Nurses Week is celebrated from May 6-12, 2012, and “South Florida Hospital News and Healthcare Report” would like to salute nurses across the U.S. Following are a few of the many nurses we wish to salute this year.
Hospice of Palm Beach County
Carol Stoltz, RN
Carol Stoltz is the personification of a dedicated, compassionate hospice nurse. For more than twenty-three years, she has been fulfilling her “calling” as a Hospice of Palm Beach County nurse in the western Palm Beach County communities bordering Lake Okeechobee. Stoltz lovingly cares for patients of all ages and their family members, providing end-of-life care with the highest possible level of skill and compassion. In the words of hospice physician, James W. Smith Jr. D.O., “Carol exemplifies the hospice heart in so many of the young pediatric hospice patients that she and I worked directly with. She has the love of a grandma, the experience of a lifetime of caring for the sick, and the common sense of doing the right thing for her patients.”
Stephanie Sommer, RN
For Stephanie Sommer, being a Hospice of Palm Beach County nurse is more than a career – it is a gift that offers her more than she could ever give to others. Energized by her job, her work with hospice patients and families nourishes her soul. When she was approached about becoming a hospice nurse, Sommer had an RN, a BS in Health and Human Performance and ten years of experience in medical-surgical nursing in a hospital setting. Since 2003, she has devoted her outstanding skills and expertise to serving Hospice of Palm Beach County patients and families in Boca Raton and Delray Beach. Focused on delivering the best possible care, Sommer feels privileged to work as a hospice nurse. “Every day, what I do is appreciated. The love that I offer flows back to me. I can’t imagine a more satisfying job.”
West Palm Beach VA Medical Center
Reginal (Scott) Saunders, BSN, RN
Reginal (Scott) Saunders, BSN, RN, started his nursing career in 2000, after graduating with an Associate degree and obtaining a Critical Care six-month internship thru Florida Hospital in Orlando. After working in ICU, CCU, Angiography, Interventional Radiology, and Med/Surg, Scott became a traveling nurse for 2 years, which eventually brought him to West Palm Beach (WPB). After being in WPB for 6 months, he started working at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in the PACU setting and also Ambulatory Surgery Department. Continuing his education at Florida Atlantic University, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing in 2010. Recently, he became the Inter-Facility Transfer Care Coordinator and Referral Case Manager for the WPB VA. Saunders has been a strong advocate for the profession of nursing advancement with his active role in Shared Governance and chairing councils that recognize the profession of nursing and promote staffing and recognition.
Avester Mitchell, RN, MSN
Avester Mitchell, RN, MSN, has demonstrated expert nursing practice for the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center since 2006. Avester began her nursing career in 1980 as a nursing assistant in Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York and quickly realized her goals of continuing education. Today, Avester works as the nurse manager of a sixty-bed unit that provides both short term and long term rehab for eligible Veterans. As manager of the Community Living Center south, Ms. Mitchell consistently advocates for lifelong learning and mentors nurses at every level of the profession to ensure the best patient outcomes possible. Avester consistently seeks opportunities for engaging the staff and residents of the Community Living Center such as “Adopt a Vet” program, encouraging staff to volunteer time to engage one resident on a regular basis and develop a lasting relationship with them.
Broward Health North Broward Medical Center
Virginia Ballard, RN, CNOR
Virginia Ballard has been on staff at Broward Health North Broward Medical Center since August 1976, when she started as a certified surgical technologist in the Department of Surgery. In 1980, she was one of the first to receive a North Broward Hospital District nursing scholarship to pursue a registered nurse degree from Broward College.
Ballard was appointed clinical coordinator of the Department of Surgical Services in 2000. Her responsibilities include staff orientation, education and competencies. She has also taught the Peri-Operative Nursing Class (surgical nursing) at Broward College.
Ballard has served on the Hospital/Nursing Recognition and Retention Council and Patient Education Committee. She says the best part of her job is working with wonderful staff members to provide excellent care to patients in their most vulnerable time.
Karen Van Matre, RN
Karen Van Matre has been on staff at Broward Health North Broward Medical Center since 1981 where she started as an LPN on one of the Medical-Surgical floors. She earned her nursing degree from Broward College while working full time and eventually transferred to Intensive Care in 1986.
Van Matre was appointed Assistant Nurse Manager of the Surgical-Trauma ICU in 2006. In that role, her first priority is direct patient care to the critically ill. As the ANM, she also schedules, mentors, coaches and provides education for all nurses in the department as well as management responsibilities.
Van Matre also serves as the chairperson of the Hospital/Nursing Recognition and Retention Council. This council is responsible for planning the functions for National Nurses’ Week and National Hospital Week to recognize the staff for their contributions to exceptional patient care and the Five Star Experience.
When asked, Karen says the best part of her job is giving every patient a five-star experience.
Hospice by the Sea, Inc.
Veronica Williams-Donaldson, LPN
Her willingness to go anywhere-anytime for patients under the care of Hospice by the Sea, Inc. (HBTS) has endeared LPN Veronica Williams-Donaldson to her colleagues and Case Managers alike.
