Nurse profiles continued …

Broward Health Imperial Point
Broward Health Imperial Point’s Transitional Care, Multidisciplinary Team
Broward Health Imperial Point’s Transitional Care, Multidisciplinary team has been named a runner-up in the 12th annual “ADVANCE for Nurses” Best Nursing Team contest! This year’s contest was dubbed ‘Your Defining Moment’, requiring nursing teams to submit an essay on their team’s defining moment in one of the following categories: Initiative, Adaptability, Expertise, or Outreach. The winning teams will be announced during the 2013 Nurses’ Week.
Hialeah Hospital
Seena Jose, BSN, CCRN
Seena Jose, BSN, CCRN, first decided to become a nurse after a personal experience in high school when she went to visit a family member in the hospital. During that visit, Seena had the opportunity to see how nurses cared for patients and how they had the chance to touch the lives of the patients and their families. At that moment, Seena knew that she wanted to have the same rewarding opportunities and decided to pursue a career in nursing.
Seena has 13 years of nursing experience at Hialeah Hospital and currently works in the hospital’s Quality Department. She strives to maintain Hialeah Hospital’s high standards of patient safety and the health care quality delivered to patients. Prior to joining the Quality Department in 2011, Seena worked in the hospital’s Critical Care Unit for 10 years.
Seena earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Nitte University in Mangalore, India. In 2004, she continued her training and received her certificate as a Critical Care Registered Nurse. Outside of nursing, Seena enjoys traveling, long drives and spending time with her family.
Mayda C. Soler, RN, CIC
Before joining Hialeah Hospital, Mayda C. Soler, RN, CIC, worked as an admissions director for a rehabilitation hospital for 8 years. After realizing that she loved patient interaction, Mayda decided to change her career path and pursue nursing instead.
Mayda works in Hialeah Hospital’s Infection Control Department as an infection preventionist. She has 10 years of nursing experience and more than 20 years of experience working in health care. As an infection preventionist, Mayda prides herself on working to maintain a safe and sanitary environment at Hialeah Hospital by keeping its patients, guests, volunteers and employees safe from infectious diseases. Mayda earned her associate degree in nursing from Broward Community College after completing her bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Services Administration at Florida International University. She is board-certified in infection prevention and control as well as in rehabilitation nursing.
Holy Cross Hospital
Kristin Shaver, BSN, RN
Kristin Shaver began her nursing career through Holy Cross Hospital’s nurse residency program, a one-year program designed for newly licensed BSN graduates. Working on the medical/surgical floor during her residency, Shaver successfully assisted her nursing unit in the hospital’s Joint Commission certification process. Prior to Holy Cross, Shaver worked as a student nurse at the University of Miami Hospital, Jackson Memorial Hospital, VA Medical Center, Miami Children’s Hospital, and the Miami Jewish Nursing Home. A volunteer with Scalpel at the Cross Missions, Shaver is certified in CPR, automated external defibrillators, first aid, and basic and advanced life support by the American Heart Association, and in HIV/AIDS by the HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Miami in May 2011.
Tracey Melhuish, MSN, RN, CCRN
Tracey Melhuish, a registered nurse with more than 18 years of experience, serves as a clinical practice specialist with a focus on critical and step down care at Holy Cross Hospital. She provides clinical support to nursing units and bedside patient care, and also identifies educational needs of staff while developing skills for advanced beginner nurses. Melhuish is involved in several nursing research projects and has participated in numerous poster and podium presentations and educational webcasts. She is president of the Broward Chapter of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and a member of the Omnicrom Delta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau. Melhuish received her bachelor’s in nursing science from BG Alexander Nursing College in Johannesburg, South Africa and her MSN/ED at the University of Phoenix in Plantation. Tracey is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt and Critical Care Registered Nurse.
