Caregiver HeroesHall of Fame
2020 is a year we will never forget! Healthcare professionals demonstrated strength, determination, and compassion through the way they cared for patients & each other during these challenging times - making them Caregiver Heroes.
Allen Parish Community Healthcare
Lindsey Fontenot, RN
Lindsey is one of those caregivers that is a unique blend of integrity, energy, ‘can-do will-do’, science-based compassion and care. She ever seeks to do right by her patients, her co-workers, providers, employer and herself. If a patient needs someone to lift his/her spirit, Lindsey has a joke or story that will leave them laughing; if they are nervous or afraid because of a diagnosis or procedure, she will sit down with them, explain everything and calm their fear. She has a positive outlook and no challenge is considered insurmountable; even when the challenge is extrapolating data for reporting
When we began our SEI journey, Lindsey was among the first selected as a member of the SEA Team to impact and change our culture for the better. She has not disappointed! She was a highlight of the Launch as she assumed the role of “Mr. Billy” our Maintenance leader, sharing his unique vision of “Excellent customer service”. Since the SEI launch, she has been instrumental in keeping the enthusiasm and energy UP and has been teaching and leading the staff to change their approach to excellent customer service and ultimately a catalyst for changing our culture for the better.!
Carriage Hill Health and
Ashley Blount, Patient Activities
COVID was a challenging time for everyone and it was no easy task providing activities to residents throughout the Pandemic. I am nominating Ashley because she has worked hard to provide happiness, kindness, and joy to our residents. Ashley was assigned to the COVID Unit and she provided meaningful and creative activities to residents during a time when residents had to stay in their rooms and were sick. She has gone out of her way many times to provide special visits, coffee, treats from outside the facility to bring joy and hope. Ashley always dresses up in costumes or special outfits just to make the residents and staff smile. Ashley also helps out other departments especially during the Pandemic by answering phones, helping out housekeeping/laundry, delivering items to residents from their families as well as countless video chats and window visits.
Chase City Health &
In August of 2004 Nicole Taylor started her journey with Chase City Health & Rehab. In those 17 years she has proven over and over again what it means to be a healthcare professional. Nicole is a very good team player. She also has three beautiful children. The oldest proudly serves in the United States Army and is currently stationed in South Korea. During her last visit home, the center assisted her in surprising Nicole at the center. Nicole treats all residents like family, she is willing to work anywhere anytime. She is very dependable and has such a kindred spirit. All of her residents truly love her and miss her on her days off. She is a rare gem and a true blessing to Chase city Health & Rehab.
Colorado Canyons Hospital
and Medical Center
Gelnda shows up with a great attitude ready to care for her patients. She provides compassion and empathy while being an advocate for her patients. She sets goals and works hard throughout the day to ensure the patient meets those goals. Glenda is a solid nurse who goes above and beyond to ensure the patients have a positive day. She is the kind of nurse I would like to care for my family. She is helpful to her peers and cares for the company. Glenda deserves recognition for her exceptional care!
Crawford County Memorial Hospital
Debbie is always positive and kind to her coworkers and patients alike. In true Debbie fashion, when the COVID pandemic hit, she adapted to a new visitor screening position without complaint. Aside from being our first line of defense in identifying possible COVID patients, and not knowing if or when she would go back to her regular position, she received daily backlash from visitors and patients who were upset with the changes and safety policies being put in place. Through it all, she showed up to work every day with a smile on her face, ready to serve our community. Debbie is definitely an asset to our facility and a true Caregiver Hero.
Teri has worked for Eastern Plumas Health Care for 35 years, she is dedicated at making sure that every experience is the BEST EXPERIENCE for our patients, kind, caring and goes the extra mile to assure that our patients and staff are taken care of. EPHC is very fortunate to have Teri on our front lines, she is an example of Patient Experience.
