South Florida Hospital News
Sunday June 13, 2021

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May 2013 - Volume 9 - Issue 11

Nurse Profiles

Nurses Week is celebrated from May 6-12, 2013, and “South Florida Hospital News and Healthcare Report” would like to salute nurses across the U.S. The following nurses are a few of South Florida’s best!
Broward Health Medical Center
Patricia Partridge, RNC, BSN
For over 39 years, Assistant Nurse Manager, Patricia Partridge has worked at Broward Health Medical Center in Labor and Delivery/OBRR. Patricia Partridge is an extraordinary person who epitomizes nursing at its best. She is highly skilled, compassionate, a sound critical thinker, a collaborator, and consistently displays the highest ethical standards. She serves as the ultimate patient advocate. She is able to establish a level of trust and cooperation with her patients. All of this is done with a level of unassuming confidence and dedication on the part of her.
One of her major accomplishments has been her noted participation with physicians, staff, and patients in collaboration with the March of Dimes to help eliminate elective, non-medically necessary, early deliveries.
Patricia is a member of her Nursing National Organization known as Association of Women’s Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) with the mission for promoting the health of women and newborns. She also has received her National Certification with NCC in Inpatient Obstetric Nursing. Finally, she is a member of Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies as part of the fetal infant mortality review team.
Broward Health Medical Center
Marcia Langrin, RN
Marcia Langrin has been an RN at Broward Health Medical Center since 2006 on our Neurology/Stroke unit. Marcia received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a Minor in Marketing from Jamaica College of Arts, Science and Technology. Her career began in the hotel industry but having a passion for caring for others, she pursued a career nursing and graduated from Broward College.
Marcia’s nursing career began as a staff nurse on then Neurology/Stroke unit. After six years of dedicated nursing on 5NT, Marcia’s leadership skills were recognized and she was promoted to Assistant Nurse Manager. As Marcia’s unit merged with another, her leadership skills continued to flourish. Through her compassion for patient care and the staff that she supports, Marcia has been successful in building a single, high functioning team from two separate units. Marcia has been recognized by the staff she leads for providing dedication, compassion and world-class quality care.
Broward Health North
Asha Mathew, RN, CNOR
Asha Mathew has been on staff at Broward Health North since 1992, when she was hired as a registered nurse in surgical services.
She became a certified nurse in the operating room in 1995 and was appointed to assistant nurse manager (ANM) of surgical services in 2011. In her current role, her first priority is overseeing staff and scheduling the operating rooms. In addition, she schedules, mentors, coaches and provides education for all nurses in the department as well as performs various management responsibilities. Her department consists of nurses, surgical techs, anesthesia techs, patient care attendants, processing service techs and support services associates.
She earned her bachelor of nursing degree from the College of Nursing in Hyderabad, India in 1986 where she was named the best outstanding student by the governor of the state. She came to the United States in 1989, passed her nursing board exam and earned her way on to the open-heart team at Washington Adventist Hospital in Maryland.
When asked, Asha says the best part of her job is making sure all surgeries start on time and always having a trauma room available.
Marilyn Watkins, RN, CCRN
Marilyn Watkins is the nurse manager of the surgical intensive care unit (SICU), the medical intensive care unit (MICU) and the coronary care unit at Broward Health North.
She oversees staff and ensures patients and families receive high quality care. In addition, she schedules, mentors, coaches and provides education for all nurses in the department, and performs various management responsibilities. She is also the district course coordinator and has served as the instructor for Trauma Nurse Core Course for the past 18 years.
She was hired in May 1979 as a registered nurse on the medical surgical infectious disease floor. She moved from the medical surgical floor to the intensive care unit in 1982 and served as assistant nurse manager of SICU and MICU from 1988 to 2001, when she became the nurse manager.
Watkins earned her diploma from Jackson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Miami in 1979.
According to Watkins, the best part of her job is taking care of patients and their needs.
VITAS Innovative Hospice Care of Broward County
Deborah Pennington, RN
Debby Pennington became a nurse 38 years ago out of a desire to help people. After spending more than two decades as a cardiac nurse at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami, she turned to hospice nursing. She joined VITAS Innovative Hospice Care of Broward County in 2001, where she’s part of a team of hospice experts who care for patients in their homes and in assisted living communities.
“I came to VITAS because, after 23 years of hospital nursing, I wanted to work in a more patient-centered environment by working closely with patients and families,” she says.
For Pennington, the most rewarding aspects of hospice nursing are the team approach and the focus of putting patients first.
“Spending time with patients, getting to know them and their families, and really caring for them at this important time in their lives is what nursing is all about.”
Robin Wackerling, RN, BSN, CHPN
People are drawn to hospice nursing for different reasons such as having a desire to spend more time with patients at the end of life. For Robin Wackerling, experiencing hospice through the tragic loss of a precious loved one brought about a career – and life – change.
Wackerling’s daughter, Amanda Amelia Wackerling, died of cancer in 1981 just two days after her second birthday. As Wackerling and her family grieved, she also knew she had found a calling.
“Watching the nurses care for my daughter with such compassion and tenderness touched me in many different ways,” she says. “It was clearly evident that these nurses made a difference. I knew then that I was meant to be a hospice nurse.”
