South Florida Hospital News
Tuesday September 19, 2017
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May 2017 - Volume 13 - Issue 11

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Salute to Nursing

Florida Medical Center

Sam Villegas, RN
 
Sam Villegas dreamed of working in healthcare since he was a child. He is a trained scrub nurse, circulating nurse and also works on patients recovering from robotic surgery procedures. He was the first recipient of the Daisy Awards at Florida Medical Center. He enjoys helping people and assisting his patients to get healthier. Sam attended Pam Beach Community College.
 
Sharon Balasco, RN
 
Sharon Balasco became inspired to help people and pursue a career in nursing after having the experience of working as a candy striper volunteer when she was a teenager. She has been a nurse for 30 years. At Florida Medical Center, her goal is to see her patients leave healthy. She is a charge nurse in the Neuro ICU. Her main focus is to help the patient and family understand everything about their stroke and what they need to do to get back to having functionality. She says a lot of emotional support and education is needed. She is a mentor and preceptor to new nurses and is in the buddy program at Florida Medical Center. Sharon attended Miami Dade Medical Center.
 
St. Mary’s Medical Center
 
Lynne McInerney, RN, BSN
 
Being a trauma nurse puts you squarely in the middle of some of the most sick, injured and vulnerable patients. Lynne McInerney wouldn’t have it any other way. As a nurse for nearly 27 years at St.Mary’s Medical Center, McInerney wants to make a difference for anyone that comes to be treated. Lynne can’t count the amount of people she has taken care of over the years, but one patient in particular stands out to her more than any other. 15 years after a patient was treated for a trauma at St. Mary’s, he reached back out to Lynne and told her he was going through renal failure. He told Lynne that he wouldn’t be able to go through any treatment if she wasn’t there to be by his side. It’s helping patients through their worse moments, getting them back on their feet and allowing them to live their lives again is what makes the job most rewarding for Lynne.
 
Michael Barbera, RN
 
Working with kids and seeing them smile makes it all worthwhile for Michael Barbera. Michael is a nurse at the Palm Beach Children’s Hospital and works with the youngest patients who come to be treated. Michael felt the need to help people is what motivated him to become a nurse. It’s the teamwork that Michael enjoys the most about being a nurse. He feels you’re never alone, and that everyone pitches in to make sure you’re successful in treating the patients coming into the hospital. Michael says that each day is a memorable experience because you learn something new every time you treat someone. When Michael isn’t working, he spends a great deal of his time out on the water. He loves being at the beach and spending time with his wife and two daughters.  
 
Tenet Florida Physician Services
 
Vivian Carta-Sanchez, ARNP, DNP
 
Vivian Carta-Sanchez, ARNP, DNP, says she chose her specialty of geriatrics as a way to help the most vulnerable portion of the population, ages 55 and older. With each patient relationship, she strives to create a comfortable environment focusing on a path of healing and wellness. Her goal is to help each individual she provides care for achieve the best quality of life possible. Besides geriatrics, Carta-Sanchez’s areas of interest include internal medicine and holistic wellbeing. Outside of providing care, Carta-Sanchez enjoys exercising, especially kayaking. Carta-Sanchez is certified as an Adult Nurse Practitioner with the American Nurses Credentialing Center and is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Nurses Association and Nurse Practitioner Council of Palm Beach County. She has been practicing medicine since 2001 and is bilingual in English and Spanish. Her offices are conveniently located in West Palm Beach and Boca Raton.
 
Miami VA Healthcare System
 
John Dempsey, RN
 
John Dempsey went into nursing to care for people while thinking it was a stepping stone to medical school. However, after 28 years in nursing, he is convinced it is a calling and not a job and truly enjoys caring for the sick and injured.
 
John joined the VA two years ago following a career in the Army Reserves from 1992-2012 as a nurse with two overseas tours in Germany (Landstuhl and Wurzburg) and Fort Bragg, NC.
 
He was inspired to work for the VA because of the Veterans. Being a Veteran himself, he knows that everyone is family at the VA and is honored to care for those that have served our country.
 