Jill always provides excellent 5-star care for our patients and is always very willing to help in so many ways. From filling an extra RN shift to assisting other dept's with patient care such as transferring patients to Xray or drawing labs off an IV for Lab. Not only does Jill have a wonderful team-focused attitude and spirit but is always giving out kudos when she recognizes moments of excellent teamwork
Family Health West
Chas never has to be asked to do something. She is intuitive, smart, hard working and always gives our patients 100%. She never balks at infectious diseases or any task that others hesitate with. She jumps in and does the "dirty" work of healthcare. She is compassionate, soft spoken, kind, and has a caring touch. She goes above and beyond, making sure staff around her know processes, makes sure we have the equipment and supplies that we need. She makes sure the providers have what they need day to day and makes all of our work lives easier. She doesn't hesitate to be a patient advocate. Chasity is one of the best ED Techs out there! We are super lucky to have her at our organization and the care she provides to our community is hands down the best.
Michelle Hill is the Case Manager at Franklin General Hospital. She doesn't fit this role, this role fits her. She is exceptional at what she does and the relationships she makes. She not only responds at critical moments as a nurse, but she responds when patients and families need her as a "human being" with compassion.
I have seen Michelle go above and beyond daily. Here are just a few examples of how she touches the lives of our patients and their families.
She worked with a patient and community members to help secure low-income housing for a patient when their home was not habitable. She is instrumental in placements of patients in the ER that can't take care of themselves at home or family is unable to care for them. She spends hours on the phone coordinating getting medical supplies and devices for patients after they are discharged. She's had some difficult conversations with families about end of life care and listens as they make their final decision. She advocates for patients getting specialty care, additional tests and treatments as she works with all physicians in our facility and our network. She knows all the resources in our area and is able to connect people to everything they need. At the end of the day, I don't know if she truly understands the difference, she makes in the lives of the people we serve. That's a true hero!
Grand River Health
Zach has always been a top performer in the Emergency Department but though out COVID he has really risen to the top! He was one of the first to volunteer to work in our COVID Respiratory Clinic, working long hours with our sickest patients and spending his days in full PPE. At the beginning when so much was unknow about the virus and without hesitation. Most recently he has worked closely with the COVID team to track data, cases and every week he has worked countless hours in the vaccine clinics entering data, administering vaccines and encouraging others though out the organization and our community to get their vaccines. He is always the first to raise his hand for tough assignments and he treats his co-works and patients with care and respect! Zach was also a Service Excellence Advisor in 2020 and brought forth a fun, informative and engaging workshop to our staff.
Jill is a compassionate medical nurse who places the service she provides to patients as her top priority. Recently, this was demonstrated by her innovative approach to change the delivery of care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jill had a COVID-19 patient, who had been receiving care on the ICU where window visits were implemented. The patient was improving and was eventually transferred to the medical unit. Unfortunately, the medical unit does not have windows facing the halls available and therefore, the visits with the family were halted to prevent the spread of the virus. Jill was quick to notice how the patient's mood, demeanor, and will to get better diminished. Jill called the engineering department and asked if there was a way to design a window spanning the full length of a doorway on wheels. The interdisciplinary team worked together to develop a portable window and within days the medical unit was able to implement window visits for all COVID-19 patients. In fact, these windows can now be used for any illness requiring negative pressure that is highly contagious. Jill's innovation, patient advocacy, and compassion make her Good Samaritan's Caregiver Hero!
Greater Baden Medical Services
I am pleased to nominate Ms. Georgia Bewayo of Greater Baden Medical Services for the Caregiver Heroes recognition. Ms. Bewayo has been a Nurse Practitioner with Greater Baden for more than seven years and has worked in three of our locations during this time. Ms. Bewayo has worked in two locations for the past several years and has made location adjustments as needed due to patient and business needs. When the pandemic dramatically changed our operations in early 2020, Ms. Bewayo made the transition to provide care in our headquarters location while her primary location was shuttered with no complaints. She also willingly provided face to face care for patients of another provider who, for many months, was only able to provide telehealth visits. In 2020, Ms. Bewayo suffered a huge personal tragedy in the hospitalization and loss of her beloved 52 year old son to COVID 19. As devastating as this blow was to our team member, without being required or asked, she Ms. Bewayo to care to ensure her patient's needs were met while she was away. Throughout this very difficult time in all of our lives and exponentially Ms. Bewayo's life, she has continued to provide patient centered high quality care to her patients. We are so grateful for her committed service and the flexibility she consistently displays to support both the needs of our patients and business operations. Ms. Georgia Bewayo is our Caregiver Hero!