Veronica spent five years as an “On Call Runner” for HBTS; requiring her to be available on nights and weekends to meet the needs of HBTS patients assigned to her team. Currently, she is a member of one of Hospice by the Sea’s Facility Teams, and travels throughout Broward County to tend to patients in the place they call home.
Veronica is recognized as an unflappable team player who adapts easily to the ever-changing needs of patients and families coping with the physical and emotional symptoms associated with life-limiting illnesses. She is well respected for her ability to identify the specific needs of patients during regular assessments and for being proactive about keeping the other members of her team well-informed and updated about each individual.
Linda Putnam, RN
Linda Putnam, RN, has spent the past 22 years focusing on the mission of Hospice by the Sea, Inc.
Linda began her nursing career as an Oncology and Orthopedics nurse in a hospital setting. When she joined HBTS, she provided direct end-of-life patient care in the home setting, participating in clinical on-call duties and taking responsibility for decision-making regarding patient/family care issues on her team.
She worked her way through the ranks from field staff nurse to team manager, admissions director, and in 2005, Senior Director of Clinical Services.
In 2011 Linda was part of the core group responsible for guiding the Hospice by the Sea clinical field staff’s transition from using paper to electronic medical records (EMR). She sees Health IT as part of the redesign of healthcare delivery rather than simply the automation of existing processes.
This ground-breaking transition not only satisfies the multi-disciplinary team’s need for information, but eliminates redundancy and directly facilitates decisions about treatment that improve quality of patient care at every level.
Hialeah Hospital
Elizabeth Canoura, ARNP, MSN
Elizabeth Canoura, ARNP, MSN, says her reasoning for becoming a nurse is simple: she wanted to help others. She feels that her career path at Hialeah Hospital has given her the opportunity to do that with love, compassion and a true respect that she says is granted to people in this field. In her current role at the hospital, Elizabeth is the Stroke Coordinator in addition to being a charge nurse in the step down unit and working in other critical care areas. Her brightest days happen when a patient smiles at her and expresses their gratitude for the wonderful care they received at Hialeah. She says the hospital is very special because she and her co-workers work very hard to understand each patient’s culture and treat them in a way that best meets their needs. When she is not caring for others, Elizabeth can be found with her family going fishing, boating and to baseball games.
Marisol Llamera, RN, BSN
Pretending she was a nurse as a child was Marisol Llamera’s favorite game, so it was no surprise to her family when she chose this noble profession. She works at Hialeah Hospital and has been caring for others for the last 9 years. She notes it is not the easiest job, but is one that she believes is the most rewarding. Marisol says that working at Hialeah is so great for her because of hospital’s mission is strong and her co-workers are very compassionate. She feels that the multi-cultural staff is well equipped to provide care to meet the specific needs of the community.   One of her proudest moments happened when she ran into a former patient she had cared for at a local gym who had been very ill. He had a full recovery and hugged her and asked her to send his thanks back to the team at Hialeah Hospital for giving him his life back. The pride she says she felt that day and everyday is what keeps her motivated and happy.
Jackson Memorial Hospital
Myrlene Denis, RN
Myrlene Denis exemplifies the characteristics of an excellent nurse, delivering compassionate care to her patients each day. As one of the senior nurses in the infusion center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, she is always willing to help her colleagues and goes above and beyond for her patients.
Myrlene is always seeking ways for her patients to feel better and makes it a priority to get to know each of them personally. She always finds time to answer their questions, explain their treatment and offer them information on other resources available to help them during their stay at Jackson.
Passionate about her service and the people whom she cares for, Myrlene has taken it upon herself to encourage staff to donate money to buy non-perishable food items to help feed financially needy patients undergoing long chemotherapy sessions.
Pieta Pelobello, RN
Since becoming a nurse in 2007 and joining the Jackson family, Pieta Pelobello has quickly proven that she is a leader who provides excellent patient care, possesses critical thinking skills and values customer service.
In her role as a charge nurse in the emergency room at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Pieta was chosen to be a part of a committee to develop efficient, cost-effective measures to improve patient flow and customer satisfaction.
She is often used as a preceptor for both new and experienced nurses, taking them under her supervision to ensure that they develop the necessary clinical skills to be successful in the ER environment. She stresses the importance of teamwork and demonstrates it in her day-to-day duties.
West Boca Medical Center
Laurie Gibbons, RN
Helping bring new babies into the world, Laurie Gibbons has been a nurse for 26 years. She is currently the Labor and Delivery Assistant Nurse Manager at West Boca Medical Center. She has an Associate Degree in Nursing and is pursuing a BSN with the intent of completing MSN. She is known by her co-workers for her willingness to go the extra mile and mentors high school students considering a career in healthcare. Coming from a family committed to the healthcare field, it was her mother’s dream for her to become a nurse. She is honored to have headed down this path and says it is a privilege for her to serve every day and to make a difference in the lives of her patients. Laurie says that caring for women who trust her knowledge, experience and confidence really puts the icing on the cake, and that is what matters most to her. Having had her own babies at West Boca Medical Center, she knows first-hand the quality of the care and the excellent service the hospital is providing.