During his career, nursing has given him the opportunity to work in different areas such as ER/ICU, special procedures, GI, PACU, house supervisor, management, and quality improvement. Now in Education Service, he says he feels lucky to be able to teach others how to care for our Veterans.
He is married to a nurse and has five children from two to 27 years. He is now back in graduate school with a goal of completing a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
 
Marlly Cadavid, PhD, MBA, RN
 
For Dr. Marlly Cadavid, nursing has been one profession, many careers. Dr. Cadavid is an innovative Nurse Leader and a proud Army Veteran having entered the health field as an Army combat medic. As an Army medic for 11 years she was exposed to the role of nurses and was very intrigued by the relationship and interactions between patients and nurses. Her nursing journey has taken her from being an open heart nurse to nursing education, nurse leader, nursing leadership development director/consultant to the academic arena as faculty and academic leader. Currently, she is the Director of the VA Nursing Academic Partnership program, The Post Baccalaureate Nurse Residency Program and the VA Learning Opportunity Residency with FIU.
 
Nursing leadership development has been a passion of Dr. Cadavid; she has conducted research around the impact of nursing leadership on retention of staff nurses called, “Nursing Retention, It’s a Leadership Thing!” Her dissertation is focused on the novice nurse leader and is titled, “The Lived Experience of the Novice Nurse Leader” and has been given the opportunity to present on her findings in various venues. She has been recognized in the Florida Center for Nursing for her work with nursing leadership and has received nomination for Nurse of the Year in the March of Dimes Nursing Gala. She has received grants to study nursing leadership. She has created Nursing Executive Academies, supervisor Bootcamp and many other coaching and mentoring programs for nurse leaders.
 
Coral Gables Hospital
 
Yinnet Rodriguez, RN
 
Yinnet Rodriguez is a registered nurse with 14 years of experience in the nursing field. Yinnet has always being committed to provide her patients with the best care. She works in the surgical step down unit as the unit manager assisting in administrative matters as well as supporting nursing staff in the goal of providing the best care for all post-surgical patients. She also is the hospital orthopedic coordinator where she collaborated to help the hospital achieve The Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval for Total Knee and Total Hip Replacements.
 
Jenna Rodriguez, LPN
 
Jenna Rodriguez is a nurse who is known for being goal oriented with strong leadership skills. With nine years of healthcare experience, she collaborates with staff, peers, and leadership to develop and implement change. Jenna likes educating nurses in the appropriate use of electronic health records. She enjoys assisting the nursing leadership with their daily workflow schedule. Jenna attended Miami Lakes Educational Center and received her technical certificate as a Licensed Practical Nurse in from the State of Florida in 2012.
 
Palmetto General Hospital
 
Cheryl Jacobs, RN, MSN
 
Cheryl Jacobs has served as the Assistant Chief Nursing Officer at Palmetto General Hospital since August of 2015. Cheryl has twenty-four years of nursing experience in various specialty fields and nursing leadership. She has held a variety of leadership positions, most recently serving as the director of neuroscience services at Delray Medical Center and director of critical care services at St. Mary’s Medical Center.
 
Cheryl attended Jackson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Florida Atlantic University, and her Master’s in Nursing Leadership and Administration from Florida Atlantic University. She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Central Florida. Cheryl has served on regional and national critical care collaboratives and is a current member of American Organization of Nurse Executives.
 
Jacquelyn Wheatley-Malone, DNP, ANP-BC, NP-C
 
Jackie was motivated to become a nurse because of a desire to make a positive difference it the lives of others. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas. After moving to South Florida and working in critical care, Jackie earned her Master of Science Degree from Florida International University and her Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree from The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.
 
Jackie has been an active nurse for 25 years and worked as an advanced practice nurse for 16 of those years in the areas of cardiovascular (open heart surgery), neurosurgery and case management. She currently oversees and coordinates the daily operations of the valve program at the Heart Institute at Palmetto General Hospital.  She says she finds the new technology of medicine integrated with quality nursing very rewarding.
 
Jupiter Medical Center
 
Carol Milliken, DNP, RN, CEN, CPEN, CCRN
 
Carol Milliken has held the role of Clinical Education Department Manager at Jupiter Medical Center for the past two years. Carol recently completed her doctoral degree in nursing practice and is nationally certified in emergency nursing, pediatric emergency nursing and critical care. She serves as the president of Palm Beach County's Emergency Nurses Association and is an active member of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and Sigma Theta Tau International honor society of nursing. Her passion for education is evident in her service as an instructor of advanced cardiac life support, pediatric advanced cardiac life support, basic life support, interosseous access, and trauma nurse core courses on her days away from work. Carol states, “the best part about being an educator is being able to provide the nursing team with the tools they need to grow, be successful and provide excellent evidence-based care to our community.”
 
