South Florida Hospital News
Sunday June 13, 2021

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May 2011 - Volume 7 - Issue 11

Salute to Nurses

Nurses Week is celebrated from May 6-12, 2011, and “South Florida Hospital News and Healthcare Report” would like to salute nurses across the U.S. The theme for National Nurses Week is "Nurses Trusted to Care." Nurses have many roles and serve all of them with passion for the profession and with a strong commitment to patient safety. Following are a few of the many nurses we wish to salute this year.

Memorial Regional Hospital
Julie Cedilot, R.N.
Julie Cedilot, R.N., always speaks about how a nursing degree provides a variety of working opportunities, including niche markets. She’s living proof of that philosophy.
Before coming to Memorial Regional Hospital in 2004, Cedilot spent three years working for an international cruise line, treating passengers on ships. Next, she applied her skills as an ICU nurse in Orlando. Now, as a key member of one of South Florida’s busiest emergency departments, she has found her niche.
“I really like caring for the high acuity patients in the ER,” explained Cedilot, a native of Montreal, Canada, and certified as emergency nurse and paramedic.
Around the hospital, Cedilot, who is fluent in French, is known for her positive attitude and energy.
She explained, “When I’m driving in, I wonder which patient will I make a difference for during my 12-hour shift? I think about whether I’ll teach them or they’ll teach me something new.”
Memorial Regional Hospital South
Lydia Rodriguez, R.N.
Lydia Rodriguez, R.N., has spent nearly 25 years as an intensive care unit nurse and she wouldn’t have it any other way. 
“I have the opportunity to take care of patients when they’re at their worst and, most often, see them improve and reach our ultimate goal of sending them home,” explained Rodriguez, who has been at Memorial Regional Hospital South since 2005. 
Her experience has taught her that it’s nearly as important to “be there” for the patients’ families in these difficult times. Rodriguez also has an excellent reputation as a preceptor. “There’s nothing like teaching a new nurse,” she said. “I try to help them feel more comfortable.”
When asked how technology has changed her role as an ICU nurse, Rodriguez replied, “The more information we have, the better we’re able to treat the patient. Technology helps us know if we’re moving in the right direction.”
Memorial Hospital Miramar
Diane Brown, R.N.
Diane Brown, R.N., will be the first to admit that a day in the life of the Memorial Hospital Miramar (MHM) Emergency Department is anything but predictable. But as a Clinical Manager with more than 20 years of experience, she’s well prepared to handle that.
“We never know what’s coming in the door,” she explained. “One minute it can be quiet and the next minute everything changes and we never stop until the end of our shift.”
Brown is particularly proud of the excellent reputation that the MHM ED has in the community. “Patients often come a long way to get here because they’ve heard about us from a relative or friend,” she said.
She attributes ED’s reputation to a team effort in which everyone treats patients as if they were family.
For Brown, personally, she always tries to stay positive. She said, “I help out my staff however I can. I know what it’s like … I’ve been in their shoes.”
Memorial Hospital West
Alys Phillips, R.N., B.S.N.
Going to nursing school wasn’t an arbitrary decision for Alys Phillips, R.N., B.S.N. The Memorial Hospital West (MHW) operating room nurse decided at five years old that nursing was the career for her.
“My Mom is a nurse and my Dad was a surgeon, so being an OR nurse was a natural choice for me,” Phillips explained. “In the operating room, you get to see anatomy first hand. “We’re always on the cutting edge, literally, with the latest equipment, and I really enjoy being part of that.”
One of these advances includes navigation technology, which enables neurosurgeons to use real time MRIs during surgery to preserve as much brain tissue as possible when removing tumors. Phillips, whose 24-year career has flourished in the operating room, was team leader of the group who established this technology at Memorial West and a vital team member responsible for building the hospital’s neurosurgery program.
West Palm Beach VA Medical Center
Dr. Michele Walder, DNP, ARNP
Dr. Michele Walder, DNP, ARNP, functions as a clinical nurse educator (CNE) at West Palm Beach VA Medical Center. Dr. Walder has been a strong advocate for nursing service since her role began and brings with her the experiences as staff nurse, nurse practitioner and educator. Her incredible dedication to the bedside caregiver is reflected in the number of staff and peers that seek her out for collaboration on a diverse list of healthcare topics. Michele is also a strong advocate for the student nurse population, and in collaboration with the CNEs in this facility, provides an environment for learning that is second to none in the West Palm Beach community. As an active member of shared governance, Michele repeatedly challenges nurses to think about innovation and technology to impact practice, reconsider methods to achieve effective outcomes, remove barriers and integrate knowledge into practice for all nursing staff.
Norma Whipple, CNA
Norma Whipple, CNA, works in the nursing phlebotomy department of the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center. She consistently displays dedication to nursing excellence through her expertise and commitment. Her calming demeanor has put many veterans at ease who otherwise would be unable to have their blood specimens collected. She takes enormous pride in delivering the best care to our Veterans. In addition, her work ethic inspires those around her, helping to ensure a positive role model for staff that are new, temporary or learning about the profession itself. Norma promotes a sense of community among nurses taking time to include new members in discussions and educational activities. Whipple believes strongly in mentoring and encouraging others to join the nursing profession.
Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center
Sally Siegfried, R.N.
With nearly 36 years of nursing experience, Sally Siegfried is a valued registered nurse in the emergency room of Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center. She is committed to the hospital, healthcare and the nursing profession with her expertise encompassing knowledge about all age groups and medical conditions, mastery of emergency department technology and equipment, awareness of social services, and the ability to communicate effectively and compassionately with patients and families.
Siegfried recently participated in her third medical mission trip to Haiti, spending a week caring for patients who desperately needed her skills, abilities and compassion. She functioned in the capacity of nurse and ran the pharmacy as well. The need to reach out and lessen suffering is something for which Sally has a passion and an innate calling.

Siegfried earned her nursing degree from Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and has achieved her ACLS, PALS, and TNCC certificates.
Hazel Jonczak, R.N.
Hazel Jonczak is a seasoned nurse with more than 30 years of experience. She has a passion for patient education, and for helping patients make lifestyle changes that will improve their quality of life. Jonczak began working at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center in 2002 and transitioned from the CVSRA to cardiac rehab in 2008.
Jonczak played a leadership role in developing the hospital’s Heart Failure Education Clinic, and was instrumental in starting the early ambulation program for post-operative open heart surgery patients. Jonczak also developed a strength training program for cardiac rehab patients, which was inspired by her personal success losing nearly 30 pounds with a healthy diet and exercise.
Jonczak earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing from West Virginia University and is active in nursing education as a previous adjunct faculty at Palm Beach State College. She is also an instructor for Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center’s community Heart Saver CPR classes.
Miami Jewish Health Systems
Beverly Beck, R.N.
Beverly Beck, R.N., is the Nurse Manager of the Ambulatory Health Center (the Clinic) at Miami Jewish Health Systems. She oversees the clinical operation and is heavily involved in patient care at multiple levels. Having been with Miami Jewish Health Systems for over 25 years, Beck has acquired unparalleled sets of nursing skills and health care management expertise. She holds an impressive array of certifications and training in areas of wound care, enteral feeding, geriatric care, fall prevention, HIV, OSHA, infection control, first aid and many more. Together with a Team of nursing staff and assistants personally trained by her, she orchestrates the activities of 25 medical specialties at the Clinic and balances their schedules, space utilization, and patient flow. Beck is a kind, caring and compassionate professional whose focus is patients’ well being, continuity of care, and education of the caregivers.
Idel Olivier Benjamin, R.N.
Idel Olivier Benjamin, R.N., is the Assistant Director of Nursing at Miami Jewish Health Systems (MJHS). For more than 20 years, Idel served as a nurse manager, Senior MDS coordinator / Care Plan Coordinator, and the interim Director of Nursing. Before joining MJHS, Idel worked as a flight nurse, an emergency room nurse in Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in Pines Retirement Home in Grand Cayman, in West Gables Health Care Center, Cabrini Medical Center in New York City, and the Jewish Home in the Bronx. Idel is Board Certified in Gerontology, holds a Bachelors degree in Nursing from Florida Atlantic University, and is currently working towards her Master of Science in Nursing. She is considered an expert in nursing informatics, computer applications in health care, health information management, and quality initiatives, and is admired for her passion for nursing and her love for patients and resident.
Palmetto General Hospital
Mary Diaz, L.P.N.
Licensed practical nurse Mary Diaz began her tenure at Palmetto General Hospital in the Medical-Surgical Unit in August of 1971, the year the hospital opened. After nearly 20 years of service, Diaz joined Palmetto General Hospital’s newly opened Maternity Center in 1990 and she is a dedicated nurse in this department to this day.
As a child, Diaz always knew she wanted to be a nurse so she could pursue her passion for taking care of others. She attended nursing school in Philadelphia, Pa., where she began her nursing career. Today, Diaz has over 51 years of experience as a nurse, with nearly 40 of those years dedicated to nursing at Palmetto General Hospital.
With her many years of service, Diaz has made significant contributions to Palmetto General Hospital’s staff, patients and community. Diaz was recently honored as a longstanding employee at Palmetto General Hospital’s 40th anniversary celebration in January 2011.
Gloria Hepburn-Clausell, R.N.
With her bright spirit and caring nature, everyone at the hospital knows registered nurse Gloria Hepburn-Clausell. She is a shining example of compassion and excellence in patient care at Palmetto General Hospital, and she is a big part of its 40-year history. In fact, Hepburn-Clausell joined the Palmetto General Hospital staff as a nurse’s assistant in 1971, just four months after the hospital opened its doors to the community.
While working at Palmetto General Hospital, she continued her education to earn her Associate of Science in nursing from Miami Dade College, as well as her Bachelor of Science in nursing and Masters in health administration from Florida International University.
Hepburn-Clausell found her niche in the GI department at Palmetto General Hospital, where she has provided high quality nursing care to patients for the past 19 years. She was recently recognized as a longstanding employee at Palmetto General Hospital’s 40th anniversary celebration in January 2011.
Broward General Medical Center
Serena Toney, RN, BFN, CPN
Serena Toney began her nursing career at Broward General Medical Center in Pediatrics as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) in 1990. Ms. Toney dedicated herself to her job while she continued taking courses to earn advanced nursing degrees. Determined to make a difference in the lives of her patients and the nurses she worked with, Ms. Toney served in various pediatric units, including the Pediatric ER and Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.
