Friday, May 13, 2016 1:54 PM

A proud and celebratory goodbye

My last official night as Community Regional Medical Center’s chief nursing officer I got to do what I love – stand and applaud our exceptional nurses. Every year, Community nominates some of our standout nurses for the Nursing Leadership Coalition of the Central San Joaquin Valley awards. Last night we honored 24 of our top nurses.

With more than three decades of nursing experience in several hospitals, I can honestly say this is one of the most amazing, resourceful, smart and caring nursing staffs I’ve ever worked with. I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished at Community Regional, stepping up to meet the challenges of being a Level 1 trauma center, burn center and the region’s safety net healthcare provider. Through the immense growth we’ve seen in my years here – from 400 to 685 beds – and the changes brought by electronic medical records, new nursing practices and new technology, I’ve witnessed nurses meet those changes with humor and grace. Through it all they kept the focus on our patients.

Our jobs include almost everything you can imagine – from bedside care and surgical assistance to information technology, research, and teaching – and we all come together to provide unmatched patient care. I was thrilled, on my last day, to celebrate with our “RN of the Year” nominees and applaud them for their achievements. So often many of the remarkable things our nurses do are never seen by others. It was wonderful to see that acknowledgement at the awards dinner.

Join me in congratulating three of our nurses, Garth Wade, Denise Case-Curry and Bonnie Brock, for their recognition last night by the Nursing Leadership Coalition of the Central San Joaquin Valley!

Garth Wade was honored for Excellence in Leadership. Garth started as a staff nurse in the ICU at the old UMC campus and advanced to interim manager of the Emergency Department, just in time to see it through the massive transition to the new Level 1 trauma ER downtown. Now as the current Director of Emergency Services and Interim Director of Inpatient Cardiology Services at Community Regional he is responsible for over 675 employees, holding them to an unwavering high standards. He provides recognition and support of exemplary staff members and their achievements. Out-of-the-box thinking is promoted and practice changes are supported through staff involvement and educational development. Garth leads by example, never asking anything of this staff that he himself is unwilling to do. He has facilitated numerous multidisciplinary approaches to improving the quality of patient care, patient education, communication, and support for patient family members. He has also implemented unique employee wellness activities for staff stress reduction. If you walk the hallway outside the Community Regional ER you will see all the creative ways Garth encourages and recognizes his staff in one of the most stressful places in the hospital.

Denise Case-Curry was recognized for Innovation in Professional Nursing. For over 15 years, Denise has been instrumental in aligning Community Regional’s Risk Management program to best practice, quality standards, performance improvement, and standardization. As the current Director of Risk Management, Patient Safety, and Regulatory for our corporation, she oversees all activity related to safety, risk management, and evaluation of patient care safety. Denise strives to hardwire solutions to ensure sustained improvement in care. Denise demonstrates remarkable skills in identifying what practice changes are needed during routine case reviews. She’s instrumental in aiding units throughout the corporation for readiness, compliance, practice change, and safety for upcoming surveys. Denise is truly dedicated to advancing risk management through innovative collaborative efforts.

Bonnie Brock earned the Excellence in Nursing Research honor. Bonnie is key in improving patient outcomes through the research and development of nursing informatics. She is the go-to resource for troubleshooting technological processes on our electronic medical record system for our nurses at Clovis Community Medical Center. Bonnie was involved in the Best Practice Alert (BPA) initiative to quickly recognize and treat sepsis. Bonnie has a passion for streamlining processes and her mission includes making documentation more effective and efficient to allow more time at the bedside for our nurses. Bonnie innately tailors her nursing practice and technical knowledge to improve processes based on collaborative staff input such as development of preference lists, order favorites, and note templates. She truly makes it easier for our nurses to care for patients while getting it all down in the electronic chart.

I’m so impressed with these nurses for all their accomplishments and this recognition. I’m proud also to recognize our long list of nominees this year, including:

Excellence in Clinical Practice
  • Antoinette Cabrera (Community Regional Medical Center)
  • Jessica Champ (Community Regional Medical Center)
  • Kristen Eley (Clovis Community Medical Center)
  • Ines Gutierrez (Community Regional Medical Center)
  • Lisa Hamm (Community Regional Medical Center)
  • Abby Jacobs (Community Regional Medical Center)
  • Marcie Salles (Community Regional Medical Center)

Excellence in Nursing Research
  • Nisha Nair (Community Regional Medical Center)

Excellence in Education
  • Mary Burke (Community Regional Medical Center)
  • Amy Hannickel (Community Regional Medical Center)
  • Louise Rogers (Community Regional Medical Center)
  • Donna Small (Community Regional Medical Center)
  • Kevin Spruce (Clovis Community Medical Center) 

Excellence in Leadership
  • Lynette Davis (Community Regional Medical Center)
  • Stephanie Nevarez (Community Regional Medical Center)
  • Erin Summers (Clovis Community Medical Center)
  • Christine Swift (Community Regional Medical Center)
  • Cindy Vasquez (Clovis Community Medical Center)
  • Garth Wade (Community Regional Medical Center)
  • Donna Wyman (Community Regional Medical Center) 

Innovation in Professional Nursing
  • Bonnie Brock (Clovis Community Medical Center)
  • Denise Curry (Community Regional Medical Center)
  • Jack Ikner (Community Regional Medical Center)
  • David Nicholas (Community Regional Medical Center)
I’m saying a sad goodbye as I leave for my next adventure. I expect to hear about even more amazing accomplishments as our downtown campus grows yet again. So, as this year’s National Nurses Week and National Hospital Week ends – and as my career at Community ends – I want to say thank you to all of our nurses for making me so proud and thank you for all the wonderful memories I leave with.

Karen Buckley
Chief Nursing Officer
Community Regional Medical Center