Hospice of Palm Beach County
Judy Williams, RN
Judy Williams was the perfect choice to open Hospice of Palm Beach County’s new inpatient care unit at The Pavilion at Jupiter Medical Center. An RN since 1978, Judy had an extensive background in hematology and oncology before joining Hospice of Palm Beach County in 2002. Responsible for clinical care and operations at the Jupiter unit, Judy was able to hand-pick a clinical dream team. Judy’s philosophy is one of compassion and nurturing – for her team as well as the patients. Meeting personally with each patient and family, she reviews their goals, spends time to educate and guide them, and eases anxiety. “In hospice care, we see the patient as whole, rather than seeing a set of symptoms,” she explained. “Our team considers it an honor to take exceptional care of our patients and families; treating them with reverence and doing everything we possibly can to give them comfort.”
Denise Karadin, RN
For the past 10 years, Denise Karadin has been directing operations of a clinical team that cares for patients throughout Northern Palm Beach County. A 35-year nursing veteran, Denise had an extensive background in hospital acute care, psychiatric and home health nursing when a friend suggested that she would love working with Hospice of Palm Beach County. The moment she walked through the doors, Denise knew that she would never want to do anything else. Directing a team of nurses, CNAs chaplains, social workers and physicians who have a total of 210 years of clinical experience, Denise marvels, “The people I work with have so much knowledge, and their incredible passion each day continually amazes me. It is very rewarding to know that we touch people’s lives, easing such a difficult time.”
Hospice of Broward County
Ursula Bennett, RN
In 1996, Ursula Bennett fulfilled her lifelong desire to become a nurse after a career in business. For five years, she worked in hospital telemetry and ICU units, where she saw many patients suffering and their families unsure of how to make medical care decisions. In 2000, Ursula came to Hospice of Palm Beach County as a Field Admissions Nurse, drawing upon her clinical and managerial skills to help patients and families to get the assistance they needed at the end of life. She later went on to train others and supervise admissions for Hospice of Palm Beach County. Now, Ursula manages the Admissions Department for HPBC’s sister organization, Hospice of Broward County. “I enjoy my job every day,” she mentioned. “It’s an honor to speak with and guide our patients and families, knowing that we are making their final months together the very best they can be.”
Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital
Violet Rhagnanan-Kramer, RN, MSN, NE
Violet Rhagnanan-Kramer, RN, MSN, NE, rose from frontline care to nursing leadership, demonstrating exceptional leadership skills in patient care and management. Described as a transformational leader at Jackson Health System, her methods paid off with some of the highest nursing satisfaction and patient outcome scores in the United States.    
Rhagnanan-Kramer is a board certified nurse executive and was the March of Dimes 2012 Nurse Leader/Manager of the Year. Many of her leadership skills were fine-tuned as a facilitator for the Trauma Resuscitation Unit Practice Council. Violet says, “I’ve become a better listener and observer of interactions. I’ve learned when and how to ask questions that motivate and inspire others to create successful outcomes.”
Violet Rhagnanan-Kramer is currently the nurse manager of the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit at Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital. Her motto is “to promote nursing excellence and high performance by inspiring others to do their best.”
Tidra Hardy, RN
Tidra Hardy, RN, consistently demonstrates commitment to high quality nursing care. She collaborates with the interdisciplinary team to identify patient needs, utilizing evidence-based interventions to promote the best patient care outcomes. Hardy has outstanding interpersonal skills, and is an excellent teacher. Patient education is a hallmark of rehabilitation nursing, occurring throughout the patient’s care continuum. She is also an ambassador, not only for Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital, but for the entire system.
Supporting the unit’s patient satisfaction initiatives, Hardy leads the Unit Practice Council to update patient education materials related to orientation to the rehab unit, as well as those related to proper bowel management in patients with spinal cord injury. Hardy regularly discusses current topics in our trauma patient consideration classes to increase staff knowledge in caring for this special patient population.
Hardy was the 2012 New Resident RN of the Year for the Jackson ortho-rehab-neuro division for Jackson Health System and currently chairs the Unit Practice Council.
Jackson Behavioral Health Hospital
Maria Davila, RN, MSN
Maria Davila RN, MSN, joined the Jackson Behavioral Health Hospital (JBHH) nursing team in 2008. She arrived with 13 years of diverse professional nursing experience in clinical and leadership roles. A graduate from Barry University with a Master of Science degree in nursing (MSN), she was immediately inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Lambda Chapter.