In 2006, Toney returned to the Pediatric unit as an Assistant Nurse Manager (ANM), an opportunity which allowed her to nurture and mentor nurses as she had been mentored in her early years at BGMC.
Today, Toney holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Nova Southeastern University and will complete her Master’s degree in Administration and Financial Leadership from Florida Atlantic University in the summer of 2011. Her additional credentials include certifications in chemotherapy, PICC line insertion, ENPC, PALS and CPN.
Janis Smith-Love, ARNP-BC, MSN, MBA, CCRN, CEN
Janis Smith-Love, ARNP-BC, MSN, MBA, CCRN, CEN, joined the nursing staff of Broward General Medical Center in 1997 as the Cardiac Services Clinical Nurse Specialist and as an ARNP. Since 2006, Smith-Love has served as the manager of the PCCU at BGMC. She has over 30 years of acute and critical care nursing experience.
Smith-Love earned her MSN degree from the University of Miami, and holds an MBA from Florida Atlantic University.
Smith-Love’s expertise in nursing has been recognized nationally and locally. Currently, she serves on the board of the Broward County Chapter of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), has served on national AACN committees, and has had her work presented at local and national AACN seminars.
A dedicated professor and author, Smith-Love is an adjunct faculty member at Broward College. She has authored several publications relating to critical-care nursing, and has served as content expert for several publishers.
Delray Medical Center
Jennifer Chiusano, RN, MAOM- ACNO
With over 27 years of nursing experience, Jennifer Chiusano, assistant chief nursing officer of Delray Medical Center, is proud of her nursing career and the many lives she has touched along the way. In Chiusano’s current role as assistant chief nursing officer of Delray Medical Center, she is responsible for making important decisions for groups of patients and influencing other nurses, which she finds most rewarding.
Chiusano earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing from Virginia Commonwealth University and Master of Arts in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix. Throughout her nursing career, she has worked in labor and delivery, cardiac care and disease management. After providing clinical bedside nursing care for many years, Chiusano was inspired to pursue nursing leadership positions to make a larger impact and motivate nurses to push themselves to experience the different opportunities in nursing care.
North Broward Medical Center
Sonia Stephens, R.N. III, CWS
Sonia is a born nurturer, fuelled by the need to give of herself. Her true passion is nursing. Sonia began her career at North Broward Medical Center 21 years ago. She helped to establish the SWAT Team to prevent and treat pressure ulcers and earned CWS Certification.
Sonia works the Oncology/Medical-Surgical Unit whose goal is to have a HAPU rate of zero. She is dedicated to educating staff about best practices and collaborating with physicians to ensure patients receive the highest quality care. Sonia is an Oncology Task Force representative, assists with annual staff competencies, a clinical coach for new nurses, a relief charge nurse and a member of the education committee. As a result of her leadership, her unit has not had a HAPU in over one year. Sonia is a valued member of the Broward Health North Broward Medical Center family. Bravo!
David McMillan, R.N.
David began his nursing career at NBMC in 2004 and it was obvious that he had a gift for leadership. Compassion, coupled with critical thinking skills made him a wonderful nurse from the start. He was promoted to the Coronary Care Unit, quickly mastered caring for the critically ill and was promoted to Assistant Nurse Manager. David was promoted to Nurse Manager of the Neuro-Telemetry and the Neuro- Stepdown Units in May, 2010. He manages his team with the same caring and compassion he gives to patients. His leadership skills have delivered results. Improved customer satisfaction scores, reduced fall rate and a lower catheter related urinary tract infection rate have all been realized in his first year as a nurse manager. David is a dedicated and valuable member of the North Broward Medical Center family. His natural leadership ability, along with true compassion, make him the boss everyone wants to work for!
Catholic Health Services
St. Anthony’s Rehabilitation Hospital, CHS
Cheryl Donk, R.N.
Cheryl has been the ADON at St. Anthony’s Rehabilitation Hospital since 2009. She started her nursing career as an LPN, then became a RN with an Associate’s Degree and then obtained her Bachelor’s degree in 2009.
She originates from Paramaribo Suriname and is fluent in Dutch. Family is the most important thing in her life and she believes in embracing family and living life to the fullest.
She has let this philosophy pervade her “work life” as well. She embraces every challenge placed before her and displays a quiet confidence when training and mentoring the nursing staff.
She was instrumental in the successful roll out of electronic medication administration in the rehabilitation hospital. She exemplifies the nursing leadership of the future.
Catholic Home Health Services of Miami-Dade, CHS
Deborah A. Newis, RN, MS, HCRM, HCQM
Deborah Newis is the Director of Professional Services for Catholic Home Health Services of Miami-Dade County and Catholic Home Health Services of Broward. She has been a part of the home health team for the past 11 years.
During this time, Deborah has proven herself to be an extremely knowledgeable and resourceful Director. She has an in-depth knowledge of Medicare Regulations and consistently works towards achieving positive outcomes for her patients. Deborah promotes patient-centered care with the utmost dignity and respect for our internal customers, as well as our external customers.