Wackerling joined VITAS Innovative Hospice Care of Broward County in 1998 and is currently VITAS’ senior resource nurse at North Shore Medical Center’s Fort Lauderdale campus.
“Helping our patients and their families is an honor and never ceases to touch my heart,” she says.
VITAS Innovative Hospice Care of Miami-Dade/Monroe
Lisa Stein, RN
In her first career as a teacher, Lisa Stein advocated for her students. When she changed careers to nursing 35 years ago, she shifted her focus from teacher and advocate of students to teacher and advocate of patients. That shift made her a natural as a hospice nurse, says Lazaro Cuervo, RN, team manager of the VITAS Innovative Hospice Care inpatient hospice unit (IPU) at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center. Lisa has worked for VITAS in its Miami-Dade/Monroe program for 29 years at the Aventura IPU.
“In all of her years at VITAS, Lisa has excelled as a mentor while maintaining her focus on her vocation - that of a true patient advocate,” says Cuervo. “Lisa exemplifies the qualities of a natural leader; she leads by example. Her nursing practice is guided by integrity, honesty and compassion. She is experienced, knowledgeable, professional, empathetic and an extraordinary patient advocate who truly makes a positive difference!”
Maggy Cessant, RN
Like many children, Maggy Cessant played “nurse” as a child, bandaging her dolls’ injuries and soothing their pain and fears. She turned her childhood fantasy into reality by earning an LPN in 1984 and an RN in 1998. She worked as an ER/Surgical nurse in several South Florida hospitals until 2002. It was then, after witnessing the care provided by VITAS Innovative Hospice Care to her terminally ill father, Cessant joined VITAS of Miami-Dade/Monroe as a home care nurse.
Her childhood passion of caring for others has carried through to her care of patients – to their great benefit, says Cessant’s VITAS Team Manager Bernadette Saunders-Diaz, RN, MSN.
“Patients describe Maggie as ‘soothing’ and appreciate her gentle touch,” says Saunders-Diaz. “What makes her stand out is her ability to make each patient feel that they are the only one in her care.”
Memorial Regional Hospital South
Ariahn Harris, RN
In 13 years with Memorial Healthcare System, Ariahn Harris, RN, has steadily progressed from her first job as a transporter, to PCA, then ER nurse and now to Clinical Manager for Pre-Op, PACU and Outpatient Services at Memorial Regional Hospital South. Finely-honed nursing skills - along with a positive attitude - have served her well through these roles.
No matter what the day brings, Harris encourages her nurses to focus on the positive, too. “The words ‘I can’t’ and ‘no’ are not in our vocabulary,” she explained. “Whether patients are here breast cancer treatment or are coming out of surgery, we welcome them on a positive note. There’s no place for negativity here.”
She added, “We’re like a close-knit family,” she said. “The level of teamwork is amazing. It makes our work so much easier.”
Harris also credits her success to having a strong passion for nursing as well as being blessed with a supportive husband.
Hazel Selorio, ED, RN
The unpredictability and pace of the Emergency Department might scare away some nurses but Hazel Selorio, ED, RN, has made a career of it. She sees it as the hospital’s “first window” into a sick or injured patient.
“As an ED nurse, I have the opportunity to look into that window and really help the patient,” explained Selorio, who completed nursing school in the Philippines in 1993. She appreciates the variety of cases she sees as well the challenge of helping people of all ages.
To be successful as an ED nurse, Selorio feels you need a combination of aggressiveness in treating patients and gentleness in the midst of chaos. “It’s so important that the nursing team coordinates well with each other, too,” she said. “That’s the only way to give our patients the best possible care.”
What’s the best thing about being a nurse? Selorio said, “After 20 years, I still learn something new every day.”
Memorial Regional Hospital
Elizabeth Reed, BSN, RN
In the 25 years since Elizabeth (Lisa) Reed, BSN, RN, has been with Memorial Regional Hospital, she has taken on multiple nursing roles, including staff nurse, nurse educator, nurse manager of the Intensive Care Unit, director of nursing and, most recently, as leader of the hospital’s first Intermediate Care Unit.
“Lisa is a knowledgeable and astute clinician as well as a warm, empathetic leader,” said Maggie Hansen, Chief Nursing Officer, MRH. “She leads by motivating, educating and challenging staff to aspire to her vision for best practice nursing in a caring, patient and family-centered environment.”
Reed also serves as clinical liaison for the hospital’s Patient and Family Centered Care Council and has spearheaded efforts to provide world-class end of life and palliative care. According to Hansen, “Colleagues, patients and families often recognize Lisa for the special attention she pays to details. We are fortunate to have her here.”
Brittany Amato, RN
Ever since Brittany Amato, RN, started her career six years ago as a Telemetry nurse tech at Memorial Regional Hospital, “matters of the heart” have been important to her. Then, as an ICU Charge Nurse, she handled the minute-to-minute needs of extremely critical patients and served on the hospital’s Rapid Response Team.
Amato was recently promoted to Clinical Manager of the Heart Surgical Unit, overseeing the care of patients in the post surgical and Step Down units. One of Amato’s supervisors credits her personable but confident demeanor for her ability to cope with tough situations.         
“I try to make a one-to-one connection with my patients to really understand their needs,” explained Amato, who admits she always wanted to work in “open heart” nursing.