Nurse Davila supports lifelong-learning and ongoing professional development. She is an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) board-certified psychiatric-mental health nurse. She is also a certified instructor for nonviolent crisis intervention training by the Crisis Prevention Institute.
As a clinical educator, Maria plays a critical role in the daily operations of JBHH by planning, developing, and coordinating all educational programs for patients and staff. Her dedication to ongoing staff development and patient/family education supports the hospital in providing high quality, culturally-congruent care to our patients and their families.
Horace A. Ellis, DNP, ARNP, PMHNP
Horace A. Ellis, DNP, ARNP, PMHNP, has been a psychiatric nurse practitioner functioning in blended roles as therapist, clinical specialist and educator at Jackson Behavioral Health Hospital since 2000.
Experienced in the development of mental health-specific classroom and computer-based educational programs, Horace teaches psychiatric-mental health theory and clinical skills to mental health professionals. Additionally, he is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Miami, and a preceptor to nursing students and allied health students.
Horace A. Ellis works closely with local law enforcement and other first responders in Miami-Dade County in Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training to safely intervene in mental health crises and/or get individuals safely into treatment. In 2012, Horace completed his Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) at Florida Atlantic University. His capstone was focused on the effects of CIT training on police officers pre- and post-CIT training.
Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital
Chris Mashburn, RN, BSN
When Chris Mashburn, RN, BSN, joined Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital (JDCH) in 2007, she came with 15 years of general cardiac and pediatric cardiac transplant experience. She also brought with her the passion and dedication to build the then fledgling program to its current top-notch status.
“Chris obviously views nursing as an honored profession, striving to continue elevating its role through research, education and publication—most recently in the New England Journal of Medicine,” said Kari Hess, administrative director, Cardiac Center, JDCH.
“Chris has sacrificed countless hours reassuring, comforting and caring for our patients and their families,” Hess pointed out. “Our Cardiac Center and hospital are definitely better off because of her.”
Since the Cardiac Center completed eleven successful pediatric heart transplants since JDCH received UNOS approval in late 2011, Mashburn has many faithful fans. She has also set a wonderful example for her daughter, Danielle, who is now a physician’s assistant in Denver.
Jupiter Medical Center
Beth Suriano, RN, BPS, CNOR, RNFA, CNML
Beth Suriano, RN, has been dedicated to the nursing profession for more than 32 years, 30 of those years spent at Jupiter Medical Center (JMC).
As Director of Surgical Services at JMC, Beth is responsible for the day-to-day operations of surgical services, the pre-operative clinic, immediate pre-operative area, recovery room, sterile processing, anesthesia support services and GI Lab.
Beth has a passion for surgical services, and enjoys being part of her patients’ journey through surgery. She believes that having an impact on the high quality care patients receive is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a nurse at JMC.
“Nursing at Jupiter Medical Center is something everybody supports and appreciates here, because of our team’s hard work, dedication and commitment to this community,” she said.
Beth is a member of numerous committees at Jupiter Medical Center, including Surgical Evaluation, Infection Control, Patient Satisfaction and the Nursing Leadership Council. She is currently on a nursing scholarship through JMC pursuing her Master of Science in Nursing.
Colleen Schweithelm, RN, BSN
Colleen Schweithelm, RN, BSN, comes from a family of nurses. “My mother and aunt are both nurses, so this is something I always aspired to be,” she said.
A nurse for the past four years, Colleen has spent the last three years at Jupiter Medical Center as part of the Medical/Surgical team working closely with orthopedic and spine patients. Each day, she provides her patients with the highest quality of care and comfort so they can get back to doing the activities they love. She says, “The best part about being a nurse is meeting new people – and walking into someone’s life every day, knowing you are going to make a difference.”
In addition to the excellent patient care she gives, Colleen also plays a leadership role through her involvement in a number of committees at Jupiter Medical Center, including serving as chair of the Clinical Excellence Steering and Review Committee.
South Broward Community Health Services
Linda Nobile, RN
After 35 years as a nurse, Linda Nobile, RN, still loves and enjoys her job. In fact, the love for her career is what truly defines her.
“The satisfaction of helping my patients and knowing that I made a difference in their lives are my favorite parts of the job,” said Nobile, who received her RN from Miami-Dade Community College.