Deborah exhibits professionalism, sensitivity to the needs of her employees and her patients and is always willing to overextend herself for the benefit of her patients, co-workers and the organization. She supports the professional and clinical development of our employees. Deborah is truly an asset to our care-giving team, our patients and to our organization.
St. Catherine’s Rehabilitation Hospitals, CHS
Joi McMillon, RN, CRRN, CIC
Throughout her nine years of employment, with Catholic Health Services, she has grown professionally by obtaining her Certification in Rehabilitation Nursing as well as in Infection Control and Prevention.
She began as the DON for a 60 bed rehabilitation hospital and played an integral part in the opening of the newest 40 bed Satellite hospital. She currently oversees both buildings, functioning as mentor and educator for new nurses. Under her direction the hospital was named by the nurses as one of the best places to work in October 2008 and has received many commendations from the Joint Commission and CARF.
With her motto of teamwork at forefront, her ability to lead her staff comes from her dedication and doing whatever it takes to getting the patients needs met.
Hialeah Hospital
Andrea McCalla, R.N., B.S.N.
Andrea McCalla, R.N., B.S.N., began her nursing career at Hialeah Hospital 22 years ago and has remained a dedicated employee ever since. Today, McCalla serves as the director of the medical-surgical/telemetry unit and also directs the hospital’s acute care for the elderly (ACE) unit, which provides care services to meet the specific, and often complex, health needs of the hospital’s elderly population. Her countless contributions have made a significant impact on Hialeah Hospital, and earned her the Administrative Team Award for Outstanding Leadership- one of her proudest achievements.
McCalla is proud to lead an excellent team of caring and compassionate nurses at Hialeah Hospital, and enjoys the sense of warmth and family that radiates throughout her department and the hospital.
McCalla earned her Associate of Science Degree in Nursing from Miami Dade Community College and continued on to complete her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Florida International University.
Cynthia M. Iduate R.N., B.S.N., C.B.N.
As director of surgical services at Hialeah Hospital, Cynthia Iduate is a natural leader who is always ready to “scrub up” and jump in to help when needed. In her current role, Iduate leads a team of skilled nurses in the provision of high quality surgical nursing care at Hialeah Hospital. Her extensive knowledge of nursing practice, in addition to her support and team-like approach to leadership, has gained the respect and dedication of her nursing staff, physicians and the hospital as a whole.
Iduate began her career in healthcare working as an emergency department patient registrar. She quickly realized that nursing was her true calling and completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Barry University. Today, Iduate has 13 years of experience as a registered nurse and still feels rewarded each day that she has a lasting impact on patients’ lives, including saving them. Iduate states: “There is no reward greater than that.”
Hospice of Palm Beach County
Bella Gabas, R.N.
Bella Gabas, R.N., and Supervisor of Hospice of Palm Beach County’s inpatient Hospice and Palliative Care Unit in Delray, has a natural curiosity that drives her career. A Philippine native, she came to this country facing cultural and linguistic challenges as a foreign nurse. Nonetheless, she excelled, passing her R.N. board exam, and earning a Masters Degree in Nursing. With 32 years in nursing, she now draws on that experience to relate to patients with varied cultural backgrounds.
Treating the whole person – physical, social, emotional and spiritual – is what she loves most about her job of 14 years, and she embodies that attitude always. It’s also what she teaches as a nurse leader. Her core values of being honest and upfront, diplomatic and trustworthy have earned her the respect of her staff, who have learned from her the happiness that comes from thinking and acting positively in everything you do.
Sue Ann Montfort, R.N., CHPN
Being a nurse for Hospice of Palm Beach County means I contribute to a quality of medical care seldom seen elsewhere. I’m encouraged to talk with patients and families, inform and support them, and be a part of a team that listens to their needs and concerns. We talk through decisions together so they embrace them with confidence.
I didn’t set out to be a hospice nurse. After 29 years in nursing, the opportunity arose, and I decided to try it for a while; that was three years ago. Like any new job, it took me time to adjust, but now I couldn’t do anything else.
Hospice of Palm Beach County improves the quality of life of its patients and families by doing whatever it takes. We help everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. It allows us to focus on the patient’s needs. That makes all the difference.”
West Boca Medical Center
Danica Trifunovic, R.N., CNOR
Danica Trifunovic brings a unique perspective to her work as an operating room nurse at West Boca Medical Center, where she has been serving for 15 years. Trifunovic earned her nursing degree from the School for Nurses in Maribor, Slovenia; her Master of Nursing in Zagreb, Croatia; and completed her operating room nurse training in Maribor, Slovenia. She has also completed several surgical mission trips to Bolivia.
It is this ambitious, caring and dedicated spirit that makes Trifunovic a terrific nurse and asset to West Boca Medical Center. In her current role, Trifunovic is a circulating nurse in operating room and the robotics coordinator. She considers West Boca Medical Center her second family, and the team of people who work together to help people, save lives and improve patients’ quality of life. For the last 10 years, Trifunovic has also served as the secretary/treasurer for the Association of Operating Room Nurses Chapter 1023.
Susan Swiderski, R.N.
Susan Swiderski is a hero at West Boca Medical Center. In fact, she was nominated for the Tenet Healthcare Hero award and inducted into the Tenet Hero Hall of Fame for her dedication to patient care and superior nursing skills. Swiderski is an assistant nurse manager in the West Boca Medical Center pediatric intensive care unit. She works with pediatric intensivists, manages the daily operations of the unit, and takes care of children from two days to 18 years old.