Karen Reese, RNC
 
Karen Reese has been a nurse with Jupiter Medical Center for a year and a half, and she has already made a huge impact on the community. Karen graduated from nursing school in 1990 and is a labor and delivery nurse like her mother before her. She has a passion for ensuring that mothers have the best possible experience when delivering their babies. Labor is a momentous life experience and Karen wants mothers to say, “my nurse made a difference in my experience.” At Jupiter Medical Center, Karen has felt supported in her mission to put patient care first and the business of medicine second. Karen reflects, “The moment you place that new life into that exhausted woman’s arms, you know in your heart the true impact you have made in their life.“
 
Broward Health Medical Center
 
Joshua Fletcher, RN
 
A registered nurse for 13 years and employed by Broward Health Medical Center for 9 years, Joshua Fletcher works in the Intensive Care Unit at Broward Health Medical Center. Joshua works as a bedside nurse, caring for the critically ill who also does relief charge and responds to in-house emergencies such as code blues, rapid responses and brain attacks.
 
Joshua received his associate degree in nursing from University of Rio Grande, located in Rio Grande, Ohio and is currently studying to earn his Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN).
 
Fletcher is a two-time DAISY Award® recipient, an international program that rewards and celebrates the extraordinary clinical skill and compassionate care given by nurses every day. His most recent nomination resulted from a fellow nurse commending Fletcher on his phenomenal performance during the Fort Lauderdale Airport incident in January 2017.
 
Grace Grecz, RN
 
Grace Grecz has been a registered nurse at Broward Health for 35 years. Grecz currently works at Maternity Place at Broward Health Medical Center as a staff nurse. As a Maternity Staff Registered Nurse, Grace cares for new mothers and babies, serving as a Clinical Coach, Charge Nurse and Transition Nurse.
 
Grace received her Associate Degree in Nursing from Broward Community College and is a past recipient of the DAISY award, an international program that rewards and celebrates the extraordinary clinical skill and compassionate care given by nurses every day. Additionally, Grace received was the recipient of the Medical Staff Employee recognition award for her outstanding commitment to nursing. She has served on many committees throughout her career such as the Breastfeeding Process Improvement Team and Transition Nurse Team offering her invaluable expertise.
 
Behavioral Health Services, Broward Health Medical Center
 
Mariamma J. Pyngolil, MSN, ARNP, PMHCNS- BC
 
Mariamma J. Pyngolil, MSN, ARNP, PMHCNS- BC, is Clinical nurse specialist for Behavioral Health Services at Broward Health Medical Center and serves as co- chair of Research and Evidence based practice council. In her role as Clinical Nurse Specialist, Pyngolil provides clinical leadership and education for Behavioral health in bringing evidence based practices to Behavioral Health Services and clinical consultations for Behavioral Health issues in acute care.
 
North Shore Medical Center
 
Pattie Kissoon, BSN, RN
 
Pattie Kissoon is a focused and dedicated registered nurse with knowledge in acute care, staff development and family advocacy. She has served as the nursing manager for the telemetry department at North Shore Medical Center for a year. In this role, she assures the quality of care by developing and interpreting hospital and nursing division’s philosophies and standards of care. Pattie protects patients and employees by developing and interpreting infection control policies and protocols.
 
She received her Bachelor’s degree in nursing from Chamberlain College in Addison, IL and she is currently obtaining her Master of Science in Nursing and Business Administration.
 
Alexandra Sosa, RN
 
Alexandra Sosa is passionate about nursing. As a registered nurse, she educates patients and families regarding treatment plans, medications, procedures and home transitioning. Alexandra also assists in addressing core measures and discharging of patients from the hospital setting to home or to a rehabilitation facility. She collaborates with a multidisciplinary team. She received her Bachelor’s degree in nursing from Florida International University in Miami, FL and she also completed a comprehensive LPN program.
 
Catholic Hospice
 
Guerda Germain, RN
 
Caring for those who are nearing the end of their earthly journey is a special gift. It is a gift of commitment, compassion and comfort. It is a gift that is wrapped in dignity and love – one that eases suffering, comforts loved ones and helps with the road of sadness and grief.
 
Guerda Germain shares her gift of Commitment, Compassion and Comfort by wrapping her patients in a cloak of love. She walks with her patients and their loved ones during this voyage to their next destination Guerda does this with her heart full of love and devotion. Though her time with her patients may be short, she establishes a relationship of trust, dignity and truth which allows her to be present in their sacred journey. Guerda truly has the Heart of Hospice.
 