I am nominating Dr. Andrew Wright because he is the perfect example of what endurance should be. he is one of the strongest people I know, and I would not be the person I am today without his leadership. He treats his clients with true compassion and understanding all while teaching his staff how to do the same. He is always trying to find innovative ways to treat clients in his office without using drugs or surgery.
I have worked with “Dr. Andy” for going on 5 years now and have never seen him get off track with his focus of what he is trying to accomplish here at GreenLife Wellness. The office has come so far from when I started, and it is all because Dr. Andy had a dream of helping people in our community. He started out in Chiropractic with just being a client himself, due to a sport injury, he visited his hometown chiropractor and immediately felt relief after just one adjustment. It was from that day forward he vowed to reach and teach his community that there is an answer to being pain free and it does not result in drugs or surgery
Mike’s leadership and vision proved that although we were facing the uncertainty of a pandemic, the key to navigating the pandemic was keeping our focus on the hearts and minds of our employees. Incident Command was activated February 4, 2020 and remains active, with countless hours spent working closely with staff and providers as a leader in our community's response to COVID-19. Jefferson Healthcare led our community in testing, access to care, and providing mass vaccination clinics.
We did not reduce our workforce, very few employees tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Nearly 75% of our employees and providers are vaccinated and our county has the highest rate of fully vaccinated individuals in the state. Jefferson County continues to have some of the lowest rates of COVID-19.
Whether it was figuring out how to count every piece of PPE to determine burn rates, managing restricted visitation policies with grace and compassion, attending our staff-led PPE Council, or finding a soft place to land for those employees who were tired and burnt out, Mike has had a direct impact on every decision that we made, never asking more than he was willing to do himself.
Lee Health & Rehab Center
Chanda has been the Activities Assistant/CNA here for over 10 years. Chanda shows love and compassion to all those in her sphere of influence. Chanda’s faith in God truly shows through her caring attitude. Chanda has built personal relationships with every resident and they depend on her every day for strength and encouragement. During the difficult times this last year, Chanda worked tirelessly picking up on the COVID units and switched her schedule around for many months helping on the frontline both day and night shifts. Chanda has a heart of gold and never complains when asked to step out of her fulltime roll into another role here at the facility.
Chanda helped to bring cheer to the COVID units and all the units by helping orchestrate snacks, community meals, daily treats, and a variety of fun games during this difficult year. Chanda works as a CNA daily in the dining room assisting residents. She always has great ideas, is planning events, and taking leadership in these specific events for the residents and families with the most recent event being the Mother’s Day tea which was a great success. Chanda is truly a caregiver hero to us every day.
Dr. Victoria Popela,
Dr. Victoria Popela
I would like to formally submit my nomination on behalf of Memorial Medical Clinics, Memorial Hospital, and Senior Service Campus to nominate Dr. Popela who is our Chief Medical Officer. Last March 2020 when Covid was circulating the airways it was this physician that initiated conversations with hospital and clinic administration to begin the early implementation of pandemic protocols for our Healthcare system. It was due to her lead that we were able to safely incorporate proper safety measures to ensure that our healthcare team was adequately equipped to provide care to our Hancock County residents.
Dr. Popela essential lived on our campus by furnishing her office dorm style so that she could remain on campus 24/7 to provide covid coverage. Dr. Popela put herself in a position to the lead the charge to provide safety measures for another inpatient provider to ensure his well-being. During the pandemic while she cared for patients on the inpatient side as well as residents in our Senior Service Campus. She was instrumental in developing a surge plan in which our healthcare providers were relocated to cross cover in the hospital setting and Illness Clinic. She kept up on reading the numerous policy changes and provided up to date information on how best to serve our region. She assisted in providing a Thanksgiving Meal while our Illness Team remained open to provide care to families over the Holiday. Dr. Popela was influential in researching vaccination protocols and assisted our team in gaining provider and buy in on obtaining their vaccination. There are many professionals that spent hours on end caring for patients, were dealt with crisis mode response. It was the compassion for our team, compassion for the county, and compassion for the organization to do what was right and Dr. Popela was there to make this happen in Western Illinois.
