South Florida Hospital News
Sunday August 25, 2019

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May 2019 - Volume 15 - Issue 11




Salute to Nursing

VITAS® Healthcare in Broward County

Ricky LeBaron, RN
His coworkers in the VITAS inpatient hospice unit at North Broward Medical Center praise Ricky LeBaron for his warm bedside manner, his compassionate care and his willingness to go above and beyond his regular nursing duties when a need arises.
“I always had an interest in hospice,” says LeBaron, who graduated in 2013 with a degree in nursing from Broward College, worked as an intensive care unit nurse at Memorial Hospital Miramar and joined VITAS in 2017.
“My mother was a home healthcare nurse in Louisiana, so I’ve always been familiar with the nursing profession,” he says. “Yes, hospice nursing can be very stressful, and it takes a lot out of you; but the interactions with the patients and their families—to me, it just feels like a really good thing to do.”
Sheila Michel, RN
Most of Sheila Michel’s nearly 20-year nursing career has involved pediatric nursing throughout Broward County. Three years ago, her search for a career change led her to a role as a home care hospice nurse for VITAS® Healthcare, where she provides end-of-life care to both adult and pediatric patients and their families in their homes.
“Caring for pediatric hospice patients can weigh very heavy on my heart,” she acknowledges. “But I know nursing, and I know pediatric nursing and I love what I’m doing. I wouldn’t change it for anything. It really makes me appreciate the value of living.”
Families of her patients praise Sheila for her warmth and compassionate care, while her team members appreciate her ongoing support, including a recent fund-raiser for a teammate. “When someone is in need, you step up and you help,” she says with humility. “And if you’re not able, you rally everybody around and you help.”
VITAS® Healthcare in Palm Beach County
Florence Toussaint-Bellegarde, RN
Florence Toussaint-Bellegarde knew she wanted to be a nurse when she was seven years old, as she watched her grandmother struggle with asthma and felt called to learn to care for her. Florence’s father, however, had other ideas: He wanted her to be a dentist.
A sudden relocation shook up those plans and opened the door for Florence to pursue her childhood dream. In 2011, she joined VITAS as a home care nurse in Palm Beach, where she still works today.
For Florence, the best part of the job is the feeling of having helped someone at the end of the day, even if it’s a single step out of bed.
“I love nursing,” Florence says. “Nursing to me is second nature, it’s what I’ve committed my life to. And I love what I do right now with hospice: bringing comfort to both patients and their families.”
Lisa Powers, RN
After graduating from the University of Connecticut in 1989, Lisa Powers, RN, pursued her dream of working as a traveling nurse, spending five years in hospitals, emergency departments and intensive care units in Hawaii and Washington, D.C.
Hospice nursing had always intrigued her, especially after experiencing the death of her grandparents on hospice care. She switched to hospice nursing 25 years ago, and today she cares for VITAS patients in assisted care facilities in Palm Beach County.
“My grandparents’ hospice nurses were wonderful,” she says. “They put everyone at ease, got everyone on the same page. I knew then that hospice nursing was my calling, and I fell in love with it. In my personal life, I really like to get to know people, and I don’t like fluff. In hospice nursing there’s no fluff. People share their most personal secrets and thoughts with you, and you help them die at home. To be a nurse in the last stages of someone’s life is just wonderful.”
VITAS® Healthcare in Miami-Dade County
Barbara Avila, LPN
Officially, Barbara Avila is a home care LPN for VITAS patients in the Dade-Monroe area, but her primary role is as a patient advocate. When a patient’s status changes, it’s up to Barbara to alert the team’s primary nurse. This requires a careful eye, clinical expertise and a close relationship with the patient—and by all accounts, Barbara excels in all three skills.
“Barbara is vigilant in addressing any concerns of patients or families, and always adheres to our VITAS value, ‘Patients and families come first,’” said Raicely LeonRodriguez, her team manager.
Barbara has been commended by Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) surveyors for her strict observation of AHCA regulations when administering medication to VITAS patients. Barbara’s sense of caring and compassion guide her in every interaction, whether with patients, families or fellow team members.
Eduardo Noriega, RN
The sign of a dedicated hospice nurse is evident in the comments and feedback from patients and families.