Mayelin Alonso, RN
 
Mayelin Alonso possesses the most important qualities that patients and families facing end of life illness deserve to benefit from their hospice nurse. Mayelin speaks to her patients and families with a heart of compassion, through eyes filled with understanding, and reverently with hands of love.
 
 Hospice Care requires nursing that has an essence, which illuminates the souls of patients with hope when all seems in vain, with truth when it might be hard to reveal, support where strength yields to weakness, and commitment to preserving the comfort and dignity of each patient and family. Mayelin walks beside each patient and family as they make their sacred journey, the same journey each of us will someday be traveling on.
 
May we all be blessed to have a nurse like Mayelin there besides us, and find our road scattered with the same blessings Mayelin's patients have received from her amazing grace.
 
Florida Atlantic University Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing Community Health Center
 
Eugenia Millender, PhD, RN
 
Dr. Eugenia Millender is dedicated to increasing access to quality care, decreasing health and mental disparities, and providing a culturally-sensitive environment for both patients and heath care professionals. Equipped with deep community connections and extensive clinical experience, she is able to not only provide quality care locally, but also bridge the gap of health disparities across state and international borders. Dr. Eugenia Millender is the director for the FAU Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing Community Health Center and program director for the HRSA grant responsible for integrating Interprofessional Collaborative Practice strategies in the homeless and rural community in Palm Beach County. At the FAU Community Health Center, she is responsible for providing the day-to-day structure and resources to assure successful operations, and for working with community partners to develop innovative ways to care for the most underserved populations.
 
Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing

María de los Ángeles Ordóñez, DNP, ARNP-BC
 
Dr. María Ordóñez is the Director of the Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center, a part of FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. She performs initial comprehensive, memory-focused assessments for older adults and participates as a member of a multidisciplinary team in enhancing continuity of care as a response to the person’s lived experience. Dr. Ordóñez also leads and facilitates clinical practicum opportunities for students of the College of Nursing and other disciplines. She is an assistant professor in the Practice Teaching track, engaged in clinical practice, teaching, and research, co-creating and sustaining healing environments and relationships through caring. Dr. María Ordóñez is a board certified Gerontological Nurse Practitioner who specializes in caring for the older adult through the diagnosis, treatment and management of acute and chronic conditions that are generally associated with aging. Her practice experience encompasses nursing rehabilitation facilities and memory disorder clinics.
 
Florida International University (FIU) Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences
 
Lucie Dlugasch, ARNP-BC. MSN, PhD
 
Lucie Dlugasch is a clinical associate professor for graduate nursing at FIU Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences. As a long-time faculty member, she combines engagement and education to enhance the FIU nursing student experience. She introduced the ProjectHOPE global health education and humanitarian assistance organization to FIU nursing students to give them valuable clinical experience working abroad on a medical ship. The endeavor evolved into collaborations with the U.S. Navy on military-led humanitarian missions. She recently returned from Colombia, where she led FIU nurse practitioner students to provide critical medical care, distribute vaccines and educate community health workers. Lucie’s drive for change is most symbolized by the Analise Dlugasch Memorial Endowment, established by her family in honor of their daughter who passed away from a choking accident. The endowment supports FIU HEART, a CPR education program for FIU hospitality students and professionals. Lucie earned her PhD and MSN from the University of Miami and her BSN from Florida State University.
 
Yvonne Parchment, EdD, MSN, CS, CNE, ARNP
 
Yvonne Parchment is a clinical associate professor for undergraduate nursing at FIU Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences. A military veteran herself, she is a faculty member for FIU’s VA Nursing Academic Partnership program. Her academic commitment to advance gerontological nursing is evidenced in a Health Foundation of South Florida Faculty Development Award and her tenure on Miami Dade College’s Advisory Committee for the Institute for Ethics in Health Care. Yvonne also works with neighborhood churches to promote health and exercise for the elderly, prostate cancer awareness and contributes to the Jamaican Diaspora Community. She takes her compassion overseas on multi-disciplinary volunteer trips with college faculty and students. She was part of a group sponsored by the Florida Association of Volunteer Action in the Caribbean and Americas to work with Belize’s National Council on Aging and St. Kitts and Nevis Ministry of Social Justice to improve the health and quality of life for seniors. Yvonne earned her EdD at FIU, and her MSN and BSN at University of Miami.
 
Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center
 
Jennifer Schultz, RN, BSN
 
“I’m so glad you’re my nurse.” “I feel lucky you’re taking care of me.” When patients make comments like this to Jennifer Schultz, it makes being a nurse all the more worthwhile. Jennifer has over 20 years of experience in nursing, and for the past two, she’s been helping patients on the road to recovery at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center. She feels the best part about being a nurse is helping the people she treats on a daily basis and making sure they improve so they can eventually go home to be reunited with their families again. Jennifer is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing.
 
Sean Koecheler, ADN
 
You could say Sean Koecheler threw a curveball in life to get where he is today. A top baseball prospect, Sean was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers right out of high school, but chose to play college baseball. He pitched at Palm Beach State College, and then was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks following his sophomore year. Sean opted to stay in school and decided baseball wasn’t something he ultimately wanted to pursue professionally. Inspired by his mother who has been a nurse for nearly 50 years, Sean decided to throw a change-up, he hung up his mitt, and now he is a hit as an ICU nurse at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center. Sean compares nursing to baseball, as he puts it, you have to work together as a team to produce better outcomes for the patients. One of the things Sean enjoys the most about nursing is working with cardiac patients, which is a prominent service line at the hospital.
 
Delray Medical Center
 
Yaima Morgan, RN, BSN, BBA
 
Yaima Morgan of Delray Medical Center describes her experience of being a nurse as being a new adventure each day. Yaima has been a nurse at Delray Medical Center for the past two years upon graduating from Florida Atlantic University. Yaima says she has always felt the need to take care of others when they need you most. She started looking after the elders in her church who didn’t have a family to help them when she was 14 years old. She started by acting as their caregiver and advocate when they had any sort of health issue. Yaima knew from that point on she wanted to be a nurse and care for others. Yaima enjoys being able to interact with her patients. She focuses on listening to who they are and establishing a bond with them to make their experience as pleasant as possible. As Yaima puts it, she looks forward to changing a patient’s life, but it’s usually the patient that makes the biggest impact and ultimately ends up inspiring her.
 
Jaison Chowattukunnel, RN
 
Jaison Chowattukunnel likes making a difference each day for the patients he cares for. Jason enjoys being a role model to his two young sons who are 2 ½ and 1, but he also models himself as someone who is known for having a positive attitude when he treats patients at Delray Medical Center. The ever changing environment of healthcare is one of the things Jason enjoys the most about nursing. It also allows him to use his critical thinking skills. Jaison earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida before going to Florida Atlantic University to complete his degree in nursing.
 
Cleveland Clinic Florida
 
Kimberly Leon RN, BSN
 
Kimberly Leon is an invasive cardiology Catheterization /Electrophysiology Lab staff nurse at Cleveland Clinic Florida, where she provides outstanding pre, intra and post procedural nursing care. She embodies the Cleveland Clinic philosophy of “Patients First,” and continuously goes the extra mile to support her colleagues and mentor younger nurses.
 
Kimberly has been a member of the Cleveland Clinic team since 2009, and started in the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiology. Over the years, Kimberly has been fortunate to work in various nursing roles and departments, including Emergency Room, providing hyperbaric oxygen therapy, Trauma ICU and Telemetry.
 
Kimberly graduated from Broward College with an Associate of Science in Nursing. In 2014, she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Grand Canyon University.
 
University of Miami Health System
 
Jessica MacIntyre, MSN, ARNP
 
Jessica MacIntyre, M.S.N., ARNP, has practiced at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Health System, for more than 15 years. “The most important thing that brought me into oncology was my personal experience with a family member,” says MacIntyre, who is Sylvester’s Director of Clinical Operations. “There is so much we as nurses can do, including in the research arena, to help cure this disease.”
 
She is co-director of Sylvester’s new oncology fellowship program for nurse practitioners - the first in Florida - to help them provide specialized, comprehensive care for cancer patients. She also developed the cancer center’s first Patient and Family Advisory Council.
 
A past president of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Oncology Nursing Society, MacIntyre is an avid speaker on topics concerning supportive care for the oncology patient.
 
“Nursing has grown exponentially since I started,” MacIntyre says. “We’re becoming the forefront of care for patients and their families.”
 