Middlesboro ARH Hospital
During the COVID – 19 pandemic, Misty was taking care of a critically ill COVID – 19 positive patient. This particular patient was being flown via air ambulance to another hospital. When the air ambulance crew arrived, their small, portable ventilator was discovered not to be working, so another air ambulance was dispatched. Misty chose to manually ventilate this patient for over 2 hours despite her N-95 respirator seal being breached so that her staff would not be exposed to a known COVID – 19 patient. One of her respiratory therapists was the mother of a very young child and Misty chose to put herself in danger instead of exposing her staff. She absolutely exemplifies a hero.
At Neighborhood Health, we are grateful to have Patty Leslie, Nursing Coordinator, on our team. She has been with the organization for 26 years! Throughout periods of the pandemic, she has tried to bring joy to staff by creating “Fun Fridays” where she wore silly costumes/hats and played music for staff getting their temperatures taken before starting their shifts! She has also played an instrumental role in our COVID-19 vaccine clinic, ensuring that we have had vaccinator coverage at all times, vaccines were stored/handled appropriately, and that vaccine administration has been maximized. Patty brings positive energy to work every day and she works diligently to support her nursing team. She has a passion for Neighborhood Health that is apparent because of the effort she demonstrates daily, and we truly appreciate her dedication to the organization.
Osceola Regional Health Center
Anne is the person who identified the need for a self worth/suicide awareness program for the students in our local school. She was instrumental in raising the needed funds and involving the rest of the Service Excellence Ambassadors. I feel she is truly taking our our mission and core values outside of our walls to care for our community.
Brook led the project of developing our first COVID-19 unit and our Viral Intensive Care Unit (VICU). When we had our communities first admitted COVID-19 patient in the VICU, Brook and a physician stayed here for days until the patient was discharged. She stayed in an off site house and didn't go home for days in fear she might spread the virus to someone, especially her family. She didn't go home for weeks missing so many moments with her two young children to ensure others would get the opportunity for a moment with their own family.
Brook has worked hard to keep our frontline fighting and meeting the needs of our patients. She taught staff new skills and practices to expand treatment capabilities. She has helped intubate patients and taught her entire staff how to prone patients. She chooses to pour into her community and give back all this knowledge and ability she has to take care of patients and show compassion at the bedside while leading her team to raise their level of care. Providing critical care during COVID 19 especially hit close to home for Brook when she had to assist in intubating her own grandfather. Her commitment to the frontline, her staff, and her family led her to another hard decision when her and her husband decided to move their family closer to work.
After many months of working in the VICU, Brook helped move another mountain and helped organize a new unit in our former OB department, which would allow patients to see light through windows and ultimately have a brighter place to work towards full healing.
Now more than a year into COVID-19, Brook continues to diligently fight with all other frontline heroes at Ozarks Healthcare and across the nation. When asked what they admire most about Brook, Lacey Carter, Executive Director of Nursing said, "Brook came to us at the right time when we needed her the most. She actually came to us before COVID-19 as a supervisor and then knowingly took what was supposed to be an interim manger position in critical care during a pandemic to help us. To me, that's a major super hero." Kaitlin Caldwell, Nurse Manager of Med Surg said, "She's fearless, she will look at anything and take it on without hesitation or second thought. That is what I truly admire about her."
Brook is always showing drive to take care of her patients but drive to learn as a new leader. She wants to know the 'why' behind it all. Brook shows true leadership saving lives every single day. We are proud to have our very own Super Hero here at Ozarks Healthcare.
Perry County Memorial Hospital
Perry County Memorial Hospital nominates Aubrey Welp, FNP, as an exceptional caregiver hero! At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Aubrey was the driving force behind the opening and success of our car care clinic. She ensured PCMH providers had a safe, effective way to care for patients that could not physically enter our clinic.
Over this year Aubrey has also started working in our Wound Care Clinic to become wound certified. She has been a great addition to this team, helping them maintain their national recognition for healing wounds 45% faster than the national average!
Aubrey is an exceptional caregiver to her patients and coworkers. She is passionate in her role, empathetic to all and committed to improving Perry County Memorial Hospital.