“Eduardo’s patients and families do not want any other nurse!” says the VITAS team manager of Eduardo Noriega, RN, a VITAS home care nurse. Numerous letters and phone calls praise him for his compassion, positive attitude and hard work. “He is never in a rush and is open to listening at all times. He celebrates all of his patients’ birthdays with cakes and balloons, and he participates in the preparation of VITAS veteran salutes at home.”
Around the office, Eduardo is known as “Team 139 Superman.” He volunteers to work weekends so a co-worker can attend school. When colleagues experience car problems, he steps in as a mechanic. He is a member of the VITAS team for the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run, participates in Relay for Life events and volunteers for the Animal Society on his days off.
Florida International University’s Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences
Ellen Brown, EdD, MS, RN, FAAN
Ellen Brown is cultivating the future landscape of elder care with her nationally recognized research in Gerontological Nursing.
From the National Institute of Mental Health to local foundations, Brown has earned support for innovations in geriatric depression care, caregiver education, and service delivery. She has played a significant role in developing “CareHeroes,” an app designed to improve dementia care coordination, support family caregivers and increase utilization of community-based resources. She was recognized by the American Academy of Nursing’s (AAN) Raise the Voice Edge Runner Program for creating the Training in the Assessment of Depression program to identify and treat depression of older adults in home healthcare settings.
Brown is currently an associate professor of nursing at Florida International University’s Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences. She is an elected member of the AAN and a founding editorial board member of the Research in Gerontological Nursing journal.
C. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics, Health Care District of Palm Beach County
Maria Chamberlin, RN, BSN
As a Nurse Manager at the C. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics, Maria Chamberlin, RN, BSN, supervises clinic staff, provides staff training and education, and ensures patients receive high-quality care. After four years of working as a nurse at the University of Miami Hospital, Maria joined the Health Care District as a nurse in 2014. She was promoted to Senior Clinical Nurse three years later with the additional responsibility of training the clinical team. Maria graduated with a degree in nursing and a BSN from the University of Miami. She is a Mexican immigrant who sought medical care at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) similar to the Brumback Clinics shortly after moving to the U.S. Maria feels strongly about the Health Care District’s safety net mission and the patients she serves.
Calalisa Olivier, LPN
Calalisa Olivier, LPN, has worked as a MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) Nurse at the C. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinic in Lantana since 2017 when the MAT pilot program was launched. The maintenance therapy program for patients with substance abuse disorders combines the administration of FDA-approved medication along with behavioral health services, peer counseling and other social support services to help restore patients’ overall health and lives. Calalisa is currently pursuing her RN degree at Palm Beach State College while working full-time and has worked in the field of substance use disorder treatment for the past decade. She has a passion for the behavioral health field and thrives on helping patients with mental health or addiction issues.
Edward J. Healey Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Health Care District of Palm Beach County
Claudette Miller-Garcia, BS, RN, LHRM
Claudette Miller-Garcia, BS, RN, LHRM, is the Director of Clinical Services at the Edward J. Healey Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Riviera Beach. Claudette began her career there in 2013 as Risk Manager and was promoted to the Director of Clinical Services two years later where she oversees the nursing and therapy departments, medical records, risk management, education, and the infection control and Quality Assurance Performance Improvement (QAPI) programs. Claudette’s career spans over 40 years in hospitals and long-term care facilities with experience in nursing, risk management, quality and performance improvement as well as regulatory compliance for the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), The Joint Commission and The American Osteopathic Association. Claudette is a graduate of Kingston School of Nursing in Jamaica and she holds a Baccalaureate of Science in Health Care Administration from St. Joseph’s College in New York. She is passionate about her role in regulatory compliance and committed to high-quality care, her faith and family.
Terretha Smith, RN, BSN, LHRM, CDONA
Terretha Smith, RN, BSN, LHRM, CDONA, was recently promoted to Director of Clinical Services after serving in the role of Risk Manager at the Edward J. Healey Rehabilitation and Nursing Center since 2016. Terretha has over 26 years of experience in long-term care nursing and is a member of the Florida Society for Healthcare Risk Management and Patient Safety (FSHRMPS), National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration (NADONA), and American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordination (AANAC). She was honored to be selected by the Florida Health Care Association to attend the first Executive Nurse Leadership Academy in February 2019. Terretha received her BSN from Chamberlain University in Illinois and started her career as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Jupiter Medical Center. She continued her passion for nursing as a Licensed Practical Nurse and received her nursing degree from the Academy for Nursing and Health Occupations. Terretha is an exemplary leader who is ardent about delivering quality care. She is also proud of her two children and granddaughter.