Belkis Dominguez, RN, BSN
 
Improving the quality of patients’ lives by enhancing their vision is deeply rewarding for Belkis Dominguez, R.N., B.S.N., an outpatient retina nurse at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, part of the University of Miami Health System.
 
“I have great passion, integrity and energy for my work,” says Dominguez, whose path to Bascom Palmer included earning Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT) certification, and certification as a registered nurse in ophthalmology (CRNO).
 
Viviane Leveille-Charles, BSN, MPH, Director of Nursing for Outpatient Services at Bascom Palmer, praises Dominguez’s drive and risk-taking. “She has demonstrated such initiative in her attempts to grow and develop, taking classes on Saturdays to improve her English and volunteering to present to Big Brothers/Big Sisters about the virtues of the nursing profession,” Leveille-Charles says. “She is also very spiritual and humble.”
 
The opportunity to work as a nurse at Bascom Palmer, ranked the Number One eye hospital in the nation 15 times by U.S. News & World Report, proves to Dominguez that “dreams do come true.”
 
Good Samaritan Medical Center
 
Clare McKinlay, RN
 
Clare McKinlay has been an OB nurse at Good Samaritan Medical Center for nearly 13 years. Clare has almost 50 years of experience in nursing and loves every aspect of her job. She worked as a midwife in her native Scotland for 35 years before coming to Florida. She figured out at a very young age that she wanted to be a caregiver after her father was hospitalized. Clare loves the team first attitude as to why she enjoys being a part of the OB unit. In fact, she flew her daughter in from Scotland so she could have her baby at Good Samaritan Medical Center, something she said was an amazing experience to witness. Something she has become passionate about is her volunteer work as a sexual assault nurse, which she has been doing for the past five years.
 
Carlos Lacayo, RN, BSN
 
“When you’re making a difference in people’s lives, that is the biggest impact you can possibly have on someone.” Those are the words of Carlos Lacayo, R.N., B.S.N., who has been a nurse on staff at Good Samaritan Medical Center for the past year. Not only does Carlos enjoy making an impact on his patients, but he loves the interaction and getting to know them on a personal level too. Carlos enjoys the” team first” mentality of being a nurse, where everyone who cares for the patients shows a real interest in the health and well-being of seeing them get better. Carlos is a graduate of Miami-Dade College and has a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. He is currently getting his Masters in Nursing at Nova Southeastern University.
 
West Boca Medical Center
 
Susan Feldman, BSN
 
Seeing kids happy and healthy is what makes Susan Feldman smile. The pediatric nurse has been taking care of children at West Boca Medical Center for the past 14 years. She loves how resilient and upbeat kids are, and it’s that attitude that allows the children to flourish once they’re discharged. She credits her fellow nurse co-workers as a big reason why she’s so successful and has her positive attitude. One of Susan’s most memorable moments at West Boca was when she cared for a child who had to spend an entire summer in the hospital. Upon his discharge, the staff pitched in and surprised him with all new school supplies and clothes for the upcoming school year. It took an enormous burden off the family, and to this day, Susan is still in touch with the family and their son who is now an adult.
 
Tracey Brown, BSN, MBA/MHA
 
West Boca Medical Center’s Tracey Brown is dedicated to her career as a nurse. She was caring for people even before she was actually an RN. Growing up, Tracey tended to her ailing great grandmother at home, and as Tracey got older, she wanted to work in a profession where she could show compassion and help people. Nursing offered the perfect opportunity. Tracey was also a part of the team that helped design and work on the layout of the recent free standing emergency department that West Boca Medical Center built in Coconut Creek. One of her most memorable moments on the job was when she took care of a young child who was a patient in the hospital. Tracey gave him some crayons and paper and he ended up drawing a picture of her. To this day, Tracey has it framed on her wall.
 
VITAS Healthcare of Broward County
 
Karla Martinez, BSN
 
“A VITAS patient’s daughter called after her mother passed and said that she would be ‘forever indebted’ to me for my role in her caregiving. There’s nothing more rewarding than that.”—VITAS Healthcare of Broward County Admissions Nurse Karla Martinez, BSN
 
Karla started with VITAS in 2007 as a continuous care nurse and has since been promoted to admissions nurse. She educates patients and families about hospice care, including spiritual and social services support.
 
“When I joined VITAS, it was a job. But I fell in love with the one-on-one interaction with patients and families. Being able to step in when families most need help is amazing. There aren’t too many jobs that allow you to do that!” said Karla.
 
