Did you know that at the beginning of the 19th century, most nurses had very little training, or often no training at all, and they weren’t paid for the ‘menial’ work they did?

Today, of course, nurses are recognized as important, skilled professionals and vital members of any healthcare team. This is, in great part, due to the efforts of celebrated social reformer Florence Nightingale, who worked diligently, day and night, at a British base hospital during the Crimean War in the 1850s. She earned the nickname “the Lady with the Lamp” because of the lamp that she carried during her nighttime rounds while caring for her patients.

Referencing her experiences in the Crimea, Nightingale wrote an 830-page report on proposed reforms for military hospitals with poor conditions. In 1860, she laid the foundation for professional nursing with the establishment of a nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, the first secular nursing school in the world and now part of King’s College London.

Each year on May 12th, the anniversary of Nightingale’s birth, the International Council of Nurses recognizes International Nurses Day across the world. Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) is no exception.

On May 9th, 2019, YRMC held its annual Nurse and Support Staff Excellence Awards celebration. The 2019 theme was “Making a Difference, Every Patient, Every Time.”

“Our nurses and support staff are a daily example of the values that bring YRMC’s Total Healing Environment to life,” says Diane Drexler, Chief Nursing Officer at YRMC. “It takes a team of highly skilled, dedicated people to take care of patients here at YRMC, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We couldn’t be more proud of each and every member of our team.”

Those values, lived every day at YRMC, are Commitment, Integrity, Accountability, Quality and Respect. A number of nurses and support staff were individually honored at the celebration for their exemplary commitment to those values and the patients and families they serve.

The highest honor, the 2019 Florence Nightingale Award, was given to YRMC East Emergency Department nurse Patricia Kaawaloa. She is a committed Clinical Ladder nurse who is active in committees and projects to improve care and services at YRMC.

Kaawaloa’s supervisors and peers describe her as a positive, energetic leader and team player who jumps in to assist in any situation, without hesitation. They add that she takes on any task, no matter how daunting. Her respectful and compassionate care in listening to patients and their families and offering thoughtful solutions is one of her strongest contributions to the nursing team.

Honors were shared with additional team members throughout YRMC, including:

Registered Nurses:

  • Emergency Department – West: Rachel Whisenand
  • Endoscopy: Christine Taylor
  • Family Birthing Center: Jennifer Mevissen
  • Med/Surg/Tele – West: Carmen Dalton
  • Med/Surg/Tele – East: Christina Griffin
  • PACU – East: Erin McFadden
  • Progressive Care Unit – West: Mylene Gamutin
  • Advanced Wound Care: Catheryn Trammell

Support Staff:

  • Emergency Department – West: Christian Stratton
  • Emergency Department – East: Steven Hookey
  • Endoscopy:  Carly Jaime
  • Family Birthing Center: Carol Steele
  • ICU – West: Shelby Wohlwend
  • Med/Surg/Tele – West:  Amber Heimeyer
  • Med/Surg/Tele – East: Veona Petefish

“Human interaction is always at the core of excellent nursing care,” says John Amos, President and CEO of YRMC. “Nursing is all about people caring for people. And I’m proud to say that YRMC is blessed with the best people around. Our nurses and support staff are truly our unsung heroes. Day in and day out, they are the strong foundation that we build our care on.”

Florence Nightingale once said, “For the sick, it is important to have the best.” Her legacy of the best care, compassion and skill lives on at Yavapai Regional Medical Center.