Swiderski earned her Associate of Science in nursing from Broward Community College and now has 35 years of nursing experience. Each day, Swiderski is driven by…“the caring of the patient; the excitement of being part of the team that saves a critical patient’s life; supporting families during difficult times; and the beauty of rocking a baby to sleep.” She says, “The best part of being a nurse is nursing!”

(l-r) Sonia Fenton-Huber, RN, ONC; Risa Silverman, RN, ONC; Flor De Liz Cerna, RN, ONC; Mollie Ng, RN, ONC; and Rahana Mohamed, RN, ONC.
University Hospital and Medical Center Staff Awarded Prestigious Certification for Specialized Orthopedic Care
The nursing staff at University Hospital & Medical Center’s (UHMC) Orthopedic and Spine Institute successfully passed the Orthopedic Nurses Certification Board (ONCB) in January. The ONCB certification exam recognizes a commitment to lifelong learning and a high level of knowledge that contributes to effective patient care and safety.
Six nurses from the Orthopedic and Spine Institute studied vigorously for months and all passed the exam together. This is just another example of the dedication and teamwork that is reflected on the care that is given to their patients and demonstrates how University Hospital strives to be the leader in Orthopedic and Spine care in Broward County.
Florida National College
Silvia Suarez, R.N., B.S.N.
My parents immigrated here to the United States from Colombia, before I was born but they divorced prior to my birth. We were very poor. I remember eating a lot of soups, pea soup to be exact, and helping my mother carry groceries as we stood in the rain waiting for the city bus. Through the years, the divorce caused an enormous amount of chaos during my childhood. Although I was lost for a few years trying to find my way, my guardian angel helped me to make one of the best decisions in my life … to become a nurse.
I worked full time as a secretary, held a part time job on the weekends, and went to the community college for night classes. I graduated from Florida State University’s School of Nursing program.
I graduated in 1997 and returned to Miami and was hired at Jackson Memorial Hospital. I have worked in orthopedics on WW7, the Trauma Intensive Care Unit at the Ryder Trauma Center, the Department of Hyperbaric Medicine, and currently in Education and Development.
I am in my 14th year as a Jackson nurse. I currently work as a Critical Care Educator and with affiliated nursing schools to coordinate the clinical placement of their nursing students. I coordinate the development of disaster training for nurses at Jackson.
A smile on a patient’s face, a hug from a mourning mother, a thank you card from a grateful student, are all reasons why I love my job. I am forever grateful to all the wonderful people who through the years have helped me grow as a person and a nurse and for the new people and bonds I continue to form. I am truly blessed … blessed to make a difference, blessed to be a nurse!
Humberto J. Martinez Ordaz
Humberto Martinez was born in Bahia Honda, Cuba, 1953 and has had many accomplishments throughout his life.
In 1976, Martinez earned a Degree in Doctor of Medicine from the University of Havana. He specialized in Medical Psychology in 1978 and Organization and Administration of Public Health and Preventive Medicine in 1987.
Martinez immigrated to the United States in 1995 and became an instructor at Florida National College in 1997. He has been nominated Instructor of the Year several times: 2005, 2009, 2010.
Martinez has been an asset to the college and has taught students in Medical, Nursing, Dental and Technology Programs and has been instrumental in developing courses for Medicine, Nursing, and Medical Technology programs.
Martinez is a true representation of the nursing profession and his love for education has been displayed through the success of all the Allied Health and nursing graduates.
Aventura Hospital and Medical Center
Charmeline Jules, R.N.
Charmeline Jules, R.N., joined Aventura Hospital and Medical Center in 2010 as a Charge Nurse assigned to the Diabetes Telemetry floor. Jules, as she is known, is a true healthcare professional who is focused on enriching the lives of her patients and colleagues.
Jules has proven herself to be a true, hands-on leader who easily switches roles to improve patient/staff ratios when necessary. Jules is also considered by her peers and director to be an excellent clinician.
Jules personally funds aid missions to Haiti several times a year to provide medical care to orphaned children. She was also one of the first R.N.s to arrive on the island nation following the devastating 2010 earthquake. Jules worked tirelessly alongside physicians to render medical assistance to victims of all ages, saving many lives along the way.
Jules also teaches religious studies to children at her Church. Every year, she collects school supplies for young students who would otherwise go without.
Jules exemplifies what it means to be a caregiver.
Tiffany Kelly, R.N.
Tiffany Kelly, R.N., is a registered nurse assigned to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center. She is dedicated to caring for some of the hospital’s most critical patients.
Tiffany is very highly respected by her peers and the physicians she works with. She is described as proficient, compassionate, dedicated and highly motivated.
Tiffany was previously nominated for the Nurse of the Unit Award in 2009 and Nurse of the Quarter Award in 2010. In addition, she is the subject of multiple commendation letters from patients, family members, colleagues and physicians. Tiffany’s is a true caregiver and it comes as no surprise. Being a caregiver runs in her family. Her mother is one of AHMC’s Emergency Department nurses.
Tiffany realizes the special needs required of many of her ICU patients and works closely with their families under very stressful circumstances.