“Karla is an important part of our team. She is an exceptional nurse, and treats patients with great compassion and care,” said VITAS of Broward General Manager Donna Borland.
 
Lawrence “Larry” McDermott, RN, CHPN
 
“In most nursing specializations, a patient’s passing is seen as failure. In hospice, instead of fighting a terminal diagnosis we help ease pain and try to make dying a peaceful process.”— VITAS Healthcare of Broward Patient Care Advocate Lawrence “Larry” McDermott, RN, CHPN
 
Larry is a problem solver at heart and by training. Having joined VITAS in 1990, Larry has applied his wide array of nursing skills in different roles—from team manager to patient care advocate—to serve patients and families.
 
“Listening to people’s problems with compassion and patience is very important,” said Larry. “Easing their concerns is a rewarding part of my job.”
 
“There’s a reason why Larry has received multiple awards at VITAS,” said VITAS of Broward General Manager Susan Acocella. “He has served our patients and families with dedication and skilled care for many years.”
 
VITAS Healthcare of Dade and Monroe Counties
 
Tricia Sorol, RN
 
“My young daughter sees how happy I am to help patients and their families cope with a terrible situation. She hopes her job can bring her as much joy.”—VITAS Healthcare of Dade-Monroe RN Tricia Sorol
 
Tricia joined VITAS Healthcare in 2007. “For me, it was a calling,” she said.
 
Today, she works with VITAS patients, who reside at the Palace Assisted Living Facility in Kendall, FL. Along with assessing and meeting patient needs, Tricia oversees the CNAs serving the facility.
 
“As stressful as it can be, I enjoy being able to support patients and their families, answer questions and offer solace during this tough process,” said Tricia.
 
“Tricia is a compassionate and consummate professional. She is deeply invested in helping patients and families as they make difficult decisions about end-of-life care,” said VITAS of Dade-Monroe Senior General Manager Beatriz “Betty” Bel.
 
Yesica Yabor, ARNP
 
“My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was under VITAS’ exceptional care. I personally know the importance of getting the right people when dealing with end-of-life issues.”— VITAS Healthcare of Dade-Monroe Nurse Practitioner Yesica Yabor, ARNP
 
When Yesica joined VITAS Healthcare in 2014, she knew that hospice was the right specialty for her. She wanted to use her skills to help patients and families as they struggled with making end-of-life care decisions.
 
“When people come to us, they are confused and frightened. To be able to help them understand their options, give them clarity and finally, just listen to their concerns is very rewarding,” said Yesica.
 
 “Yesica is a gifted and dedicated nurse. A valuable member of our team, she goes above and beyond for our patients and families,” said VITAS of Dade-Monroe Senior General Manager Beatriz “Betty” Bel.
 
VITAS Healthcare of Palm Beach County
 
Denese Fullwood, LPN
 
“There is no better feeling than being able to help someone who is in pain and needs support. For me, being able to offer patients and their families both compassion and information is very fulfilling.”—VITAS Healthcare of Palm Beach LPN Denese Fullwood
 
Denese joined VITAS Healthcare in 2002 as a CNA in Broward. She has since been promoted and serves patients and families as an LPN in Palm Beach.
 
Denese is passionate about providing exemplary care to hospice patients. “Working for VITAS allows me to make a difference in people’s lives every day. I am at the patients’ bedsides, taking care of them, being the eyes and ears for the attending doctors and a shoulder to lean on for the families,” said Denese.
 
“Denese is an excellent nurse. She cares deeply for her terminally ill patients and understands the complexities of caring for them,” said VITAS General Manager Diana Smith.
 
Kurt Buzek, RN
 
“When I started working as a nurse, I saw people die alone in the ER. That had a huge impact on me and I started volunteering at a local hospice and there, I found my calling.”—VITAS Healthcare of Palm Beach County RN Kurt Buzek.
 
Kurt’s volunteer work impressed upon him how much terminally ill patients needed compassionate support and guidance. So he joined VITAS Healthcare in 2002.
 
“I go to patients in crisis. Being able to calm their fears, deal with their confusion and offer medical assistance, is very rewarding. I know that in most cases, the patient and family feel helped and supported after I have spent time with them,” said Kurt.
 
“Kurt’s experience and skills make him an asset to our team. He brings comfort and exemplary care to his patients and their families,” said VITAS General Manager Diana Smith.
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