Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center Nursing Staff at the Prescott City Council Chambers, left to right: Olivia Marsh, Nurse Manager, PAT/PreOP/PACU; Tracey McCollum, Chief Nursing Officer; Amy Kingsley, PACU RN, Relief Nursing Supervisor; Lauren Weedon, Senior Director of Nursing Services.

Each year, on Florence Nightingale’s birthday, we reflect on how far the nursing profession has come and recognize the indispensable role that nurses play in the medical profession.

Born on May 12, 1820, Florence Nightingale was a social reformer, statistician, and nurse educator. During the Crimean War, she developed and managed the care center for injured troops in Constantinople. In 1883, she was awarded the Royal Red Cross, in 1904, the Lady of Grace of the Order of Saint John, and in 1907, the Order of Merit. Continually advocating for healthcare reform and better working conditions for nurses, Florence Nightingale is considered the founder of modern nursing.

As we grapple worldwide with the COVID pandemic, we see more than ever how, like Florence Nightingale, nurses reach above and beyond to fulfill their calling to care for others.

“Nursing is more than a career,” says Tracey McCollum, Chief Nursing Officer at Dignity Health,Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC). “During the past two years, nurses have served on the front lines of the COVID 19 pandemic to provide care and comfort to the most vulnerable among us. Nursing’s contributions to the COVID response are immeasurable.”

In recognition of the heroic work that our present-day nurses do, Mayor Phil Goode and the Prescott City Council proclaimed the week of May 6th – 12th, 2022 as National Nurse’s Week. The same week, the annual Florence Nightingale Nurse of the Year Award was given to Amy Kingsley, a very deserving nurse at YRMC.

Amy Kingsley moved to Prescott from Toledo, Ohio in 2008. Her husband had been offered a teaching job at a local high school, and Amy started working at YRMC. According to her supervisor, Olivia Marsh, Nurse Manager PAT/PreOP/PACU, Amy exemplifies the standards set by Florence Nightingale. In fact, Marsh was the one who nominated Kingsley for the Florence Nightingale award.

“Amy has worked at Yavapai Regional Medical Center for more than 13 years. She has worked in the PCU, ED, PACU, as a House Supervisor and has helped with Pediatrics,” Marsh says. “She has never told me that she can’t do something when asked to care for our patients and help our team. No job is too small for her. She sees the bigger picture at all times and helps others to see it too.”

“She includes everyone with kindness and respect,” Marsh explains, “and has taken it upon herself to watch out for the young and new nurses by mentoring and doing chart audits to improve the clarity of care provided. She goes above and beyond what is expected in multiple areas of the nursing profession.”

With characteristic humility, Kingsley was surprised and touched to receive the honor.

“I had no idea I was nominated,” admits Kingsley. “There was a board downstairs that had the names of the nominees and quotes from those who nominated them. Every one of the nominees are amazing people and would have deserved the recognition. It’s a true honor to be in such good company, and to be equated with Florence Nightingale, an icon in nursing culture. And of course, it meant so much to be nominated by Olivia, whom I have so much respect for.”

When asked how she copes with the stressful moments, especially over the last two years, Kingsley gives it some thought.

“There are a lot of things that have helped me get through. I treat every patient like they’re my family. We get used to the technical side of the work, and seeing sick people, but there’s a trick to having that human connection, and most importantly, keeping your peace of mind afterward.”

“I use humor and try to joke with patients. You can make incredible connections that way.” She pauses. “But if it’s a tough situation, I just try to meet them wherever they are, as best as I can. And it’s always important to have a nurse friend to debrief with.”

“I have learned to be more relaxed and forgiving of myself and others,” she continues. “At home, I spend time with my husband and pets. We live in a beautiful area, so I spend time outside. And back at work, it’s so important to have fun. I use humor with my co-workers too. They’re such a good group of people. The support, debriefing and laughter help so much.”

Kingsley’s kind and generous approach to leadership was another key reason that Marsh nominated her.

“One of my favorite recent memories involves Amy and several of our nurses, both new and experienced,” Marsh recalls. “The group was gathered around Amy to listen while she taught about ACLS algorithms. They were all engaged, hanging on her every word and thought.”

“I have seen her emotions over the years include giggling with joy while talking to a patient, to super-focused determination while fixing a problem,” says Marsh. “And in the end, Amy is never boastful or proud. In fact, she is humble and often lifts others above herself with acts of human kindness.”

Florence Nightingale once said, “For the sick, it is important to have the best.” We are fortunate to have Amy Kingsley, one of the very best, on staff at YRMC.