This summer, the hospital will start performing heart transplants so managing these patients after surgery will be Amato’s newest challenge. She added, “I feel lucky to work in such a great place where I can make a difference.”
Memorial Hospital West
Maureen Laighold, RN IV
When Memorial Hospital West opened its doors in 1992, Maureen Laighold, RN IV, brought her 18 years of experience as an LPN and her natural leadership qualities to help create its Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
A lot has changed at the hospital since that time, but one thing stays the same - Laighold’s heartfelt dedication to the hospital’s tiniest patients and their families. For example, she initiated Memorial Hospital West’s NICU Reunion Picnic and has organized several since then. She also created and maintains scrapbooks of NICU grads to serve as inspiration for the families of new admissions. When her grandson spent a short stint in the NICU after he was born, it confirmed for her the importance of family centered care.
Today, Laighold continues to use her experience and education as an RN to contribute to the department’s development, and often takes charge of the unit when needed.
Cereta Roberts, RN
Cereta Roberts, RN, began her relationship with Memorial Healthcare System as a promising student with a hospital scholarship for nursing. While in school, she worked as a monitor tech at Memorial Hospital Pembroke. She later graduated from Broward College and began working in the stroke unit at Memorial Hospital West.
She follows in the footsteps of her mother, also a nurse, and is extremely eager to expand her career through future continued education and responsibility. She is particularly interested in how holistic medicine may play a bigger role in preventative medicine. Her passion is evident as she describes the future of healthcare from her nursing perspective and the care she provides to her patients.
“As nurses we are pulled in many different directions, but my patients would never know it,” she said. “When I am in the room, my undivided attention is with them. I only want to provide the best care they could possibly receive.”
Memorial Hospital Miramar
Raisa Lorzeille, RN
Raisa Lorzeille, RN, who works in the medical and surgical unit at Memorial Hospital Miramar, knows the challenges of being a healthcare provider and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
As a military spouse to a U.S. Navy Reservist, she has seen her husband deployed twice to the Middle East in the last five years. On his second trip to Afghanistan, she was raising a toddler and a newborn while also tending to her career as a nurse. In the two years she has been on staff at MHM, she credits her strong faith for helping her through the deployments. She also credits her supportive management team for allowing her the flexibility to spend time with her husband and family as they try to accommodate the demands of civilian and military life.
Lorzeille was born and raised in Cuba and attended nursing school in Boston.
Carlene Whyte-McNee, MSN
Carlene Whyte-McNee, MSN, balances community service and her nursing career with the same passion and dedication she shows at the bedside. Once a week, Whyte-McNee spends an hour on public radio discussing topics related to women’s health and disease prevention. But at Memorial Hospital Miramar, Whyte-McNee, an avid learner currently pursuing a doctorate in nursing, prefers to remain close to the bedside.
Whyte-McNee has been a nurse at Memorial Hospital Miramar, since it opened in 2005. During her tenure, she has been recognized for her talents and expertise, recently receiving a promotion to clinical manager. In 2012, she was awarded Nurse of the Year for her unit. A native of Jamaica, she has also traveled the world, where she has worked in Israel as a pediatric nurse and a neonatal intensive care nurse in Toronto, Canada. She received her MSN from Florida International University in 2008.
Miami Children’s Hospital
Crystal Rivera, RN
Crystal Rivera began her career as a care assistant on 3 North, the Hematology/Oncology unit at Miami Children’s Hospital (MCH). She pursued professional advancement and became an RN, committing herself to the role and to the advancement of others. Crystal has truly demonstrated her passion and commitment to the nursing profession. While at MCH, Crystal has demonstrated exemplary leadership, advocacy and resource utilization in order to meet the unique needs of the patients and families she has served. She is an example of the structural empowerment afforded to nurses at MCH, as exhibited by the nursing leadership team's steadfast encouragement and support for employees in continuously advancing their professional development. Crystal has also used exemplary leadership skills while training future nurses. She not only teaches basic nursing skills, but also the value of teamwork, how to help other colleagues and the importance of patient safety.
Jill Tahmooressi, RN-BC, MBA, BSN, NCSN
Jill Tahmooressi began her career with Miami Children’s Hospital in 1980 as a med-surg nurse after she graduated from the Jackson Memorial Hospital Diploma program. Since then, Jill has earned national certifications including the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) in board certified Pediatrics & the National Board Certification of School Nurses (NCSN). She has also elevated her academic standing to BSN and MBA. Jill depends on both her experience and academic knowledge to lead the Miami Children’s Hospital ambulatory team to greater heights of service and quality care. Jill currently serves as the South Region Director for the Florida Nurses Association. Past positions and achievements include President of District 5, Florida Nurses Association from 2005-2010 and she was the founding president of the South Florida Society of Pediatric Nurses. Jill has been the recipient of the South Florida Nurse Executive Leadership Award, a recipient of the Blanche Case Research Fund for nursing research and the FNA Nursing Student Liaison Award. Jill was also an international speaker at the International Congress of Nurses in Japan 2007 and a speaker on topics such as ANCC Magnet Designation, pain management, and certification.
Memorial Hospital Pembroke
Maynard Cruz, RN
Maynard Cruz, RN, has been described by one of his supervisors as “just what a nurse should be.” The many patients and staff that have come in contact with Cruz at Memorial Hospital Pembroke (MHP) over the past 10 years will definitely agree.
