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Wednesday, May 8, 2024, 09:29 AM
2 minutes

Community Health System honors 2024 nurses of the year

Honorees were recognized for expertise and achievements. 
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Community logo over a white background with maroon text reading "Happy Nurses Week!" in script.
Community Health System has honored its 2024 nurses of the year for their expertise and achievements. The four honorees represent Community as the top submissions in their respective categories for San Joaquin Valley Nursing Leadership Coalition's RN of the Year. 

Since 1997, the Valley's Nursing Leadership Coalition has recognized excellence in nursing during its RN of the Year awards. Community’s registered nurse (RN) honorees were chosen for their outstanding contributions, leadership, commitment to mentoring the next generation and innovative ideas to improve patient care. 

Catrina Cullen smiles in a hospital hallway as she stands next to a mobile IV unitCatrina Cullen — Innovation in Professional Nursing 

Over the past decade, Catrina Cullen, RN, MSN, AG-CNS, has made a huge difference for her colleagues and patients. She began as a registered nurse in 2011 and has held various Community positions, including educator and manager, and currently as director of critical care and burn services. Her expertise has been shared throughout the organization, from leading various committees and workgroups to helping improve protocols, processes and safety practices. 

Catrina has helped streamline the process of moving patients from the ICU to medical surgical beds, partnered with our pharmacy team to improve medication delivery times, and researched and implemented advanced hemodynamic and blood filtration practices in critical care and wound care innovations. 

As co-ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) coordinator at Community Regional, she is focusing now on creating our own system ECMO specialist education program. 

In 2023, Community Regional earned the Silver Level “Path to Excellence” recognition for the ECMO program’s exceptional care of patients. This advanced therapy is used to do the work of the heart and lungs when a patient's own organs are too weak to work on their own. 


Shaneaya Garner stands to the right of the image as a group of 4 nurses look smilingly at herShaneaya Garner — Excellence in Leadership 

Shaneaya Garner, RN, BSN, CMS RN, has had a 22-year career with Community, beginning at University Medical Center as a patient care assistant and advancing to educator, clinical supervisor, department manager and now director of Medical Surgical Services at Community Regional. 

Shaneaya’s achievements over the years reflect the heart of what it truly means to be a nurse leader enhancing quality of care, improving patient experience, increasing access to care, mentoring numerous staff members and empowering others to become leaders in the healthcare field. 

She has participated in our Patient Family Advisory Council, worked to boost our advanced care planning compliance to 100% and she has a heart for disadvantaged and underserved patients.  

Shaneaya is the co-chair for the Health Equity and Social Determinants of Health Steering Committee (whose goal is to increase access to care), is an active member of the Central Valley Black Nurses Association of California and leads efforts to donate hygiene kits to Gaston Middle School students during the holiday and summer breaks. 


Judy Mason turns to smile back at the camera as she demonstrates a procedure.Judy Mason — Excellence in Education

Judy Mason, MSN, RN, CCRN, CWON, personifies the educator role.

In her brief time with Community, she has embraced a new hospital culture and surmounted the challenges of providing top-quality pediatric care. She also has dedicated her commitment to quality patient outcomes and education processes to unify clinical units and elevate nursing education.  

Her influence over staff education, clinical expertise and commitment to quality outcomes is prevalent and profound.

Judy brings with her over 30 years of international pediatric and wound care nursing experience, and her patients and staff have been lucky beneficiaries. 


Lupe Vargas, in salmon scrubs, stands next to a display of info about HIV/AIDSLupe Vargas — Excellence in Clinical Practice 

Lupe Vargas, BSN, RN, has dedicated countless hours to researching, writing countless proposals and collaborating with Community's grant writing team to secure essential funds as nurse manager of the Community Health System HIV/AIDS Clinic. 

Not only does she uphold the highest standards for patient care, she also fosters a positive work environment for all staff.  

Her most recent heroic accomplishment for patients has been securing grant funding — the first-ever HIV PrEP funding for Community’s Special Services Clinic — a much-needed multimillion dollar grant for the County of Fresno.  

Lupe advocates for our vulnerable underserved population by sharing with state legislators about alarming increases of new HIV diagnosis cases in the Central Valley, highlighting that women and children have been most affected. Her work has gotten notice and additional support for this community. 

Celebrating Community's hard-working nurses

Community’s nurses are committed to innovation, working collaboratively and to providing the highest quality in patient care — and we are proud to celebrate and support the professional practice of nursing.

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