Nobile joined Memorial Regional Hospital as a nurse in Neurology. In 1995, after losing her father to cardiac disease, she was inspired to work in telemetry at Memorial Hospital West. In 2007, she joined Memorial’s South Broward Community Health Services. In 2012, Nobile became a Care Coordinator, focusing on patient management, health maintenance and disease prevention.
“Our goal is to take care of patients before they become high risk,” she said. “Patient education is a huge part of my job, and I love making a difference.”
Jennifer Reilly-Miller, RN, BSN, CEN
When Jennifer Reilly-Miller was eight years old, her grandfather had a massive stroke and was confined to a bed in a nursing home. At her young age, she helped care for him, and through that experience, she found a love for caring for the sick.
Reilly-Miller has been a nurse with Memorial Healthcare System for the last 16 years. She is a native Floridian and mother of two school-aged boys. Given her expertise in emergency and trauma nursing, she has presented nationally on topics related to emergency room efficiencies and patient flow. She recently joined Memorials’ South Broward Community Health Services leadership team, where she is director of nursing overseeing patient care in five primary care clinics and adult day care.
She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Barry University, where she is also working on completing a Master’s in Healthcare Administration.
St. Mary’s Medical Center
Cyndi Kihei, RN
Cyndi Kihei’s inspiration to pursue a career in children’s nursing came from a little boy with cancer she met during her clinical training. The child’s courage shaped the direction of her career. Her focus is to help children like him on a daily basis. Cyndi has worked on the same floor of the Palm Beach Children’s Hospital at St. Mary’s Medical Center for the last decade and has 13 years of nursing experience. She says the patients are little angels that constantly inspire her. Recently, Cyndi became the clinical care coordinator at the children’s hospital. She educates the staff on children’s diseases and on the drugs used in chemotherapy. Cyndi is also the clinical research associate for patients enrolled in clinical trials for cancer research and works with the Children’s Oncology Group, a National Cancer Institute focusing on youth cancer research. She also raises money for Cure Search, participates in the Light The Night Walk to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and walks in the annual Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure.
Mary Prokop, RN
Mary Prokop, RN, says she left a career as an interior designer after she witnessed the pediatric cancer care her daughter received at Palm Beach Children’s Hospital located on the campus of St. Mary’s Medical Center. Mary’s daughter Kate was diagnosed with leukemia and was treated by pediatric oncologists and specialized nurses. Mary was so touched by the kindness of the nurses who treated Kate, and one in particular, who gave her daughter a teddy bear the day she was diagnosed. The inspiration was life-changing and motivated Mary to go back to school to become an RN. She became a nurse and returned to Palm Beach Children’s Hospital, working in the same hospital and in the same department where her daughter received care. Mary says the choice came full circle when a young girl was found to have a tumor during a scan. Her heart sank, knowing what the family was about to endure. Remembering the nurse who gave Kate a teddy bear, Mary bought a teddy bear for the little girl from the hospital gift shop. She went with that girl to every appointment and became an inspiration to the family. Mary is a chairperson for walks with CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, helping raise over $100,000. She is also a member of the Pediatric Shared Governance Committee and the Pediatric Strategic Committee.
Martin Health System
Yusara Francis, BSN, RNA
There are many examples of using collaboration to nurture a sense of unity and common ground, but fostering the “family atmosphere” is most crucial in the hospital setting, says Yusara Francis, BSN, RNA, and clinical coordinator. A native of Panama, Yusara selected Martin Health System during her clinical rotation and practicum and shortly after worked the night shift for six years.
More recently, Yusara graduated from Martin Health’s six-month Emerging Leaders Program, where she learned skills in career advancement and leadership while participating in community involvement, multi-disciplinary teams and special projects. She was promoted to Clinical Coordinator shortly after. “The [Emerging Leaders] program was the best decision I’ve ever made,” said Yusara. “The program forces you outside of your comfort zone and that’s where career growth takes place. I learned to be ready for opportunity when it comes – perhaps only once in a lifetime. Thanks to the program, I now feel that Martin Health associates are my family and collaboration is the only way to succeed in the hospital atmosphere.”