Cruz, who started his career as an EMT, has since worked as a staff nurse, charge nurse, interim clinical manager and now administrative officer. Whenever he has been presented with a new opportunity, he positively takes on the new role and is convinced that “it’s always easier to move forward.”
Cruz credits teamwork among co-workers at the hospital for making it a great place to grow. “We get to know each other,” he explained. :”Then it’s much easier to work together to accomplish our goals.”
Considered a caring, compassionate nurse, Cruz pointed out, “I’m happy that I’m able to make a difference for our patients, while providing the best possible medical care.”
Marlen Rega, RN, MSN
Marlen Rega, RN, MSN, loves working as a nurse at Memorial Hospital Pembroke’s Urgent Care Center, and it shows. She was recently recognized by the hospital with a Patient First award for taking extra effort to help a patient.
“To be a good nurse, you have to have the heart for it and a desire to make a difference,” Rega pointed out. “I think we all need to slow down a bit and take time to better educate patients. That’s the least we can do. After all, they’re trusting us with their lives.”
A native of Cuba, Rega came to the United States when she was 12 years old. She takes the opportunity to work in the medical field very seriously. After completing her RN and MSN degrees, she is now studying at Barry University to be a nurse practitioner. She credits her husband, Miguel, and her parents for supporting her in her goal.
North Shore Medical Center
Melanie Mann, BSN
Melanie Mann, BSN, decided to pursue a career in nursing after watching the passionate care her own mother received from a nursing staff during a stay in the hospital. After her experience, Melanie knew she wanted to be involved in a caring profession whose daily goal is to improve the health and safety of patients. As North Shore Medical Center’s Director of Quality, she has over 25 years of nursing experience and in her leadership role, Melanie makes sure that all patients receive the highest level of quality care possible during their stay in the hospital. She works closely with the hospital’s nursing staff and care givers to ensure all patients receive the care they deserve in a warm and friendly environment.
Melanie earned her Bachelor's of Science in Nursing at Arellano University School of Nursing in Manila, Philippines. She continued her education and earned her Master's in Health Services Administration at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida.
Marie M. Morency, RN, CWCA, CHRN
As a nurse, Marie M. Morency, RN, CWCA, CHRN, believes she is an advocate for her patients and takes great pride in all that she does in order to help them get better while in the hospital. Her compassion and strong desire to help others are what motivated her to pursue a career in nursing. She has 9 years of nursing experience at North Shore Medical Center and currently works in the hospital’s Wound Care Unit. As a wound care nurse, Marie assesses the patient’s wounds and works closely with other healthcare professionals involved in the patient’s care in order to determine the appropriate treatment. Prior to working in the Wound Care Unit, Marie worked in the hospital’s medical surgical floor and as an intravenous therapy nurse.
Marie completed her training at the nursing school Ecole Nationale d'infirmieres de Port-au-Prince in Haiti. She then went on to receive her CHRN by completing her hyperbaric training in Texas.
Miami VA Healthcare System
Amarilis Hernandez, RN, BSN
For Amarilis Hernandez, becoming a nurse wasn’t as much a choice as a calling: She spent her childhood visiting patients with her aunt while growing up in Puerto Rico. After beginning in the Intensive Care Unit in 2008, Hernandez served as the interim Patient Safety Manager at the Miami VA Healthcare System while continuing to develop a VA Office of the Inspector General Best Practice for staffing methodology.
When asked what drew her to nursing, she replied, “Nurses don’t just put IVs and give out medication, they provide care to patients and families and they create an environment that is healing, humane and caring.”
Her goal now is to finish her master’s degree and become certified as a Nurse Practitioner in August 2013 and use the skills she has learned to develop her skills in hospital administration and become more involved in improving the care of our Veterans.
ChaVonne Gilzean, RN, MHSA
When ChaVonne Gilzean started at the Miami VA Healthcare System six years ago, she was an intern working in administration. However, after working as a staff assistant in Nursing Administration, she was inspired to become a nurse and serve the Veterans she had gotten to know.
ChaVonne feels that as a nurse there is always an opportunity to go the extra mile and that a good nurse goes the extra mile without thinking about it.
After becoming a nurse and working in the Telemetry Unit, ChaVonne will now use her skills and abilities to connect with people to become the Nurse Recruiter for the Miami VA Healthcare System .
Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center
Daniel Knybel, RN
Injuring his ankle in a motorcycle wreck was the catalyst to push Daniel Knybel, RN, into the nursing field. At the time of the crash, he was a talented hockey player from Czechoslovakia. While in the hospital, Daniel took notice of the gentle and dedicated care from the nurses helping to heal his injury. From those moments on, Daniel knew he was destined to become a nurse. He worked hard in college, trained to become a nurse, and joined the nursing team at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center. Co-workers describe Daniel as a great individual and someone who they receive a lot of compliments about during and after shifts. Compliments have even come from members of his peer group when they have been in the hospital seeking care. A nurse, who was a patient at the hospital, sent an e-mail to Daniel’s supervisor describing him as an angel. His chief nursing officer says Daniel is always smiling, is passionate about nursing and loves taking care of patients’ needs. Daniel likes to travel and just bought a house with his wife who he met on a trip to Hong Kong.
