decades ago. With ink barely dry on her diploma, she instinctively realized the best way to be an effective leader and clinician was to engage colleagues and work side-by-side with staff. Today, that collaborative mindset helps inform evidence-based practices and programming designed to promote, protect and improve the health of Tennesseans.PediatricSponsored by Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at VanderbiltApril Graves, RN, BSNSaint Thomas Midtown HospitalGraves, who has been practicing for nearly a decade, looks at her profession as a calling. She embraces her responsibility as a healthcare provider to deliver evidence-based care consistently and with the highest quality to patients and their families. Admittedly inquisitive, Graves isn’t afraid to ask questions when encountering new challenges or processes that don’t make sense. Never satisfied with a “that’s just the way we’ve always done it” reply, she looks at those types of responses as reasons to review current practices to ensure they offer the best options for optimal patient outcomes.Public HealthSponsored by AmerigroupCarolyn Riviere, BSN, MSMetro Public Health DepartmentDescribed by colleagues as one of the “gladiators” in public health, this 43-year nursing veteran is passionate about harnessing her many personal and professional experiences to improve the health of Tennessee families. Riviere energetically works with staff, clients and community partners to formulate programs and influence policy aimed at improving infant mortality rates at a time when many in her position would be considering retirement. Actually, Riviere did retire once … only to find she missed nursing too much to stay home. Those who depend on her insight and experience are certainly glad she returned to the workforce.Quality and Risk ManagementSponsored by Community Health SystemsSherree Spry, RN, BS, CPHRMTriStar Centennial Medical CenterAs vice president of Quality and Risk Management at TriStar Centennial, Spry brings more than 35 years of experience to her crusade to assist healthcare professionals in identifying the processes and methods to help them deliver care in the safest, most effective manner possible. While part of her job is to share rules and expectations, she takes the time to explain the rationale behind the processes. Colleagues say she models her mantra — quality is doing what’s right … even when no one is looking.  ResearchSponsored by Vanderbilt University School of NursingMelanie Lutenbacher, RN, FNP/PNP, MSN, PhD, FAANVanderbilt University School of NursingThis dedicated nurse researcher and associate professor of Nursing and Medicine works on projects impacting children and families in crisis. Recent projects have focused on community and home-based interventions to prevent or reduce risks associated with preterm births, family violence and at-risk parenting. Lutenbacher, who has nearly 40 years of nursing experience, is energized by the dynamic interchanges with women, children, clinicians, students and policymakers … whether it’s hearing their stories, helping their voices be heard or joining forces to speak up for lasting change.Student Nurse of the YearSponsored by Lipscomb University School of NursingJohn HaltomBelmont University School of NursingA third year student, Haltom recognizes outcomes are defined as being specific and measurable … yet, he also realizes the nuances of his chosen profession as nurses impact the lives of families dealing with intimate emotions and situations. Sometimes, it’s the ‘gray’ areas that aren’t so easily defined or measured that leave the strongest imprint. This belief was reinforced during a recent mission trip to Cambodia. Participating in home visits for HIV positive families, Haltom witnessed the emotional healing that comes from listening to a patient’s experiences and connecting on both a personal and professional level. Surgical ServicesGay Ensey, RN, BSNSaint Thomas Rutherford HospitalDrawing on 38 years nursing experience, Ensey strives to set an example of nurturing in a spiritual way through her nursing leadership and daily interactions with colleagues, patients and families. Although she holds high expectations for nurses and addresses issues in a straightforward manner to correct mistakes, Ensey does so in a way that is supportive of professional growth. Her colleagues say she models the type of caring, personal interaction that is the cornerstone of creating an environment conducive to patient satisfaction. Women’s HealthSponsored by The Center for Women’s Research at Meharry Medical CollegeNancy Donoho, RNC-OB, RNC-HROB, RNC-MNN, RN-BCTriStar Centennial Medical CenterDonoho takes new staff under her wing and helps them find their footing and build the solid foundation needed to grow in the ever-evolving healthcare landscape. Leading by example, this nurse of 30 years also encourages younger colleagues to become actively engaged in supporting their profession. Donoho is involved in a multitude of activities including membership on boards, councils, advisory groups and educational consortiums that enhance the field of nursing. Whether in a clinical setting or a board meeting, her ‘can-do’ attitude is infectious.
Sections: Archives