Carmela Kirk, RN
It’s no secret that technological changes have impacted every facet of the hospital setting, but none more than the emergency department, says Carmela Kirk, RN, Director of Emergency Department at Martin Health System South. During her 26 years as a nurse with roles in site administration and physician relations, Carmela has witnessed the ever-increasing role of technology, but she believes the human element is still the most satisfying and crucial part of successful health care today.
“I think being a nurse today is more challenging ever,” Carmela said. “Today, we point-and-click instead of write, follow CORE measures, and a adhere to a growing list of regulations, but utilizing human resources – through collaboration, education, leadership and goal-setting – is still pivotal to providing top-notch patient care.”
As an avid mountain biker, Carmela believes in challenging herself to improve her leadership skills in nursing. “Looking ahead, establishing a rhythm, balancing, steering, planning for obstacles – I remind myself that these mountain biking qualities contribute to the success of my role as a nursing leader.”
Kendall Regional Medical Center
Kristine Alvarez, RN
Nurses are supposed to heal and help their patients. But very few do so with a global worldview. The nursing profession, in and of itself, is charitable and focused on helping others. Kristy Alvarez has taken that philosophy beyond her duties and has shared her passion and enthusiasm by dedicating countless hours to numerous organizations. Her faith has driven her to help those less fortunate and she has been participating and helping coordinate medical missions to Guatemala, Ecuador and Peru. By participating in these international efforts, she has shared her compassion with so many needy adults and children who have little hope and help in their own countries. Working with the MINDOFUTURES non-profit organization, she has help provide quality field-based medical care, medicines and vitamins free of charge to over 5,000 patients in Ecuador. She has also been involved with Misioneros del Camino, working with many volunteers to serve areas with great medical needs.
Julie Shaw, RN
Julie Shaw has been serving as a Guardian Ad-Litem for over 5 years. She has spent countless hours helping abused, neglected and abandoned children in need of support and representation in the court system. She is involved in Pediatric Medical Case Reviews for the Guardian Ad-Litem program. Clearly, her passion for helping children spills over into her role as a nurse.
Julie has served this Greater Miami community well. She served through 2007 as part of the Medical Squadron 482-D in the Homestead Air Reserve Base, Immunization Clinic, providing immunizations for those deploying abroad. In addition to her commitment to helping her patients, she also provides up and coming students in the medical profession with her insight and experience. She served as a Guest Lecturer at the University of Miami, School of Nursing and focused on identifying and addressing potential child abuse. Her advocacy on behalf of the abuse hotline has surely saved lives.  
Jackson South Community Hospital
Denise Vecin, RN
Denise Vecin, RN, is pleasant, compassionate, and an extremely knowledgeable nurse in peri-anesthesia nursing at Jackson South Community Hospital. Her top priority is to always provide the highest quality care by following evidence-based nursing practices. She is versatile and works in other areas within the service line such as pre-admission testing, gastroenterology and pre-op, and does so with a big smile.
She was elected chair of the Perioperative Unit Practice Council (UPC) for 2013, an indication of collegial respect in her leadership skills. Under her leadership UPC members are developing effective and efficient workflows related to sterile processing, scheduling, pre-admission testing, pre-op, operating room, post-anesthesia care unit and post-op follow up as a whole service line.
She enjoys her time away from work by spending quality time with her two teen-aged children, and other family members. She recently went back to school to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Erwin Sison, RN, BSN
Throughout his tenure as an associate nurse manager, Erwin Sison, RN, BSN, has earned an outstanding reputation as a leader. He leads by example, is highly trusted and regarded by management, peers and staff.
Erwin is always composed and focused on improving the patient’s experience at all times. Patients and families consistently recognize his work and write to management about his caring, kind and empathetic manner. A patient’s family member, who was also a registered nurse, observed in a letter about Erwin, “I will be a better nurse after seeing how he cared for my father, his patient and mother. Erwin’s concern, compassion and love were evident at all times with my father.” As a nurse, Erwin also recognizes the entire family as his patient.
Erwin is passionate about clinical improvement and serves as a Jackson South Community Hospital skin champion.