It's impossible in a few words to describe Dolly our Chief Nursing Officer. In addition to performing her job at an exemplary level, Dolly demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to Pike County Memorial Hospital and to the community as well. She worked many countless and sleepless hours creating and reworking processes and procedures daily and probably several times a day during Covid. Her leading skills truly prepared the hospital so that we could keep each other safe and the patients during the unprecedented time. She is consistently thinking of ways to improve our facility. She never thinks twice about rounding on the floor, temp checks, working over, coming in to serve the night crews, and many other duties. I’m very grateful to have an employee like Dolly on our team at PCMH!
Charles Floyd Jr.
Potomac Falls Health
& Rehab Center
Charles Floyd Jr.
I nominate Chef Charles because during COVID he prepared meals for all shifts, for employees and for our patients and residents. He never waned and continued to make amazing dishes for all of us and the center to enjoy on a daily basis. He took the time to put love into his cooking which helped many who worked extra shifts and couldn't get a good meal.
All his efforts in feeding our employees GREAT meals. I think we were the only facility that wasn't given simple sandwiches etc. Chef stepped up and went above and beyond for the staff.
Roel Macaballug has been a member of Presentation Medical Center’s Team in the Lab Department for over two years now, and has made a huge impact on his patients and co-workers because of his kindness and work ethic.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Roel really stepped up to the plate, especially when Lab was short staffed. He is always willing to help and fill in wherever he can.
His co-workers find him to be an absolute joy to work with, greeting everyone he sees with a big, sincere smile, always friendly while maintaining his professionalism, and spreading a positive attitude to those around him.
Roel is a wonderful, hard worker, that truly embodies PMC’s values of Joy, Integrity, Compassion and Respect.
Providence Medical Center
Providence Medical Center is nominating Wayne Briner, RN as our Caregiver Hero. Wayne regularly provides heartfelt and thoughtful care to his patients. During our COVID response he has shown dedication and incredible compassion for all COVID patients and his co-workers.
Wayne went above and beyond, picking up extra shifts, switching schedules and volunteering to work in the COVID unit so pregnant nurses or staff with small children didn't have to be exposed to COVID.
One instance that stands out is a time when PMC had two COVID patients who were husband and wife. Wayne helped them stay updated and connected despite the need for them to be in separate rooms. Wayne relayed information regarding each other’s condition and when the situation become safe, he helped them "visit" one another from the doorways so they could see each other and talk from afar.
Another act of compassion that really made an impact on a family and our staff, occurred when he was caring for an elderly lady who was gravely ill and actively dying. Wayne stayed with her for over an hour holding her hand while having her granddaughter on speaker phone. This allowed the granddaughter to talk to her grandmother and be present in her last moments. Wayne reassured the granddaughter and gave comfort to the patient until her very last breath.
Wayne truly is, a Caregiver Hero!
Ringgold County Hospital
As the Patient Care Manager of our Med-Surg floor Molly immediately began to envision a need to divide any potential covid positive patients from our general population and took it upon herself to begin putting together a plan to adequately care for our patients and to protect our staff. She came up with the idea to build a wall on one of our med-surg halls to create a ‘Covid’ hall and the idea to build a second wall within this hall to create a separate respiratory ER. Once this was done, she began acquiring all the needed PPE to care for those patients and protect her staff. She would create videos to educate staff on the new equipment and location of all needed supplies for the daily or hourly changes that were happening. She developed schedules and on-call sheets to be used in case of a surge, making sure staff felt supported. Molly worked alongside her staff to care for covid patients and organized curbside covid testing for the public. Molly has shown great leadership, ingenuity, compassion, calmness, positivity, and a silent strength throughout the last year and this is why we believe she should receive this caregiver hero award.
Rio Grande Hospital & Clinics
I am nominating Roger Banderas because he is the epitome of a hero. When you think of an Operations Director, you don’t often think of someone who is THE cheerleader of an organization. Well, Roger Banderas is! If there is anything needed, he is there to help. He always steps up and excels in whatever he does. Roger is also always willing to go beyond the expectations of his department. Whether it be barbecuing for hospital week, securing a patient, or helping a co-worker in need. He is always there with a smile and often a joke. Roger is also constantly giving back to the community and helping others. He "rallied the troops" to help assist a displaced resident in the community till the resident had a home and a job. He also volunteers at the local Fire Department. There is no situation too big or too small for Roger, and he is an outstanding role model for many.
Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital
Jill has gone above and beyond for the patients, team and providers since the very beginning of COVID. She took on a multitude of tasks, including leading and attending additional meetings, connecting daily with the state and city health officials, policy creating/writing/updating on a daily basis, sending out inter-departmental communication to keep the team up-to-date on the most current CDC guidance, and influencing decisions that were instrumental in the survival of our hospital and quality/quantity of work for our team during this unprecedented time. Her call volume went up exponentially, and she took calls at all hours of the day as team members became ill. She fielded question after question from our directors and provided them with guidance to safely take care of their teams. She worked with our maintenance crew to design physical barriers. She had to sort through mountains of information and research that was being thrown at her at an incredible pace and decide what was applicable to SFSH and what was not. She actually created, with the help of our IT team, a website where she could post the most current info and policies regarding COVID as they applied to our facilities and updated it regularly. And through it all, she never let on to how tired she was or how overwhelmed she felt. She is so deserving of this award because she has been SFSH’s Caregiver Hero over the last year and has been instrumental in SFSH successfully navigating this new frontier!
Shoshone Family Medical Center
Rachelle Has gone above and beyond this entire past year. She Stepped in without hesitation when COVID hit and became a Jack of trades. she turned no one away and took care of patients and staff alike. She never slowed down in helping and I know everyone that worked with her appreciated her help and support. She is a leader, an example of what health care should be and a hero to so many people.
Rachelle is always there, always gives it everything she has to give. She is tireless. She also is a good person.
She rocked the COVID vaccine clinic for Lincoln County.
Rachelle is a caring individual who always advocates for the patient. She worked diligently with the community to ensure COVID-19 vaccines were available to those who needed them. Even though she had to work more then full time, she did it tirelessly with a smile on her face.
Rachelle went the extra mile to implement the COVID Vaccine Clinics. She Worked long hours making sure people got their Covid shots. She is always willing to do whatever she can for our patients 100% of the time.
Rachelle worked so hard during COVID Vaccination clinic. Always working extra hours with a smile on her face. She took care of not only our patients but people out side of the clinic that were interested in the vaccine. Also, together we made a great team. She took time to go to two different businesses to administer vaccines.
I nominate Rachelle for going above and beyond with Covid vaccine clinics. She is always willing to help out and is patient oriented.
St. Charles Madras Hospital
The Oregon Office of Rural Health is nominating Candy Canga-Picar, Chief Nursing Officer of St. Charles Madras Hospital (SCMH) for the Caregiver Hero Award.
Candy played an essential role in helping to measurably improve patient care and reduce health disparities through the creation of an evidence-based cultural competency training program.
Together with her leadership team, Candy shared a deep concern for the lack of cultural competency among providers and staff at the Critical Access Hospital (CAH). The executive team had evidence of failure to provide culturally appropriate care, including narrative comments from nurses, and anecdotal stories from their local Native American Indian (NAI) patients. These NAI community members make up 30.1% of all SCMH inpatients and are 19.2% of the estimated total county population.
These concerns were bolstered by hospital quality data: leaders noted suboptimal participation in the patient satisfaction survey (78 patients out of 475). Out of the 16 non-white respondents, only 8 were NAI. The hospital also noted low HCAHPS top box scores as well as declining hospital rating scores from 70.5 in 2017 to 67.7 in 2018.
Candy took this challenge and began the groundwork to implement the transcultural care framework. Candy set out to determine the impact of implementing culturally competent care guidelines on patient engagement and experience; to provide frontline staff with an understanding of the NAI culture; bring the CAH into compliance with National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS); and adhere to The Joint Commission (TJC) requirements of cultural care.
To do this, she used the Transcultural Care Foundation Leininger’s Culture Care Theory of Diversity and Universality. This evidence-based practice project implemented and operationalized transcultural nursing care based on the 10 established guidelines by Douglas et al. (2014).