Elaine Miller, RN
Elaine Miller, RN, says her goal of becoming a nurse came at an early age when her mother passed away from colon cancer. As a 12-year-old caring for her mother, Elaine came to realize how much she enjoyed caring for others and decided to pursue a career in nursing. She has been caring for patients at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center for 16 years, working in Medical-Surgical Telemetry, Open-Heart and Post Cardiac Care. Elaine is now enjoying her second year as an emergency room nurse and says she loves working there. Her smile, relaxed attitude and ability to multi-task, make her an invaluable asset in the ER. She takes personal pride in the fact that patient satisfaction scores in the emergency department have increased during her tenure and are now the second highest score of all Tenet Hospitals in the Southeast Region. As an ER nurse, Elaine also enjoys caring for the hospital’s cardiac patients. She believes in giving back and is involved in the community and is also a member of the FALLS Committee, reviewing best practices in fall prevention at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center. One of her future goals is to become a member of a hospital administrative leadership team.
Palmetto General Hospital 
Jacquemae Damally, RN
Jacquemae Damally, RN, is the assistant nurse manager of the Medical Surgical/Bariatric Unit at Palmetto General Hospital. With more than 23 years of nursing experience, Jacquemae is well-known throughout the hospital for her skill, knowledge and dedication to providing high quality care. She has been recognized through the many letters received from patients and their family members expressing gratitude for her service.
As assistant nurse manager of the Medical Surgical/Bariatric Unit, Jacquemae assists with the planning, coordinating and delivering of nursing care to the unit’s patients. She also mentors the new nurses in her unit.
Jacquemae began her nursing career at Palmetto General Hospital as an LPN in 1990 working in the Medical Surgical/Pediatric Unit. After many years of experience caring for these patients, she was determined to fulfill her goal to become an RN. In November 1998, she completed her educational requirements and earned her State of Florida RN License.
Eloy Fernandez, RN
With more than 10 years of service at Palmetto General Hospital, Emergency Room Assistant Nurse Manager Eloy Fernandez, RN, has been recognized various times throughout his career for his leadership and dedication. He has been recognized as ER Nurse of the Year, Employee of the Month and most recently as Employee of the Year in 2012.
Since Eloy assumed the role of assistant nurse manager of the ER, he has provided a strong example of leadership for his department. His commitment to nurse education and patient outcomes was one of the factors that led to the success of the hospital’s Primary Stroke Center designation in August 2012.
Eloy first joined Palmetto General Hospital’s staff in 2002 as an LPN. In February 2003, he received his State of Florida RN License and was promoted to RN. His loyalty, compassion and leadership skills were all factors that led to his promotion in September 2009 to the role he holds today.
West Boca Medical Center
Wilda Patterson, RN
Wilda Patterson, RN, is a nurse who often does the little things both on and off-duty during her everyday routine. As a charge nurse, she strives for patient and staff success in the BirthCare Pavilion at West Boca Medical Center. She is described by colleagues as enthusiastic, courageous and detail oriented with great critical thinking skills. Wilda is a team player in the Labor, Delivery and Post-Partum Departments. She is considerate and a great listener for patients and families. Wilda not only makes a difference in her work environment but also in her community. She cared for a homeless teenager and took the teen in to nurture and guide her. Today, that homeless teenager is a woman in the nursing profession. Wilda conducts health fairs in the community and at church, often volunteers, participates in mission trips, and every Thanksgiving, cooks meals for those in need. She is the current vice president for the Nicaragua Nurses Association, where she has served for six years.
Jennifer Orlando, RN
The excellent clinical nursing skills of Jennifer Orlando are just what the doctor ordered for patients at West Boca Medical Center. Jennifer has 19 years of nursing experience. She is known by her peers to be a very positive person, and Jennifer’s knowledge from working in different areas throughout her career, including the emergency room and vascular services department, make her well trained to help care for many different kinds of patients. Jennifer is currently working in the ambulatory care department at West Boca Medical Center, and is described by co-workers as a team player. She works on a team that gets patients ready for the operating room, and helps others get home after day surgery. Her job focus includes daily infusions and involvement on the hospital’s peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) line team. Jennifer is working on a new midline catheter project for use on the PICC team. She thinks of her patients as she would her own family members. Jennifer says she really loves her job, looks forward to coming to work every day and is fortunate to be surrounded by a team of people that are great to work with.
West Palm Beach VA Medical Center
Cynthia Lang, RN, MPH
Cynthia Lang, RN, MPH, is the Senior Infection Preventionist in the Quality Management Services at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center and is a finalist in the Palm Healthcare Awards for National Nurses Week. “Cindy” is a passionate advocate for quality patient care and holds rank as a senior subject matter expert in areas such as Prevention of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), Multi-Drug Resistant Organism (MDRO)/Antibiotics Stewardship and Reusable Medical Equipment Safety. She also serves as Co-Chair of VISN 8 (VA hospitals in Florida) Infection Preventionist and serves as the only Infection Preventionist on the VISN 8 Sterile Processing Service Board. She recently was asked to teach in the National Infectious Disease Service Educational Program for Infection Prevention & Control Educational Series. Cindy serves as a Master’s Program mentor for students attaining their degrees in Leadership from FAU. Ms. Lang has been a dedicated VA employee for more than 35 years.