Martine Vedrine, BSN, RN
With 19 years of nursing experience, Martine Vedrine is described by her peers as a team player and role model in the Intensive Care Unit at West Boca Medical Center. She has an Associate’s Degree in Nursing from Broward Community College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Nova Southeastern University. She says that her main reason for becoming a nurse was that she wanted to make a difference in the lives of people who need her. She says nursing is not just a way of life, it is who she is. She has been told by patients that she is a good listener, and she always takes the time to sit next to someone’s bedside to offer them kind words and reassurance. She says nursing at West Boca is very rewarding for her. Her hobbies outside of nursing include involvement with her church, missionary work and spending time with her family.
Homestead Hospital
Carmelita Erice, BSN, RN
Carmelita Erice started working at Homestead Hospital in the Perinatal Unit two months before Hurricane Andrew blew through the facility in 1992, devastating the area. “I called it a jewel way back then, very family-oriented,” Erice said. Almost 20 years later, she still works in Obstetrics in Homestead’s bigger, modern replacement hospital, opened in 2007. Today she’s a patient care supervisor, facilitating care, supporting new nurses and still assisting with labor and delivery when needed. “We’ve grown so much, but the culture is still the same,” Erice said. “It’s one big family. You feel like you belong. People are so friendly and talented and compassionate. It’s easy to communicate.” Baptist Health’s family-friendly employee benefits helped her maintain a healthy work-life balance as she raised her son, now 26. “When I leave for work, I feel like I’m going to my second home,” she said. “I really treasure working for Baptist Health. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.”
Hospice of Broward County
Iris Torres, RN
Since her early childhood in Puerto Rico, Iris Torres knew that she wanted to become a nurse. After receiving her RN, she came to the U.S. in 1996 as a member of the military reserves. On active duty at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, she served in a combat hospital. She later added to that hospital experience as a medical-surgical nurse in orthopedics and neurology. When she became part of the Hospice of Broward County team, Torres fulfilled a long-time “calling” to be a hospice nurse. She finds enormous satisfaction in providing the comfort, compassion and dignity that her patients and their family members need. In addition to relieving physical symptoms, Hospice provides emotional and spiritual support. “We take the time to actively listen and speak with family members, easing anxiety and educating them on what to expect. This is the type of nursing I have always wanted to do.”
Delray Medical Center
Cary Parfitt, RN
Cary Parfitt’s experience in a high school program with a healthcare focus is when he says he knew he wanted to become a nurse. For the last 3 years, he has been caring for patients at Delray Medical Center. Currently holding a BSN degree, he is working on an MBA as well to further his career in the field. He says nursing has been an ideal career field for him because he gets to challenge himself daily.
Being able to work at Delray Medical Center has been a major benefit for him, he says, as he has been able to work with a wide range of patients with many co-morbidities. He feels he works on a very strong team and is proud of the work the hospital does. In general, he says he gets satisfaction from seeing nursing interventions work. He enjoys being able to put what he learned in the classroom into actual practice and see his patients benefit. When he is not inside by the bedside, Carey can be found in the outdoors, hunting, biking, kayaking and doing archery as well.
Yamile Cleter, RN
As a nurse, Yamile Cleter considers herself a caretaker as well as an advocate when caring for patients at their bedside. For the last 6 years, she has played an integral role at Delray Medical Center in the CCU/CVICU where she is the Assistant Nurse Manager. She keeps her clinical skills sharp and works hard to keep the units flowing and to serve as a resource for other nurses on her units. Yamile’s greatest moments happen when she sees the positive impact she has had on the health of a patient and the gratitude expressed by them and their family. She notes that Delray Medical Center is unique, and she feels that the compassion expressed by her co-workers is what makes the difference. When she is not caring for critical patients, you can find Yamile with her family attending her children’s extracurricular activities and supporting them. She also enjoys reading and getting involved with events that help others.
St. Mary’s Medical Center
Lindsey Michel, RN
Caring for babies touches the heart of Lindsey Michel, RN. She has been a NICU nurse at St. Mary’s Medical Center for the last 9 years. She says the joy she feels when a baby goes home healthy is what makes her want to come to work every day. She takes pride in the opportunity to spend time with new parents and educate them on how to best care for the newest addition to their family. She has seen many of Palm Beach County’s sickest preemies return to the hospital years later to visit the staff and express their gratitude. Seeing these children thrive and succeed is just one of the reasons she says she is so passionate about her job. When St. Mary’s opened the pediatric open heart program, Lindsey says that her pride in working at the hospital grew even more. This caregiver is very family oriented and is also involved in missionary work and enjoys any activity that can get her out on the water.
