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Mountain West Nursing Excellence Gala Celebrates Region’s Top RNs

“The lady with the lamp” was the theme for this year’s Mountain West NurseWeek Nursing Excellence Awards Gala. On the evening of Aug. 28, the Mountain West NurseWeek Nursing Excellence Awards Gala was held at the Buttes Resort in Phoenix to honor 24 regional finalists, four in each of six categories. More than 160 nurses and their guests gathered to celebrate the profession and these special nurses from Alaska to Arizona who had been selected.

Visit to view a photo gallery of the gala.

After a delicious dinner, the finalists were each invited to the stage to receive their awards and to be recognized for their outstanding work. Winners were evaluated by a panel of expert nurse judges using a blinded selection process to choose them from the hundreds of nominations submitted.

The six winners advance to the national program as contenders for a national award in their respective categories this fall.

Meet this year’s Mountain West winners:

Nurse practitioner — trauma services, Flagstaff (Ariz.) Medical Center

Edmondson is active in process improvements that reduce trauma patient complications. She’s often paired with an RN case manager to create a patient care plan using appropriate hospital resources, and she participates with physicians in morbidity and mortality case reviews. Edmondson’s ability to ease trauma patients safely through decreasing levels of care during recovery resulted in length-of-stay times below the national average. She also has helped lower patient complications through a trauma service line that bridged a gap in practice variations among local surgeons.

Outpatient infusion department, Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix

Bleach specializes in complex care for hematology and oncology patients, using a blend of clinical skills and compassion to establish patient trust. He gives encouragement during rough stretches of chemotherapy, and takes time to boost patient confidence by explaining each procedure, medication, and device. To prepare for BMT re-accreditation, Bleach helped review and audit all patient charts to ensure regulatory compliance. He’s also an advanced preceptor who mentors new staff, excels in post-oncology care, and is trained in PICC line insertion procedures for patients receiving long-term infusions.

Nurse practitioner, Helping Kids Clinic in Las Vegas

Emmerling is a Celtic Franciscan who, before recently being ordained, had spent eight years as the only healthcare provider for a rural American Indian community. He treats and immunizes children of disadvantaged and uninsured families and encourages and mentors student nurses to practice community health services. He’s also a volunteer advance practice nurse for an internal medicine practice that treats uninsured Hispanic residents, and was named 2008 NP of the year by the Indian Health Service.

Executive director, University Hospitals in Albuquerque

Ponge is executive director of child psychiatric services at a Level 1 trauma center whose leadership fostered a culture of child-centered care. She also is coordinator of the Behavioral Health Education Department, where she has worked on nursing practice standards and directed educational activities. Before entering nursing, Ponge was a healthcare advocate for women, a police department consultant on care of rape victims, and a financial manager handling numerous grants for human rights. As a nursing student, she won a community service award for her work with a Central American refugee program.

MENTORING: Christy Stubblefield, RN, CVRN, FACCN
Nurse clinician — progressive care unit, Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee, Wash.

Stubblefield is responsible for educating and mentoring bedside nurses in the progressive care unit of a 209-bed hospital and regional Level 3 trauma center. A passionate teacher, she designs classes to meet specific needs, mentors RNs on achieving educational goals, and helped start a cardiovascular study group that gained the hospital a national ranking in cardiac emergency care. She co-chairs an emergency response improvement team and pushes for nursing advancement as a representative of the Washington State Nurses Association.

TEACHING: Robert Johnston, RN, MS, MBA, APRN-BC
Clinical Nurse III, University Medical Center in Tucson

While wearing many hats in his dedication to nursing, Johnston’s light shines the brightest when he’s teaching and tutoring nursing students. He’s routinely recruited to mentor graduate nurses, and frequently precepts RNs at the bedside. He does the iPod shuffle to various podiums around the country to highlight nursing research and is heavily engaged in liver transplant education for patients and their families, producing informative videos on the subject. To stay sharp as an advanced practice RN, he assumes 12-hour shifts as charge nurse in the high-acuity med/surg unit.

Associate director of nursing services, VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle

Manning’s stellar nursing career has spanned almost five decades. Her first nursing job was as a relief charge nurse on a GYN ward for black patients. Later, she co-founded the Family Clinic Service for women and children to provide one-stop preventive services in the minority community. She also has been a commissioned member of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, and retired with the rank of Lt. Colonel. Her military career spanned 23 years, and she has served as chief nurse of the VA Medical System for the past 20 years.

By | 2020-04-15T15:16:13-04:00 October 5th, 2009|Categories: Regional, West|0 Comments

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