Lynn Warren, RN
Lynn Warren, RN, works in the Community Living Center South at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center. Lynn began her career in the VA more than 15 years ago and worked for many years as a Licensed Practical Nurse in acute care and emergency room nursing before completing her RN in 2010. Since her completion, she has excelled in her ability to demonstrate expertise in the long term care and rehab arena. Lynn developed a “ruler” to measure depth and length of pressure ulcers with a quick look reference section on the back to facilitate consistent documentation standards. She mentors students of all foci including RN, LPN and nursing assistants and welcomes the opportunity to mentor current staff into pursuing higher learning opportunities. Lynn was recently nominated by the facility for the Palm Health Care Foundations 2013 Nursing Distinctions Awards.
Good Samaritan Medical Center
Nadine Smith, RN
Employee health nurse, Nadine Smith, is vigilant about the health and safety of patients and co-workers. Her efforts resulted in a 97 percent flu vaccination rate among the staff at Good Samaritan Medical Center. Having worked in the emergency department for many of her 34-years in nursing, she is well rounded and helpful. Co-workers often reach out to Nadine for a hug and she is known for being supportive, both emotionally and spiritually. An example is when she witnessed a multi-car accident and stayed on scene with two fatally injured passengers. Even though the mother and daughter were unconscious, Nadine comforted them and prayed for them. She also took special interest in a young abdominal aneurysm patient with a complicated prognosis. The patient survived surgery and returned to the emergency department months later to express his gratitude to Nadine. She is eager to volunteer on projects and has helped the hospital achieve a “Fit Friendly” status increasing worker productivity, lower turnover rates, absences and healthcare costs. She also leads the Executive Wellness Initiative, works with infection control, workers compensation, employee orientation and helped institute a “Smoke Free” campaign at the hospital.
Patrice King, RN
Patrice King, RN, goes beyond the call of duty for patients and co-workers. When two of her peers at work were diagnosed with cancer, Patrice initiated a fundraiser and donated her paid time off hours to help co-workers who missed work due to treatment. She honors a friend who passed away from breast cancer each year by participating in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, tagging her friend’s name to her back. At work, she also exemplifies the true meaning of professionalism, whether as a six-year board member of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, or by taking the time to mentor those trying to enter the nurse profession. With 35- years of nursing experience, and currently as a specialty RN in cardiovascular services at Good Samaritan Medical Center, Patrice dedicates herself to providing nurses with knowledge and resources necessary to deliver optimal care to critically ill patients. Patrice also gives back to half a dozen community organizations, and started the Sunshine Club, an organization that provides funds to celebrate staff members by sending food or flowers to them at the hospital. She also helps out at local soup kitchens, community food banks and donates clothes to the needy.
Coral Gables Hospital
Luisito Aure, RN
Luisito Aure, RN, decided to pursue a career in nursing because he wanted the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of patients in the hospital and because he believes nursing is both a noble and fulfilling profession. Luisito has more than 8 years of nursing experience and is the charge nurse of the Telemetry Unit at Coral Gables Hospital. In his leadership role, he is responsible for supervising and managing the nursing staff of the Telemetry Unit as well as overseeing patient care and treatment in order to ensure that a high level of quality care is provided to all patients during their stay at Coral Gables Hospital.
Luisito feels each patient he cares for is a memorable experience - especially when they go home with a smile and are thankful for the care he provided. Luisito first attended Mapúa Institute of Technology in Manila, Philippines, where he completed his Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering before earning his associate degree in nursing at Miami Dade College. Outside of his profession, he enjoys playing tennis, swimming and jet skiing.
Jennifer Valcin, RN
Growing up, Jennifer Valcin, RN, can recall her mother’s constant reminders to always be compassionate and caring for others just as she did. Her mother’s genuine concern for the well-being of others served as inspiration for her to pursue a career in nursing where she could the same for her patients. Currently, Jennifer serves as a medical-surgical nurse in Coral Gables Hospital’s Medical Surgical Unit. She is specially trained to provide care for patients before, during and after surgical procedures. Jennifer takes great pride in everything she does in order to provide high quality, compassionate care to all her patients. She is also involved in implementing the Daisy Award program at the hospital.
She began her nursing education and training at Miami Dade College and is currently pursuing her Bachelors of Science in Nursing at Florida International University. When Jennifer isn’t working, she likes to shop and travel.
Holtz Children’s Hospital
Donna Diel, RN, BSN
Donna Diel, RN, BSN, possesses and demonstrates outstanding clinical skills. She is calm and caring in her interactions with infants and their parents and takes pride in the care she renders at Holtz Children’s Hospital at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center.
As the chair of the Newborn Level II Nursery Unit Practice Council, she supervised and researched best practices related to the use of bilirubin masks, resulting in a practice change and cost savings for the unit. Professionally self-directed, Donna values education and takes the initiative to advance her knowledge base of clinical nurse practices. She willingly shares with her colleagues information that promotes evidence-based practice. Diel enthusiastically accepts the challenge of being one of the unit's lead charge nurses. She is a calming force in that role and manages the unit with expertise.
Donna was also a finalist in the 2012 March of Dimes Nurse of the Year for Jackson Health System.