Tami Batteiger, RN
With a 30 year career as a nurse, Tami Batteiger is currently the Director of Education and Staff Development at St. Mary’s Medical Center. She earned her MSN at Georgia Southern University, her BSN from the University of Maryland and her ASN from Anne Arundel Community College. Before moving into education, she worked in many clinical settings including med/surg, ED, OR and community health. She says that working with patients and families is very rewarding, but she changed her career focus to staff development to help strengthen the nursing workforce, and to facilitate lifelong learning and professional development of nurses and other healthcare providers. She says there are so many experienced and talented nurses at St. Mary’s, so the collaboration with these nurses is fabulous for her.
She feels that the most rewarding aspect of nursing is being able to help people at the most vulnerable time of their lives. Tami says that nursing is all about caring, taking the time to listen, and assessing the patient’s condition, which she finds very gratifying. One of her proudest moments at St. Mary’s included working on and developing the hospital’s Nursing Mission Statement.
Good Samaritan Medical Center
Erin Etheridge-Bagley, RN
Passion, and creating a connection, are what brought Erin Etheridge-Bagley to the field of nursing, and ultimately to Good Samaritan Medical Center. As Professional Development Coordinator at the hospital, she currently holds the degrees of ASN, AA, BSN, MS and she is working toward her CNM and possible even her PhD in the field of nursing. Being able to work in the area where she went to school, at Palm Beach Community College and Florida Atlantic University, has allowed her to give back to her local medical community. She has a strong interest in women’s healthcare and education that began when she was in the Air Force and when she became a mother herself. Outside of nursing, Erin says she is actually still studying nursing! Her other joys include spending time with her children and husband, and she has another baby on the way. This obstacle race runner also finds time to speak for the local Life Alliance on pediatric organ donation and facilitates an infant loss peer support group. “I have been able to grow and realize my passions in exciting ways,” Erin says. “I am motivated every day to grow as a nurse as well as to help others achieve their potential in their nursing profession. I feel I am just getting started!”
Patricia Homish, RN, MSN
When she was just 3 years old, Patricia Homish, RN, MSN, told her mother that she wanted to become a nurse and help people. She is doing just that at Good Samaritan Medical Center where she leads the clinical informatics. Her main focus is to develop solutions for the management, organization and processing of health information. She says she planned her life’s journey with the goal of becoming a nurse, and her current role is representative of her commitment, even from a young age, to the health and wellness of others. She is a graduate of Ohio State University, Florida Atlantic University, and University of Phoenix and has now been in the nursing field for 28 years. She says she loves the challenges and the diversity the nursing profession offers. Some of her most memorable working experiences happened when she was working with bedside nurses and ancillary staff to discuss future state workflows during the move towards electronic documentation. She says that every individual brings their own experience, skills, attitude, passion and talents into their work. She always values the uniqueness of each team member and empowers them to work together towards a common goal to streamline patient care. In addition to her love of learning and teaching, Patricia also enjoys music, sports, running and humor!
Baptist Hospital
Raul Striker Jr., RN
Raul Striker Jr. was enjoying success as a Spanish TV and radio sports announcer when a painful abscess and fever overtook him at a Miami Dolphins game. He went to the Doctors Hospital ER for treatment and returned for follow-up two days later, even sicker. Diagnosed with a MRSA superbug infection, Striker was going to leave the ER rather than be admitted to the hospital, because he didn’t have health insurance. But ER nurse Roger Torres, R.N., insisted he needed to stay. “He made me feel at ease, told me there were payment options and that my health was more important,” recalled Striker, who was convinced to stay. The encounter was so profound that Striker, once interested in pre-med, decided to go to nursing school. “My experience with all the Doctors nurses was spectacular,” he said. He became a Baptist Health Nurse Scholar. When he was a student nurse in the Doctors ER, Torres aptly served as his preceptor. In the summer 2011, Striker joined the 12th cohort of Versant RN residents and now works on the neurology floor at Baptist Hospital. He says the Versant residency offers important support and guidance for new nurses. “Baptist Health gives you so many tools. You want to grow with the company.” He’s still a sportscaster for the Dolphins and Florida Marlins, but plans to advance in the nursing field, possibly as a nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist. “I feel like I’m a part of something important,” he said, “something special.”
West Kendall Baptist Hospital
Rosalina Butao, MSN, RN
Rosalina Butao knew as a child that she wanted a career helping others. That career turned out to be nursing, a profession that has given her continuing challenges and meaningful opportunities for 26 years. As a bedside nurse, she tried to make a difference. “Excellent care, comfort, reassurance, trust and a prayer are some of the greatest treasures that a nurse can offer,” Butao said. She also worked in management and taught nursing students during her 17 years at South Miami Hospital. In 2009, she earned a master’s degree as a Nurse Scholar and was tapped as a Fellow in Baptist Health’s Evidence-based Practice Fellowship Program for nurses. Her newest challenge is as manager of evidence-based practice at West Kendall Baptist Hospital, where she is “so excited, together with my awesome team, to carry the torch of excellent outcomes.” She is the mother of two teenage sons and committed to serving her church, where her husband is the pastor. “My passion and purpose for helping only grows stronger,” she said.