Lakeside Medical Center, Health Care District of Palm Beach County
Claudia Fuentes, RN
Claudia Fuentes, RN, has been an ER Nurse at Lakeside Medical Center since 2012. Claudia immigrated from Mexico when she was 12 years old and was guided to nursing by a personal experience. Her second son was born prematurely and died a week after birth. This opened her eyes to the medical field and the nursing profession. Claudia received her nursing degree from Keiser University in Fort Lauderdale and her bachelor’s degree from Chamberlain University in Illinois. After two years on the surgical floors at the former Columbia Hospital in West Palm Beach, she was recruited as an ER Nurse at Lakeside Medical Center. For the past seven years, Claudia has loved being a part of the ER team. For Claudia, nursing is her calling and being an ER nurse is a privilege. Claudia is passionate about nursing and being a mother to her son and daughter.
Georgia Burke, RN, RRT, BSN
Georgia Burke, RN, RRT, BSN, earned her degree in nursing from Excelsior College in New York and her BSN from South University in Georgia, where she graduated with the prestigious honor of Summa Cum Laude. Georgia’s passion for health care has afforded her the privilege of working in various hospital specialties including ICU, CVICU, PCU, PACU, ER and dialysis at Davita Broward Health North Unit, Fresenius West Palm Beach and Westside Regional Hospital. Since 2015, Georgia has been working in the dialysis unit at Lakeside Medical Center where she educates patients on how to improve their quality of life and manage their medical needs. Outside of work, she likes to volunteer at her daughter’s elementary school. Her heart for service is guided by her strong religious principles and faith.
Utilization Management, Health Care District of Palm Beach County
Eileen Perry, RN
Eileen Perry, RN, is Director of Utilization Management at the Health Care District of Palm Beach County where she has dedicated the past nine years to providing quality care to the county’s underserved. In her role, she provides leadership in the specialty areas of utilization review, case management, and Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) quality review. With over 20 years of experience as an RN, Eileen is certified in medical coding and auditing and has practiced in the areas of Case Management, Practice Operations, ICU, OR, and PACU. She is a member of the National Association for Healthcare Quality and the National Health Care for the Homeless Coalition. Eileen serves as a volunteer member of the Palm Beach County HIV Care Council Advisory Board.
Samantha Nedd, RN, BSN
Samantha Nedd, RN, BSN, has been the Care Coordinator with the Utilization Management Department of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County for one year. She joined the Health Care District in 2015 as a Nurse Reviewer where she reviewed authorizations and inpatient stays. In her current role, Samantha trains new nurses in the department and reviews Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures for the C. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics to help patients receive high-quality medical and dental care. She received her BSN in nursing from the City University of New York Lehman College and has over 28 years of nursing experience in the ER, home health, psychiatry and pediatrics. Samantha is committed to her profession of delivering quality, compassionate care and to her work family at the Health Care District.
School Health, Health Care District of Palm Beach County
Donna Williams, RN, BSN
Donna Williams, RN, BSN, has been a registered nurse for the School Health Program at the Health Care District of Palm Beach County since 1999. She has over 20 years of experience in the nursing field in areas such as pediatrics, med-surgical medicine and geriatrics and has also worked with individuals with catastrophic injuries, long-term care, rehab and hospice care. Donna obtained her Associates Degree in Nursing from Concordia College/Mount Vernon School of Nursing in New York and her BSN from Florida Atlantic University. In 2009, she also expanded her entrepreneurial endeavors and helped open her family’s first Assisted Living Home. Previously, Donna worked as a nurse/house supervisor for the Health Care District’s skilled nursing facility, the Edward J. Healey Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, and at the former Columbia Hospital on the Medical Surgical floor. She enjoys living life to the fullest with her three children.
Oramari McCarthy, RN, BSN
Oramari McCarthy, RN, BSN, received her nursing degree from Broward Community College and her BSN from Florida Atlantic University. In 1994, Oramari began her nursing career with Boca Raton Community Hospital in their School Nurse Pilot Program at Boca Raton Community High School. In 2008, she joined the Health Care District of Palm Beach County as a school nurse, remaining at the same high school in Boca Raton. Oramari is motivated by her commitment to the good health and well-being of her students. She provides education on a daily basis and feels it is necessary for high school students to be informed about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, learning to be independent and taking charge of their health needs.