Delray Medical Center
Miriam Caban, RN
Miriam Caban, RN, doesn’t hesitate to jump in and help others with her strong management skills. As a clinical manager for intensive care at Delray Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center, she works hard to ensure that quality, safety and staff communication is top notch. Peers describe Miriam as a woman with strong motivation skills and a manager that raises expectations with the patient in mind. She has a specialty certification in Critical Care and her master’s degree in Nursing Education. Miriam is also an adjunct professor for Broward College School of Nursing, teaching and mentoring students as they begin their nursing careers. When one of her nurses had to resign due to a physical condition, Miriam held a drive to buy presents for his children and provide a holiday meal two years in a row. At Thanksgiving, Miriam’s units typically provide enough donations to feed four or more families. She coordinates medical care for her parents in Puerto Rico and is a loving daughter, sister and aunt.
Linda Pillow, RN
Linda Pillow, RN, is kind and gentle with a passion for excellence. As clinical manager of Oncology, her role is to develop strong clinical nursing teams who focus on the safe delivery of care. Linda has dedicated her career to helping patients with cancer and the safe delivery of chemotherapy. Her co-workers label her as a team player who is loyal and valuable. She led a team, along with three charge nurses, to encourage nurses in the Delray Medical Center Oncology Unit to complete Oncology Nursing Society training. Prior to September 2011, none of the department’s nurses had that particular certification. In May 2012, Linda’s motivation and hard work helped her complete the ONS training in her own time and today she is an ONS faculty member. Linda’s new certification allows her to teach the nursing staff at Delray Medical Center in the safe delivery of chemotherapy. Today, 90 percent of the registered nurses in the oncology department are competent in ONS standards of care. Linda also teaches bi-annual classes that are filled with registered nurses from other Tenet hospitals and nurses outside of Tenet who pay an ONS fee. That fee is deposited into the Oncology Nurses Education Fund at the hospital.
Ambulatory Care Center, Jackson Health System
Frances Jara, RN
Frances Jara, RN, possesses and demonstrates outstanding clinical skills. She is calm and caring in her interactions with children and parents, taking pride in the care she renders.
She is the Chair for Ambulatory Care Center Unit Practice Council, she supervises and researches best practices related to improving medication refill process with the goal of improving customer satisfaction. Frances is professional, self-directed and enthusiastically accepts the challenge of being the unit's lead charge nurse. She conveys strong leadership qualities in the day-to-day operations of the clinic as a calming force in that role, managing the unit with expertise. Frances established an efficient and effective plan to ensure patient safety during medication administration, inventory storage and utilization of vaccines.
The December 2012 Nurse of the Month in ambulatory care centers, Frances is a continuous learner who values education. She is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and certification in ambulatory care.
Florida Medical Center
Tka-Llarissa Foster, ASN
Following in her mother’s footsteps, Tka-Llarissa Foster, ASN, also decided to become a nurse. Tka-Larissa’s mother would often express the joy and personal fulfillment she felt as a result of being a nurse which inspired her. She works in the Telemetry Unit at Florida Medical Center, a Campus of North Shore. She oversees and coordinates patient care and treatment with the hospital’s interdisciplinary team of health care professionals and is recognized for her loyalty and commitment to ensuring that each patient receives high quality, compassionate care during their stay in the hospital.
Tka-Llarissa first attended Fairleigh Dickinson University where she received her Bachelor's of Science in Business Management and then went on to complete her ASN at Miami Dade College. She is continuing her nursing education and training by completing her BSN at Florida Atlantic University. When she is not in the hospital or in class, Tka-Llarissa enjoys participating in mission work.
Denise Metz, RN
Denise Metz, RN, dreamed of becoming a nurse since childhood and with her mother’s encouragement and her desire to be a role model for her children, she fulfilled her dream to care for others by pursuing a career in nursing. With more than 12 years of nursing experience at Florida Medical Center, a campus of North Shore, Denise works in the hospital’s Emergency Room. As an ER nurse, Metz is a part of Florida Medical Center’s Emergency Response Team and works side by side with other health care professionals in order to provide immediate advanced emergency treatment. In this fast pace environment, Denise is known for her expertise and skill in providing quality care to all of her patients. She enjoys working in the ER and says every day is unique.
Denise completed her nursing education and training at Broward College. Her favorite hobbies outside of being an ER nurse include: reading, cooking, camping and traveling.
Jackson Memorial Hospital
Cindy Magnole, RN, BSN
Cindy Magnole, RN, BSN, works in the Pediatric Emergency Care Center and is the emergency care center’s injury prevention coordinator at Jackson Memorial Hospital. As the chair of the Miami-Dade County Injury Prevention Coalition, she is active at work and in the community with a passion for injury prevention. To raise awareness about drunk and drugged driving, particularly among teens, she partnered with Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the Poison Control Center to sponsor an impaired driving contest in June 2012. The grand prize was a laptop computer.
Cindy teaches community HIV-AIDS education and prevention for which she was honored by Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson by having her name read into the Congressional Record of December 1, 2012. Congresswoman Wilson highlighted Magnole’s ongoing, significant contribution to HIV/AIDS prevention. Cindy is a testament to giving back to nursing and the community, selflessly and bravely, without seeking praise or reward.