Doctors Hospital
Duxson Michel, RN
Duxson Michel seized his future in 2005, the moment he stepped into the ER at Doctors Hospital as a nursing student. “I walked through that door and said, ‘This is the place I want to work.’ ” ER leaders sensed Michel’s energy, enthusiasm and empathy, and he was hired as a tech while he finished his studies. A self-described “people person” Michel served in the military four years and now works full time in the ER. “I love what I do every day,” said Michel, one of the first Doctors employees to be honored with a Nurse Angel Pin and Figurine for service excellence. “People who walk in are not just a number here, and that’s the Baptist Way,” he said. “I know it’s my duty to provide the best care possible. I will treat them like they are a family member, or a friend.”
Mariners Hospital
Sue Childress, RN, CCRN
A few years ago, veteran ICU nurse Sue Childress quietly started studying. At age 66, she wanted to get re-certified as a critical care nurse, a credential she had first earned three decades earlier. Her certification had lapsed when she and her husband started spending most of their time sailing in the Caribbean. “There is a lot more involved in the CCRN now — many new technology areas — and Mariners is a small hospital where we don’t do a lot of invasive procedures.” She passed the test in May 2009 and began encouraging her colleagues to get certified. “I learned so much in this review, and a lot of it has helped me take care of patients,” said Childress, who worked at Doctors Hospital for eight years before moving to Mariners in 2001. “Even though I don’t have my bachelor’s, I am all for nurses being bachelor’s-prepared at least. As we become more educated, we give better care to the patients and get more respect. It just lifts the profession.” Her “lifelong passion” will persist: “Even if I retire, I plan on doing nursing work.”
South Miami Hospital
Hope Powell, BSHA, RN
Hope Powell has cared for patients in the ICU and recovery room. She has managed the med/surg floor and worked as a coronary care clinician. Even after 25 years at South Miami Hospital, she is still eager to learn more. Soon, she will pursue her MSN as a Nurse Scholar. “I’m in leadership,” said Powell, nurse manager for quality indicators, “and I’m trying to advance my career.”Powell grew up in Jamaica and went to nursing school at the urging of her father. She has experience at and agencies in New York and Florida, but the bulk of her career has been at South Miami. “I’ve been around town — this is the best place to be, in my opinion. It’s like a family the way people treat each other here.” When she was raising her daughter as a single mom, she especially appreciated the flexible schedule. “Patient care is the priority but there’s a good work-life balance.”
Baptist Hospital
Yaribey Lopez, BSN, RN
When Yaribey Lopez was 9, some kind-hearted nurses whisked her from the waiting area to visit her older sister, who was recovering from surgery. “Fascinated” with the bustling hospital scene, the little girl already knew that nursing would be her career choice. In college, she envisioned herself as a flight nurse or in the big-city ER. But in her final semester, her mother was diagnosed with cancer. “My mom was my first patient.” In 2001, Lopez started her first nursing job, on Baptist Hospital’s Oncology Unit. “I just was placed there — I guess by God. I figured, if I can take care of my mother, I can empathize with the families and patients. I feel comfortable with the death and dying part. You see all the stages here.” As a clinical supervisor, Lopez now coaches other cancer nurses, but still enjoys doing patient rounds. The mother of two plans to return to school one day for her master’s degree. But for now, the cancer floor “is a great place to work, a place where you’re always learning and you’re always growing. This is home for me.”
Baptist Health
Marlly Cadavid, MBA, MSN, RN
For Marlly Cadavid, nursing has been one profession, many careers. In her 11 years at Baptist Health, Cadavid has worked as a direct patient care nurse, a nurse educator, a nurse administrator and talent manager. She began at Baptist Hospital in 2001 as a critical care nurse working with coronary patients. She was drawn to the hospital by her experiences as an Army medic. “In the military, I saw the impact nurses made on their patients and the autonomous role they played
in their care,” she said. After earning dual master’s degrees in business and nursing, she became a nurse educator. Today, Cadavid directs nursing workforce development and is overseeing the creation of the Centralized Staffing Center — an initiative to make staffing safer and more efficient for Baptist Health hospitals. She is also a Nurse Scholar Ph.D. student and teaches at Barry University. “What I do is not what people see as the typical role of the nurse,” she said. “I have had a diversity of experiences and have been given the opportunity to learn and grow within Baptist Health.”
Memorial Hospital Miramar
Jacqueline Zayas, RN
After being inspired by a patient while visiting a family member in the hospital, Jacqueline Zayas, RN, knew that she would eventually be a nurse. Her career in nursing started off humbly, volunteering as a candy striper, working as a home health aide at 17, and eventually as a Unit Secretary within Memorial Healthcare System, while she went to nursing school.
Her interpersonal skills were quickly apparent, propelling her into multiple leadership roles. She is now the Nurse Manager of the Observation Unit, which under her direction has become the model throughout the Memorial Healthcare system.