Jackson Plaza Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center
Sergo Colin, BSN
Sergo Colin is the Director of Nursing for Jackson Plaza Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing and Center. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to his role as a certified nurse in the state of Florida who possesses basic life support, advanced cardiovascular life support, and pediatric advanced life support certifications, as well as medical-surgical, telemetry, and psychiatric nursing experience. In his current role, Sergo is responsible for ensuring that all nursing staff members at Jackson Plaza maintain high quality standards of patient care. As well, he monitors and maintains data that improves unit efficiencies. Sergo has a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) and is currently completing his Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN). 
Sabine Moise, RN
Sabine Moise is the Assistant Director of Nursing for Jackson Plaza Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center. Sabine has long been dedicated to fulfilling a career in nursing having received her Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) certification from the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) of New York in 1997. She began working as an LPN at Jackson Plaza in 2001. As part of her educational and career advancement goals, Sabine went on to complete her registered nurse (RN) training in 2011 at Broward Community College while still serving in her role at Jackson Plaza. In 2012, she became a nurse manager; and, in 2016, she went on to become the Assistant Director of Nursing at Jackson Plaza, a role in which she currently serves. 
Arch Plaza Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center
Nick Pana, RN
Nick Pana is the Director of Nursing for Arch Plaza Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center. Nick has been part of the Plaza Health Network for 10 years having served in the roles of floor nurse and nurse supervisor at both Arch Plaza and Aventura Plaza. He became Director of Nursing at Arch Plaza in June of 2017. In his role, he manages a staff of expert nurses, is part of an interdisciplinary team that customizes care plans, and oversees the care of all patients within the 98-bed facility. Nick takes great pride in creating a compassionate environment at Arch Plaza where residents, families, and co-workers are treated as family.
Martine Azalee Morency, RN
Martine Azalee Morency is a nursing supervisor at Arch Plaza Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center. Martine received her Associate of Arts Nursing degree in 2005 from Miami-Dade College followed by her Registered Nurse (RN) degree in 2013. She continues to remain focused on her professional development and, this year, began working towards her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. Martine is MDS (Minimum Data Set) certified and has prior experience in medical-surgical and orthopedic nursing. In her role, Martine provides guidance to Arch Plaza’s nursing department as well as manages patient data and medical records. She enjoys working alongside other compassionate nurses who are dedicated to improving the health of their patients. Martine is multilingual and speaks English, Creole, French, and some Spanish.
Aventura Plaza Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center
Farah Claude, LPN
Farah Claude is the Director of Nursing for Aventura Plaza Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center. She began her career as a phlebotomist and medical assistant. Her dedication and compassion for patient care lead her to pursue a degree as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). In 2003, she joined the Plaza Health Network where she worked as a wound care nurse. Her diligence and detailed attention to patients resulted in the opportunity for her to take on various roles within the network including charge nurse, unit manager, supervisor, education coordinator, and Assistant Director of Nursing. Farah is certified as a Licensed Health Care Risk Manager and MDS coordinator. In her current role, she dedicates herself to providing optimal care to her patients by being a patient advocate.
Daphnee Darbouze, BSN
Daphnee Darbouze is a charge nurse at Aventura Plaza Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center. Daphnee earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing in 2016 from Brown Mackie College before beginning her career as a patient case manager in 2014. In 2018, she joined the Plaza Health Network organization where she works to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the patients she cares for. Daphnee became a nurse because she receives great joy in serving the elderly community and providing them comfort in their time of need.
Sinai Plaza Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center
Amanda Prophete, RN, MSN
Amanda Prophete is the Director of Nursing for Sinai Plaza Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center. As the eldest child in her family, Amanda was in a caretaker role from early on. It’s what prompted her to earn her certification in Practical Nursing from Sheridan Technical College, followed by a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) degree, an Associate of Science Degree in Nursing from Broward College, a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Education from the University of Phoenix, and ultimately as Master’s Degree in Nursing Education. Amanda started her nursing career at South Pointe Plaza before moving on to becoming an Assistant Director of Nursing at Vi in Aventura. She soon returned to the Plaza Health Network family to serve in her current role where she ensures that patients’ needs are satisfied, safety measures are in place, and provides staff education. Amanda prides herself on staying abreast of innovative methodologies to patient care that are evidence-based and patient-centered.