Tiffany’s future in healthcare promises to be a very bright.
St. Mary’s Medical Center
Cheryl Jacobs, R.N.
With 18 years of nursing experience, registered nurse Cheryl Jacobs brings a wealth of experience to her new position as director of critical care and step-down units at St. Mary’s Medical Center. In her daily role, she oversees the 26 bed critical care units, which include neurological, trauma and medical/surgical intensive care patients, as well as the 22-bed step-down unit and the PICC team.
Jacobs was motivated to become a nurse because of the opportunity to meet a patient during a critical moment in his or her life and have the skills and knowledge to nurse a patient back to health, or simply hold their hand as they leave this life. As Jacobs says, “It is an honor.”
Jacobs earned her RN diploma from Jackson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, Bachelor of Science in nursing Summa Cum Laude from Florida Atlantic University, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in nursing administration from Florida Atlantic University.
Brooke Affholder, R.N.
Registered nurse Brooke Affholder is proud to be a nurse in the medical/surgical unit at St. Mary’s Medical Center, where she started her nursing career four years ago. From nurses fresh out of their training to those with decades of experience, she says: “We all learn and grow from each other bringing new and old visions to our “home” at St. Mary’s Medical Center.”
Affholder puts her exceptional nursing skills to work to provide compassionate patient care. This dedication to her patients and respect for the nursing profession earned her the “Nurse of the Unit” award during her first year as a nurse at St. Mary’s Medical Center.
Affholder earned her nursing degree from Owens State College in Toledo, Ohio. She also attended Florida Atlantic University to complete the Novice Nurse Leader Institute program and has taken a leadership role in St. Mary’s Medical Center’s hospital-wide efforts to measure and strengthen the nursing team and quality of nursing care.
HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Miami
Miguel Linares, R.N.
Has been working with HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Miami for the past 2 years. He exemplifies commitment to his work. His positive outlook and strive to learn and take on any task encourages those who work with him. He has always put patient safety as his priority. His concerns for his patients health and safety has proved invaluable to our facility and the patients. Miguel exhibits exceptional customer service skills and is a team player. We are proud to have Miguel as part of our team!
Magalie Denis, R.N.
Has been working with HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Miami for over 10 years and has exemplified her skills in the areas of customer service and clinical practice. Patients as well as her co workers have embraced her commitment to her profession. Magalie is dedicated to her patients and feeling a sense of accomplishment knowing she has provided her best. Magalie is a dedicated and loyal individual. We are proud to have Magalie as part of our team!
Robyn Ott, R.N., B.S.N.
Recovery room nurse Robyn Ott, RN, started her nursing career at Jupiter Medical Center as a travel nurse in 2006. During that time, she worked in the ICU where she provided compassionate care to some of the hospital’s sickest patients. While she was here, she fell in love – both with her future husband, and the hospital. She returned to Jupiter Medical Center as a full-time nurse in the PACU.
Robyn feels JMC is a very nurse-oriented hospital, appreciates the nurse-patient ratio, and thinks the hospital administration has the nurses’ best interest at heart. Because of the nurse-patient ratio, she is able to be the nurse she wants to be, and have the time to do the things she’d like for her patients.
It’s that special care that landed her a DAISY Award her first month back on the job. The award is given to nurses for their outstanding efforts. Robyn is also nominated for this year’s Palm Healthcare Foundation Nursing Distinction Award for the Hearts and Hands category.
Siobhan Gross, R.N., B.S.N., CDE
Certified Diabetes Educator Siobhan Gross has been a registered nurse for 28 years. For the last 10 years, she served as a nurse and diabetes educator at Jupiter Medical Center. She is passionate about educating adults and children with diabetes, individually, in the classroom and in the hospital. Her goal is to provide the tools they need to help manage their diabetes and prevent complications, and to serve as a community resource, giving presentations on diabetes and healthy lifestyles.
Helping her patients tackle diabetes on a daily basis – especially the young children and teens – is a very rewarding experience. She sees her patients transform their lives, taking the steps they need to live a long and healthy life with diabetes. Twice a month, Siobhan works at Children’s Medical Services through a grant from the Nicklaus Foundation. There, she educates the youth with diabetes and their families. She was nominated by one of her colleagues for the Palm Healthcare Foundation Nursing Distinction Award “for giving 110 percent” to the children and families she works with.
Martin Memorial Health Systems
Angela Yezzo, R.N.
When Angela Yezzo was 12 years old, she was hospitalized for two weeks. Her aunt was the director of nursing at the hospital and since her ailment was minor, Yezzo was put to work helping the nurses on the floor.
“I delivered trays, did a lot of different things, and they let me sit at the nurses station,” Yezzo said. “I liked it because I was always drawn to the medical field and helping people.”
Her short stint as a nurse left a big impression. Yezzo has been a nurse for 36 years, including 21 at Martin Memorial. Today, she works in the cardiovascular intensive care unit at Martin Memorial Medical Center, taking care of patients following open-heart surgery.
“Nursing has changed tremendously through the years,” she said. “We have a lot of responsibility and make a lot of judgment calls. It wasn’t that way years ago. Our input has a lot of impact on the patients’ outcomes and well-being.”
Julia Lang, R.N.