With Candy’s leadership and guidance, the CAH:
- Established an NAI Patient Family Advisory Council (PFAC) which:
- Reviewed and updated policies and procedures in order to reflect cultural care during birth,
illness, and death;
- Assisted with cultural competency training and education; and
- Reviewed patient information packet, hospital signage, and artifacts in order to reflect cultural
- Reviewed and updated policies and procedures in order to reflect cultural care during birth,
- Provided staff cultural training and education, including:
- A conference on transcultural care; and
- Completion of a pre- and post- conference and learning self-assessment using the IAPCC-R questionnaire
- Worked to establish a culturally competent organization:
- Created a liaison to local tribal communities;
- Revised nursing job descriptions; and
- Instituted a monthly conference call with the local Indian Health Services clinic.
The project and work have ongoing results- both including and beyond the anticipated improvement in patient satisfaction scores:
- The hospital rating went form 67.7 in 2018, 71.7 in 2019 to 73.7 in 2020. The hospital has also received continuous increases in other HCAHPS Composite scores.
- There has been a major decrease in grievances from 59 in 2018, to 27 in 2019 to 13 in 2020.
In addition to the improvement of the targeted quality scores, additional serendipitous positive results of the work include:
- Identification of a Carnitine Palmitoyl Transferase (CPT1) deficiency within the local NAI population and application of culturally competent care to consistently identify and treat the
potentially devastating disorder.
- The first-ever appointment of a Tribal leader to the hospital system’s Patient Safety & Quality board committee
- Recognition and award from EPIC for the CPT1 work, and a Transformational Pioneer Nurse Leader award.
In summary, this project has been critical to transforming patients’ care experience and increasing the nursing caregivers’ awareness of the need for culturally competent care, promotion of equity of care and compliance with regulatory board and accrediting agencies. This frame work has already paved the way for the hospital to establish a LatinX PFAC, as well as planning for an LGBTQ+ PFAC.
The work remains ongoing, with Candy spearheading work to create:
- Sustainment through policies and procedures;
- Identification other groups who need a voice at the table;
- A long-term workforce diversification project, in conjunction with Oregon’s Area Health Education Centers program; and
- Efforts to create replication resources for use-statewide and/or nationally.
Since the initial project, Candy has been invited to share her success in developing this framework with organizations including: the 2021 American Hospital Association Rural Health Leadership Conference and Accelerating Health Equity event; National Rural health Association Health Equity Conference; Wyoming’s Power of Rural Conference; The Oregon Medical Board; Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant (Flex) Reverse Site Visit; and the Oregon Annual Rural Health Conference.
Candy embodies the belief that patient satisfaction does not just happen at the bedside; she continuously and vigorously strives to make culturally competent care part of who they are at St. Charles Madras Hospital and statewide.
Union General Hospital
Billy Jung serves Union General Hospitals Safety Officer and makes sure the hospital and all employees are thoroughly trained and knowledgeable on everything from fire safety, violence in workplace, active shooters and how to access help quickly. He also serves as the local City Fire Chief. Billy always tells UGH employees to call him when anything affecting safety or police action is involved and he always responds immediately day or night 24/7. During the recent unprecedented winter storm that basically shut almost all business down for a week, Billy stepped up and went beyond expectations for our hospital, employees and patients with assistance of fire department members, Hunter Futch, Waylon Rosson and Robert Allen.
Roads were closed to all but the hardiest four-wheel drive or all-terrain vehicles making it impossible for staff to travel between home and hospital. Billy and a few of his fire fighting crew transported any employee that needed to get to or from work to be sure UGH had adequate staffing and quality patient care continued. This transportation continued throughout the entire week of shutdown traffic even when the local law enforcement stated it was too dangerous for them to help with transportation. He and his fire dept helped clear ice from under ER bay so that ambulance could get in to transport patients. When ambulances no longer could get to patient calls, Billy and his crew brought patients to and from the Emergency Room in their vehicles. They even went to pick up a hospital employee who had 6 inches of ice on steps up to her second floor apt and went to work using blow torches to clear the steps.
A patient being held in ER needed air transport and the normal landing area was covered in a foot of ice and snow. Billy was aware of this and while at the local Walmart noticed they were using a small bobcat piece of equipment to clear their delivery bay. He immediately approached the operator and flashed his police badge and said he was “commandeering” his equipment for emergency use at the hospital to clear a landing zone for the air rescue to land. (Of course, the operator was paid for his time) but Billy said he had always wanted to do that.