“Jacqueline has garnered the respect and admiration of her peers and the medical staff, where there is a high level of partnership,” said Grisel Fernadez-Bravo, chief nursing officer, Memorial Hospital Miramar. “As a leader, she takes no credit herself, but gives it to her staff and the physicians for the accomplishments thus far.”
Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital
Cherrylene Alabastro, RN
When Cherry Alabastro was a young girl in the Philippines, she was sure she wanted to be either a teacher or a nurse when she grew up. Today, as a nurse clinician, she finds her work always exciting, never boring – the best job ever, according to the energetic woman.
“I love the challenge of treating really sick kids,” explained Alabastro, who has been a nurse at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital for seven years. “When I see the progress they can make under our care, it’s very gratifying to know we helped them get there.”
As far as teaching goes, Cherry spends a great deal of time educating patients and their parents about their conditions. In addition, she is now overseeing 12 recent nursing graduates and administering the hospital’s Pediatric Critical Care course.
“Cherry is the epitome of clinical excellence,” said Bella Cabrera, chief nursing officer, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. “She puts her heart into all that she does as a nurse, teacher and mentor. She is simply an inspiration!”
Memorial Regional Hospital
Chad Kaiser, RN, BSN
Chad Kaiser feels he is making a difference every day when he comes to work as a member of Memorial Regional Hospital’s five-person Rapid Response team. The stats show he’s right. The hospital’s mortality rate has dropped significantly since the team was established six years ago,
Kaiser’s 22 years of varied nursing experience has prepared him well for the wide range of clinical situations he sees when answering Rapid Response calls within the hospital.
“We help prevent patients from getting to a point of no return,” explained Kaiser. Since he covers the entire inpatient and outpatient areas, it’s not unusual for him to talk to every nurse and clinical manager on duty in any given day.
“Chad’s caring demeanor and calm confident approach to patient problems, along with his clinical expertise, has earned him more accolades from staff than anyone I can ever remember,” said Chris Boothe, Director of Nursing, Critical Care Services. “He is super effective in his role.”
Memorial Regional Hospital South
Melissa Ramkissoon, RN
Having a loved one in the hospital can be a scary thing for patients’ family members. Melissa Ramkissoon, RN, has made it her mission to ease the pain for both her patients and their families. Working with traumatic brain injury patients at Memorial Regional Hospital South’s Rehabilitation Institute of South Florida, Ramkissoon handles some very challenging cases.
“We’re the last stop before these patients go home,” explained Ramkissoon, who has been a nurse for nine years. “When they leave here, they have to be prepared to care of themselves as much as possible. It’s my job to teach them.”
She recalls a young patient who was recovering from a car accident. “It was so rewarding to see him progress and actually walk out of the hospital,” said Ramkissoon, who worked as a rehab technician while attending nursing school.
Ramkissoon is now pursuing a master’s degree in nursing with the hope that she’ll be “the best possible nurse for her patients.”
Memorial Hospital Pembroke
Marilyn Edee, RN
After just three years as a nurse at Memorial Hospital Pembroke, Marilyn Edee, RN, demonstrates all the qualities you’d like to see in a nurse. In fact, her supervisors in Telemetry say that she frequently receives compliments from both patients and physicians.
“Marilyn does an excellent job of articulating what’s right for her patients,” explained Elizabeth Robinson, Nurse Manager, Telemetry. “Her plans of care make her an ideal physician advisor.”
What’s Edee’s secret? ‘I’m a very organized person,” she said. “That makes it possible for me to take better care of my patients.”
Edee has now taken on additional responsibilities – precepting new nurses, leading CHF education, filling in as a relief charge nurse and, in her spare time, working on her BSN degree.
Whatever she takes on, Edee is very self motivated. She emphasized, “I’m only satisfied if I put out my best possible effort at everything I do.”
Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center
Beth Cotromano, RN
Beth Cotromano, RN, has been caring for patients in the cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation department for 16 years at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center. She is currently the assistant nurse manager of the unit. She is a graduate of Palm Beach Community College, where she earned her ASN. In her role, she rotates between the inpatient and outpatient cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation departments. She is very involved with patient and community education, including outreach relating to heart failure. Her philosophy of patient care is simply that she believes it is a privilege to take care of patients and their families at such a critical time in their lives. She has dedicated her career to Palm Beach Gardens because of her co-workers. She says the close friendships she has developed have made the hospital her home away from home. In her free time, you can find Beth spending time with her husband and her 3 children.
Keri Taylor, RN, BSN
Crediting her wonderful experience working at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center when she was in high school, Keri Taylor, RN, BSN says that was what lead her to seek a nursing career at the hospital. 23 years later, she still works at Palm Beach Gardens in the Quality Department as the Chest Pain and Stroke Coordinator. She attended Palm Beach State College where she got her Associate Degree in Nursing and then Florida Atlantic University where she attained her BSN. She says she chose a nursing career so she could help people in a variety of ways: physically, emotionally and through education. Her best days happen when she sees the positive impact her care has had on a person and their family. She notes the emphasis on teamwork at the hospital and that is something that makes her smile at the end of the day. Keri says that every day is a special day for her as a nurse because she knows she is making a difference in the lives of patients each and every time she cares for them. Her other interests include shopping, travelling, photography, reading and spending time with her family and friends, especially her two children!