Julia Lang became a nurse four years ago, but has always had an inherent desire to care for others. She spent 19 years as a dental assistant before deciding to follow her passion and become a nurse.
To help gain experience she worked as a patient care technician while going to nursing school. Today, she works on the medical-surgical unit at Martin Memorial Hospital South.
“It’s been a long journey, but I’ve always enjoyed taking care of people,” she said. “I wanted to give something back, and the patients are almost like family for me.”
While she has an innate desire to care for others, Lang also draws from her experience as a patient to ensure she provides quality care.
“I’ve been on the other side,” she says. “So I know what good nursing is and what mediocre nursing is. That’s why I always strive to do my best.”
Holy Cross Hospital
Ines Rodriguez, RN, OCN, CBCN
Ines Rodriguez, RN, OCN, CBCN, is a celebrated nurse and breast cancer advocate in South Florida. A nurse since 1984, Rodriguez grew up passionate about taking caring of others. She completed her education at the Jackson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing and started her career at the hospital, eventually serving as Associate Head Nurse of the Children's Cancer Caring Center. In 2002, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After beating the disease, Rodriguez became an advocate for women throughout her community. In 2007, she was honored by Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Ford's Warriors in Pink program as one of three Hispanic women in the nation who serve as model ambassadors in the fight against breast cancer. At Holy Cross, Rodriguez serves as a patient navigator for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. She is among the first in the nation to be certified as a Breast Patient Navigator through the National Consortium of Breast Centers.
Adrienne Wolfson, RN, MSN, CCRN-CSC
Adrienne Wolfson, RN, MSN, CCRN-CSC, nurse manager of Holy Cross Hospital's Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU), has been with Holy Cross for more than 21 years and has been a nurse since 1981. Her first experience in the field of medicine was as a Patient Care Technician in high school.
In college, she changed her major from music to nursing. Wolfson graduated from the University of Florida with her Associate's degree in nursing, received her Bachelor's degree in healthcare administration from St. Thomas University, and a Master's degree in nursing from the University of Phoenix. Before joining Holy Cross, she worked at Shands HealthCare in Gainesville, Fla., Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla. and Henrico Doctor’s Hospital in Richmond, Va. Wolfson enjoys managing her staff, though she has no plans to leave the bedside due to her passion for taking caring of people. She is certified in critical care and cardiac surgery care and has served as nurse manager of the CVICU since 2000.
Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital
Eileen Watkins, R.N.
When most people think of the skills nurses need to do their jobs, few would consider teaching an asset. Meet Eileen Watkins, R.N., clinical manager, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital (JDCH), who is convinced that her 10-year tenure as a special education teacher in Miami/Dade County helps her daily on the job.
That experience was recently put to the test when Watkins became part of a multi-disciplinary team that performed and managed JDCH’s first two pediatric heart transplants. Post surgery requirements place these patients into an entirely new level of care. Watkins and the PICU team rose to the challenge and both patients are doing well post-transplant.
One thing Watkins is certain of after almost 12 years at JDCH, “You can’t treat the child without the family. We always involve the family in every aspect of our patients’ care to get the best possible outcomes.”           
Good Samaritan Medical Center
Shaun Truman, R.N.
Originally from England, registered nurse Shaun Trueman has a passion for travel, which he has done significantly during his 23-year nursing career. He has worked as a nurse in Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, New York City, Port Arthur, San Francisco and West Palm Beach. For the last 15 years, Trueman has worked at Good Samaritan Medical Center, where he currently holds the position of charge and staff nurse in the surgical intensive care unit/medical intensive care unit. He enjoys critical care nursing because of the unique opportunity to use advanced technology, skill and experience to impact patient outcomes. As a nurse leader, Trueman acts as a resource and mentor for new registered nurses and students.
Trueman attended North Staffordhsire College of Nursing and Midwifery in England. He is proud to be a part of the nursing team at Good Samaritan Medical Center, because each day they work together to positively influence- and even save- patients’ lives.
Melody Hackett, R.N.C., M.S.N.
For Melody Hackett, assistant nurse manager in obstetrics at Good Samaritan Medical Center, nursing is more than just the care given to patients while they are in the hospital; it’s about creating a lasting impression of their experience that will remain with them forever. As an assistant nurse manager, Hackett is responsible for staffing on the obstetrics unit, assisting nurses, staff education and even patient care, which is her favorite role and one she wanted to play ever since she volunteered as a “candy striper” one summer at the age of 14.
Hackett earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing from Bloomsburg University, Master of Science in nursing from Florida Atlantic University and has remained a dedicated member of the Good Samaritan obstetrics nursing team for the last 23 years. Her experience, knowledge and compassion help bring a high level of quality care to the hospital’s obstetrics patients and their growing families.
Hospice by the Sea
Lynn Unfried, R.N.