These were just a few opportunities where he and his fellow fire-fighting buddies, who are mostly volunteer, support and enhance the service we provide to the community.
When they aren’t doing these things, they occasionally cook the employees some good food on their giant grill.
Weston County Health Services
During a pandemic organizing activities for nursing home residents is quiet the challenge. Meredith Tolley took each new CMS regulation in stride. During isolation residents had to stay in their rooms not even being able to leave for meals. She thought of out of the box ideas to keep the residents’ spirits up while not being able to be socially active. Bingo games and craft activities were held in the hallways with everyone 6 feet apart. In October 2020, the other three members of the Activity team were out due to COVID-19 infection or exposure leaving Meredith by herself to handle the activities schedule. Despite burnout, the Activities’ staff dressed up in costumes for Halloween and visited the residents to mark the holiday. Doors were decorated to for holidays with contests for the best decorated. As the months and quarantine continued, she used every chance to celebrate and put the residents’ pictures on social media for their families to see. A schedule was kept for video chats between residents and family members. When residents began to have visitations, she organized the schedule including making sure a staff member was present for each visit. Meredith triumphed under pressure.
Wilson Medical Center
Heather has under taken several new roles like leading the COVID task force within the last year. New hospital policies, vaccine clinics for the community and updating staff on new rules and guidelines all while being the CNO without sacrifice to the nursing, respiratory, emergency department and surgery departments. Heather has worked countless hours through the last year while never complaining or losing hope while finding ways to remind staff that they are important and appreciated by little things like the rejuvenation station- a cart that has drinks/snacks on it and goes around to all departments weekly. She also started the "Who Am I' which allowed all staff to get to know more about an employee through a series of facts while staff would guess who it was. Below is just on of the nominations submitted for Heather:
Let me tell you about Wilson Medical Centers Chief Nursing Officer, Heather Hyler. She is a fierce leader who leads her teams with intelligence, compassion, kindness and a loyalty to her staff that is unmatched. She is the epitome of what administrative leadership should look and act, and believes wholeheartedly in the value of great customer service and how that transitions into exceptional patient experience.
Like the rest of the world in 2020, Covid became a big concern for our small rural facility. We lacked staff, equipment, PPE, rapid testing and any sense of how we were going to be able to handle Covid patients let alone a possible surge of patients. We had one ventilator in our facility, no ICU and two doctors out of five that were high risk for Covid and should not be exposed. Again, let me tell you about our CNO.
Heather immediately got a meeting set up with administration and all department managers to discuss what we have versus what we need. That meeting showed us that we were desperately low on PPE and equipment we need to care for these patients and most importantly keep staff safe. Heather was instrumental in assisting the hospital acquire new ventilators and told our purchasing director to buy PPE, buy it in bulk and buy it anywhere you can find it.
Heather also started a group called the Covid Task Force who met daily initially to discuss all things Covid. What equipment we had, meds in the pharmacy to treat Covid, staffing issues, newest CDC guidelines and county Covid numbers. These meetings were led by Heather and all the information and research was done by Heather. She was also the person to get BAM infusions started in the facility for positive Covid patient’s outpatient to prevent the patient’s condition from deteriorating. By the time COVID hit southeast Kansas, Wilson Medical Center was prepared, equipped and ready to treat patients all due to her tireless dedication and desire to ensure that our patients get big city care right here at home.
When Wilson Medical was able to get some funding due to Covid, Heather immediately came to the department managers and said send me any equipment requests you need for your department and we will try to use the Covid money to pay for the items. The items we purchased have directly improved how we care for patients.
Finally, after dealing with a pandemic for over a year the first vaccines are available. Heather again, took on the challenge of not only getting staff vaccinated but the public as well. She helped create an online registry for patients to sign up for the vaccine. She set up vaccine clinics for the public, drive through clinics and also went to area businesses to vaccinate our community. The amount of hours put in to this challenge was very high and Heather again stepped up to the challenge. She never complained she just knew it had to get done.
Dedicating yourself to your staff and your community with grace and expecting nothing in return if the definition of a Healthcare Hero. She is exceptional, she is a leader and she is definitely the hero of Wilson Medical Center. .