Doris Braddy, RN, BSN
Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Doris Braddy, R.N., B.S.N., has dedicated her entire 35-year nursing career to the care of burn and trauma patients. From her work as a clinical staff nurse to nurse manager and burn nurse educator, Doris’ greatest passion is burn prevention. She is an advanced burn life support instructor; a member of the American Burn Association; a “Burn Buddy” for children attending the Children’s Burn Foundation Burn Camp; and she accompanied burn survivors and their families to the World Burn Congress.
In addition to representing Jackson at community outreach events for more than 26 years, Doris collaborated with the fire departments in Miami-Dade County to present the Children’s Fire Safety Festival, teaching life-saving skills to avoid burn injury to approximately 4000 students a year. Ms. Braddy is a co-author of the burn chapter in Critical Care: Concepts, Role and Practice for the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (Wyckoff, Haughton and LePage, 2009).
Barry University
Gene Majka
Gene Majka, a certified adult nurse practitioner, came to Barry in the spring of 2002 to teach and oversee the community health nursing course. At the time, Barry only had 10 students a semester and two clinical sites. He has since added 12 more sites throughout South Miami-Dade changing the way scores of nursing students practice their profession.
Originally from Chicago, Majka completed his master’s research study on the homeless at DePaul University. He also created and implemented a primary clinic in an emergency shelter in Chicago where he spent five years attending homeless men.
As an assistant professor at Barry, Majka teaches community, public health, and mental health nursing to dozens of students a year and is an active member in many community organizational committees where he serves the homeless as well as the migrant workers of South Florida.
As the community coordinator for the nursing school, he obtains clinical sites for nursing students at places such as the Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA), a non-profit childcare center in Homestead. The daycare provides early education for children of migrant farm workers and rural low-income families throughout South Dade.
At Barry, Majka is involved in smoking cessation studies in South Florida with his nursing colleagues and obtained several grants to support his community activities in Miami-Dade and Broward County with the poor and homeless population. He plans to extend his services and initiate health screening clinics in soup kitchens in Broward.
Jackson North Medical Center
Cindy Reyes, RN
Cynthia (Cindy) Reyes, RN, is a clinical staff nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and newborn nursery at Jackson North Medical Center (JNMC) since 2007. A dedicated nurse who is passionate about culture and cultural practices related to birth, she recognizes that in her role she has the opportunity to learn about the diverse cultures, beliefs and customs of families as they welcome their babies into the world.
Nurse Reyes believes it is a privilege to be a part of such a private time in any family’s life. Having assisted many families to embrace their cultural and religious rites at the birth of their babies, she also accommodates families’ choices regarding breastfeeding, rooming-in and circumcisions in religious practices that are not harmful to the baby.
Cindy Reyes is a member and recorder of the JNMC Women’s and Children’s Unit Practice Council (UPC) which fuels her passion to make a difference at the bedside.

Michelle Tossona, RN, BSN
Michelle Tossona, RN, BSN, has been a nurse for 23 years. Trained in the United States Army, she practiced in various parts of the country and overseas as a medical specialist and a neonatal nurse. While in the military, she served in Operation Desert Shield.
In 1992, she was hired as a neonatal intensive care nurse at Jackson North Medical Center (JNMC). She was promoted to associate nurse manager, then to clinical educator for women’s and children’s. In 2006, she joined the nursing informatics team for the implementation of the electronic medical record. Dedicated to making the transition from paper a smooth one for staff and physicians, she conducts one-on-one training.
Michelle was chair of Jackson Health System Shared Governance Coordinating Council for 2011-2012, and now leads the JNMC Steering Council. Council memberships include JNMC Women’s and Children’s UPC as co-chair, Jackson’s Education and Professional Development Council and the DAISY Award Committee.
Hospice by the Sea, Inc.
Lynn Unfried, RN
Lynn Unfried exemplifies the “Gold Standard” for quality patient care, always striving for excellence in the patient care she provides. Lynn assures her clinical knowledge is current so her patients receive the most up-to-date standards of care. She consults with members of her healthcare team to develop treatment plans that will best fulfill patient needs.
Lynn is highly sensitive to patient and family dynamics, knowing how it can affect the health status of her patients. So, in every patient related act, Lynn demonstrates compassion and love for her patients and genuine concern for their caregivers. She ensures that everyone understands the patient’s diagnosis and care plan. Her patients and their loved ones know that when Lynn leaves their home that they have not just received health care, but that they have also been loved by her gentle and caring applications of her skills.
Regine Vixama, RN
After the birth of her twin daughters in 2007, Regine Vixama joined Hospice by the Sea, Inc. as an LPN. While serving as an on call runner who responded to the needs of patients and families during the night or on weekends, she went back to school to continue her education with the goal of becoming a registered nurse. When her husband, also a devoted father, was killed in an automobile accident, she knew life would never be the same. Regine had an intense personal need for some kind of closure. He was there in the morning, but would ever return. That need inspired her to be a nurse who could help hospice patient’s families to reach some understanding about their loved one’s end-of-life illness and the loss they faced. Today, as a case manager for the South Broward Facility team she is highly regarded for her compassion, dedication and efficiency, but most of all she is remembered for her smile that touches everyone she meets and proves to be contagious.
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