Lynn Unfried, R.N., was raised in Ohio and attended nursing school at Broward Community College and graduated in 1982. She immediately went to work at Broward General Medical Center and remained there for 12 years. It was at Broward General Medical Center that Lynn had her first experience with caring for patients with cancer on the Oncology Unit. During those 6 years she developed assessment skills, understanding of the devastating effects of cancer on the entire family and began learning techniques to decrease side effects of the treatment. In 1994, Lynn began her career in home care at Gold Coast Home Health and worked with palliative and hospice patients for 7 years. She worked with Memorial Home Health and returned to Broward General Medical Center to work with the palliative care patients. She continues her career at FocusCare working with patients needing either palliative care or alternative care to hospice care. With each professional experience, Lynn continues her self growth and contributes meaningfully to her organization. She is married with 2 daughters, a son and 9 grandchildren, 5 girls and 4 boys. Her oldest grandson is a Marine serving in Afghanistan.
Coral Gables Hospital
Jaime Salgado, R.N.
For Jaime Salgado, R.N., being a nurse at Coral Gables hospital is more than just a job; it’s being a member of a second family. Salgado has been an integral part of the Coral Gables Hospital nursing team since 2003, when he moved from Argentina and started out as an operating room nursing assistant. After earning board certification to practice as a registered nurse in the United States, Salgado continued working in the operating room at Coral Gables Hospital and was promoted to a pre op nurse two years ago. Salgado enjoys being an important member of this team, where he prepares patients for surgery and works with physicians to help patients achieve optimal surgical outcomes.
Salgado earned his nursing degree in Cuba and then worked as a nurse in Argentina for eight years. Now with over 20 years of nursing experience, Salgado still wakes up every morning happy because he is “going to help people.”
Epifania Dingcong, R.N.
With a fascination of health and a strong desire to help others at young age, Epifania Dingcong was set on a career in nursing. Today- with over 30 years of nursing experience- Dingcong serves as a circulating nurse in Coral Gables Hospital’s operating room, where she finds great joy and reward in being part of a team that helps mend patients back to health and wellbeing.
Dingcong earned her nursing degree in the Philippines and practiced nursing for over 15 years in the Philippines and Saudi Arabia before moving to the United States in 1996. Dingcong’s experiences as a nurse abroad have contributed to her ability to influence and care for patients of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Six years ago, Dingcong joined the nursing “family” in the OR at Coral Gables Hospital, where her continuous motivation to excel and provide patients with the best nursing care possible is appreciated by the hospital and its patients.
Holtz Children’s Hospital
Olive Fowler, R.N., M.S.N.
For more than 17 years, Olive Fowler, R.N., M.S.N., has cared for some of the smallest and most critically ill infants in South Florida. As the nurse manager of Holtz Children Hospital’s Newborn Special Care Center, she manages the daily operations of one of the largest neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in the country, helping thousands of tiny babies beat the odds of survival and making miracles happen for their families.
Olive is not only devoted to caring for these tiny patients, some of whom weigh little more than one pound, but also teaching others how to best care for them. Olive has served as an adjunct faculty member at Miami Dade College teaching aspiring nurses; is a Neonatal Resuscitation Program instructor; a member of the Academy of Neonatal Nursing; and is actively involved in Jackson Health System’s Magnet Journey, enhancing quality of care by empowering nurses.
North Shore Medical Center
Annette Bradley, R.N.
As the assistant nurse manager of the neonatal intensive care unit at North Shore Medical Center, registered nurse Annette Bradley takes care of the tiniest miracles. With 33 years of nursing experience and a long list of world-travels, she brings a unique set of skills, qualities and compassion to each baby and family for which she cares.
Bradley started her nursing career in New Zealand, where she attended the Spotswood College Taranaki School of Nursing. She then traveled to the United States and has been a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit of many hospitals from Florida to Texas, and even California.
For the past 11 years, Bradley has dedicated her nursing skills and leadership to North Shore Medical Center, who she calls her “second family.” Bradley is a past recipient of the hospital’s Nurse of the Year award. She says her greatest reward is a simple “thank you” from her patients and their families.
Vicki A. Vertich BA, IBCLC, ICCE, CPFI
Vicki A. Vertich has served as the maternal family health manager at North Shore Medical Center for over two years and is a true inspiration to the hospital and its new mothers. As an internationally board certified lactation consultant, childbirth educator and certified perinatal fitness instructor, she brings a unique level of expertise to the hospital’s maternal health program.
Vertich began her nursing career as a licensed practical nurse in obstetrics. After 20 years of working with new families and assisting them in their transition to parenthood, Vertich continued her education at LaSalle University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in adult education and then attended Georgetown University for her lactation studies.
Whether it is helping women enter motherhood or bounce back to their pre-baby shape, Vertich enjoys being a part of the North Shore Medical Center team that embraces family-centered care and supports the growth of innovative maternal health programs and services.
Jackson Memorial Hospital
Rocio Simunovic, R.N., B.S.N., M.H.A.
Rocio Simunovic, R.N., B.S.N., M.H.A., is a skilled nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where she cares for acutely ill neurosurgical and trauma patients. Each day on the job, she demonstrates compassion to her patients, a dedication to provide the best customer service and an eagerness to mentor nursing students and colleagues.
She is a strong advocate for her co-workers and goes above and beyond to support them. Her contributions include implementing a quarterly staff recognition event, serving as the Unit Practice Council President, and creating tools to improve communication among nurses to prevent redundancy of work. This year, in response to back and shoulder injuries in her nursing unit, she developed a “No Lift Policy Program” using evidence based practices on safe patient handling.
Colleagues describe Simunovic as a &am
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