St. John’s Nursing Center
Dawn Elliot, RN
Lorraine Anderson, RN
These are individuals we can always count on. They handle a multitude of daily duties that would scare the toughest among us. Though some days may be frustrating they are always there to do the right thing.
Two individuals that deserve a high 5 for all they do. Thank you on behalf of St. John’s staff and residents.
St. Anne’s Nursing Center
Maria Ravelo, CNA
Maria Ravelo, CNA, has been employed at St. Anne’s Nursing Center for more than five years. She is extremely hard working and dedicated. She is always willing to go the extra mile to assist patients and co workers. Maria communicates with a warm and positive attitude to family members especially when they are having difficulties dealing with health decline of a patient. Ravelo is an integral and vital part of our team at St. Anne’s.
Deborah Oporto, LPN
Deborah Oporto, LPN, began work at St Anne’s in February of 2011 and very early on exhibited the potential to be a very prudent and conscientious nurse. The efficient manner in which she approached her work highlighted her abilities.
Deborah has made a difference in the lives and the quality of care that is provided to the residents of St Anne’s. The genuine compassion she feels for those ailing and the dignity with which she treats every patient is consistently in line with the mission and values of CHS and the care we, as an organization are committed to giving to each of our residents.
Villa Maria Nursing Center
Jennifer Marcelin, LPN
When Jennifer was employed in February 2011, she immediately exhibited a great interest in caring for the resident. She is extremely patient, understanding and sensitive to the needs of the residents and family members. Jennifer is never too busy to train new nurses. Her interest in learning is being fostered by cross training her to be a relief charge nurse on her unit. The family members and her residents speak highly of the care she renders. Jennifer is a great asset to Villa Maria Nursing Center.
Jean Detant, RN
Jean Detant started his career with CHS in 2007 at St. Anne’s Nursing Center. He was later transferred to Villa Maria East in 2009. He worked as a floor nurse on the 11-7 shift. In 2010 Detant obtained his Licensure as a Registered Nurse, and he was transferred to the 3-11 shifts as a charge nurse. He exhibited good leadership skills. Detant was later cross trained as a relief supervisor, and he functions in a dual role as charge nurse/supervisor. Detant has been noted to be a great problem solver. His supervisor raves about his customer services skills.
St. Anthony’s Rehabilitation Hospital
Rock Pierre, RN, BSN, CRRN
Rock Pierre joined the St. Anthony’s Rehabilitation Hospital team in June 2008 as the acting Director of Nursing and was later appointed Director of Nursing for the facility.
Rock earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from South University. He also earned a specialized certificate as a Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN) and is currently pursuing graduate degree and certification in infection control. Rock is an active member of the local chapter of Association of Rehabilitation Nurses, Broward Association of Rehabilitation Nurses (BARN) and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control & Epidemiology (APIC).
Rock enjoys living in Hollywood, Florida with his wife and three daughters. His hobbies include going to the gym, travelling, along with various outdoor and sporting activities. Rock is from Canada and speaks fluent French and Creole. Rock’s philosophy is to be respectful and appreciative of all. He also understands that without hard work and determination he would not be where he is today.
Felissia Beauburn, RN
Felissia Beauburn has been with CHS since August of 2000. After a few years of working in the field she made a decision to further her education and received her licensure as a Practical Nurse. Since then she has completed her Associates in Nursing and is now currently pursuing her certification as a CRRN.
Felissia participates in the interdisciplinary team conferences and other team meetings and offers input into team decision making. She acts as a role model and preceptor to new graduates and employees. She is an advocate for her patients and their families’ actively listens, reflects, and guides clients and their families through the stages of the grieving process.
She lives in Lauderhill, Florida with her husband and two sons. She has a strong moral compass and positive work ethic. Her hobbies include travelling and going to church. Her life philosophy is to “Live for the Lord our God”. When asked what makes her such a great nurse, she replied “I love what I’m doing”.
St. Catherine’s West Rehabilitation Hospital
Erika Betancourt, RN
Erika Betancourt is dedicated to meeting the need of all her patients and their families as a rehabilitation charge nurse at St. Catherine’s West Rehabilitation Hospital. She has been recognized by her team members as being an excellent team player with a caring heart. Erika has worked very hard as a member of the performance improvement team, to ensure that our patients continue to have the best outcomes. Erika is working towards her certification in rehabilitation nursing.
Custodio Cid, LPN
Custodio Cid has been recognized by his peers as being an excellent team player that continues to goes above and beyond to see that the needs of his patients are met. He is not only dedicated to meeting the needs of the patients and family, but truly cares about the well being of his co-workers. Cid continues to grow in his role as a nurse and is currently working towards obtaining his RN.
St. Catherine’s Rehabilitation Hospital
Treasta Williams-Hill, LPN
Treasta Williams-Hill has been recognized by all members of the team as being an excellent nurse and team leader. She has developed a great working relationship with the physicians and goes above and beyond to ensure that all of the needs of the patients as well as the organization are met. Treasta has been identified by her patients and their families as hard working, dedicated and compassionate. She is currently working on obtaining her RN. Treasta continues to be an excellent representation of the St. Catherine’s team to the community.
Amparo Ricketts, RN
Amparo Rickets has grown in the past few years as a charge nurse with St. Catherine’s Rehabilitation Hospital. She is a team player that has gone above and beyond to assist and problem solve as needed. Amparo provides excellent rehabilitation nursing in an encouraging and supportive way. Her patients and their families continue express their thanks for her hard work. Amparo is working towards her BSN, as well as obtaining her certification in rehabilitation nursing.
Catholic Home Health Services of Broward
Josette Purkiss, LPN
Josette Purkiss shows genuine concern for our patients, provides outstanding patient care and promotes excellence in customer service on a daily basis. She makes a positive difference in the lives of the many patients that she serves.
Jennifer Jean Baptiste, RN
Jennifer Jean Baptiste is a true competent professional who continually demonstrates excellent patient care and outstanding customer service skills. Jennifer exemplifies excellence in her day to day interactions with her patients, co-workers and referral sources. She is an asset to the agency.
Catholic Home Health Services of Miami-Dade
Evelyn Charles, RN
Evelyn Charles is a dedicated nurse who exemplifies excellence in customer services and appreciated her patients, caregivers and co-workers. She consistently displays positive attitude and delivers care with compassion and with the utmost respect for the patient’s dignity.
Teolinda Christian, RN
Teolinda Christian has been a member of the Catholic Home Health team for 17 years. She is committed to meeting and exceeding the needs of our patients, and to the delivery of the highest quality care that is reflective of the mission of our organization. Teolinda is an exemplary nurse and a great team-player who is always willing to overextend herself at a moment’s notice in order to achieve the best outcomes for our patients and our agency. She is an integral part of our caregiving team.
North Shore Medical Center
George Uwadia, RN
George Uwadia says he wanted to become a nurse because of the nobility of the profession. For the last 11 years, he has gone to work every day at North Shore Medical Center with caring in his heart and the goal of helping patients get better. George attended the University of Nigeria and Miami-Dade College where he earned an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. He also has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. He feels his role in the care of his patients is sacred, and the collaboration and teamwork of the staff at North Shore makes the patient experience so wonderful. “Nursing will change you,” he says. “It will make you stronger and more compassionate than you thought possible.” He always takes the time to help his patients emotionally as well as physically and their recovery is his reward. When he is not by the bedside, you can find George reading or spending time with his family.
Narendra Singh, RN
 The motivation to work in the healthcare field was always in Narendra Singh. This North Shore Medical Center nurse says he always wanted to become an ICU nurse so he could help people during a critical time in their lives. Working on the front line of patient care means so much to him, and his career is something that he says he loves and is proud of. His experience at North Shore over the last 5 years has allowed him to develop his professional skills and grow personally. He has been promoted to the role of charge nurse and preceptor. “To me, nursing is more than a job, or even a career. It’s an adventure, a continuous learning process, and one I embark on every day in search of life changing events and miracles,” Narendra says. He describes himself as an adventurous person in general, noting he enjoys water sports and spending time with friends.
United HomeCare
Kristina Ramos Jacomino, RN, BSN, CCP
Kristina Ramos Jacomino, RN, is director of nursing and professional services at United HomeCare.
Jacomino leads a large staff of field and administrative personnel, including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants. She oversees care plans and ensures compliance with industry standards. She also contributes her expertise as a certified Chronic Care Professional to UHC’s Disease Management and Transitions of Care programs.
In addition, Jacomino participates in quality improvement initiatives and research programs impacting patient care. She currently directs United HomeCare’s participation in Depression CarePATH, a national research initiative developed by Weill Cornell Medical College to identify depression among home health clients and compare outcomes of those who receive intervention with those who do not.
Jacomino earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Miami.
Vanessa Ruiz, RN, CCP
Vanessa Ruiz, RN, is a home health nurse manager at United HomeCare, one of the largest home health agencies in South Florida. She helps supervise more than 600 home health aides and certified nursing assistants that provide care for over 4,500 elderly and disabled adults across Miami-Dade County.
An exceptional trainer, Ruiz coordinates and facilitates educational programs to ensure staff competencies and compliance with certifications and licensures. Most recently, she helped establish an innovative Yoga Therapy training program for UHC home health aides, to promote the health and well-being of agency clients.
As a certified Chronic Care Professional, Ruiz is also part of the agency’s Disease Management Program, educating patients and caregivers on diabetes management and other chronic illnesses.
Ruiz earned an Associates of Science in Nursing from Miami Dade College and is currently pursuing a BSN-MSN in Health Systems Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.