Carlos Aurrecoechea, RN
Carlos Aurrecoechea is the Assistant Director of Nursing for Sinai Plaza Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center. Carlos begin his career in healthcare in 1988 as a patient representative at Palmetto General Hospital. His passion for healthcare led him to complete his Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) certification in 2007 and then his Registered Nurse (RN) degree in 2010. During this time, Carlos gained experience in home health care, as a floor nurse, in an emergency room setting, risk management, and even as a nurse within the Broward County Jail before joining Sinai Plaza. In his current role, Carlos is valued as a nurse advocate and has been influential in inspiring his own children to seek out a career in the medical field. Carlos is currently working towards obtaining his Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from Aspen University.
Ponce Plaza Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center
David Lima, MSN
David Lima is the Director of Nursing for Ponce Plaza Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center. David has a Master’s of Nursing degree from the University of Miami and is certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Throughout his eight years at Ponce Plaza, David has worked as an MDS plan coordinator, unit manager, facility supervisor, and assistant director of nursing before stepping into his current role. His objectives are to ensure patients receive the highest level of quality care and ensuring that his staff has the proper tools to achieve their goals.
Yaima Pargas, RN
Yaima Pargas is the Assistant Director of Nursing for Ponce Plaza Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center. After receiving her Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) certification in 2012, she began working as a staff nurse at Ponce Plaza. During that time, she also obtained her Registered Nurse (RN) Associate’s Degree from Dade Medical College. Her attention to detail, dependability, and devotion to patients enabled her to work her way up to a nursing supervisor position and then her current role. She is currently pursuing her Advance Practice Registered Nurse Degree at Chamberlain University.
University Plaza Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center
Yamile Rivero, BSN
Yamile Rivero is the Director of Nursing for University Plaza Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center. Yamile earned her nursing degree from Barry University and Keiser University. She also obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from South University. She has been with the Plaza Health Network organization since 2012 having been the MDS coordinator for Sinai Plaza for five years and, before that, as a floor nurse in other facilities.
Cristina Cueto, RN
Cristina Cueto is the Assistant Director of Nursing for University Plaza Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center. She completed her Registered Nurse (RN) degree at Miami Regional College and has been with the Plaza Health Network organization for seven years. During that time, Cristina has served in various departments within the organization including activities, admission, and nursing. In her current role, Cristina prides herself on being able to provide education and training to the nursing staff.
Memorial Regional Hospital
Amanda Imler, RN, BSN, CNRN, SCRN
Amanda Imler is a nurse in the neurology unit at Memorial Regional Hospital, most often working with patients that have had strokes, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. While the clinical and rehabilitative aspects of getting those individuals back to their highest level of functioning is critically important, so too is the mental side of recovery.
“We care for patients in the acute setting, and it’s rewarding to educate them and their families on what can be accomplished moving forward after a traumatic event,” said Imler. “There is great satisfaction in seeing and hearing how we’ve helped them adapt to a ‘new normal.’”
Imler has been part of the 7 South team at Memorial Regional for the past five years and considers the unit her second family. “Every day is different and our culture is what I most appreciate. I am continuing my education as a nurse practitioner and plan on staying in the neurology field, hopefully within the Memorial Healthcare System.”
Memorial Hospital Pembroke
Amy Madison, RN, CWCA
Amy Madison has been a nurse at Memorial Hospital Pembroke for nearly two decades and has cared for patients in a variety of units, including telemetry, hospice, intensive care, and, for the past nine years, as an inpatient wound care specialist. In that role, she works with diabetics, those with pressure injuries, surgical wounds, circulation-related issues, and sickle cell patients, educating them about wound prevention, care strategies, and the importance of protein to the healing process.
Nursing has been top-of-mind for Madison since she was a child, when she witnessed the care her mother received before passing away. Of her nearly 20 years at Memorial Hospital Pembroke she says, “We treat patients how you’d want your own family to be cared for. Ours is a smaller hospital, the interaction between doctors and nurses is excellent, and we’re all treated well.”
Mary Meneses, RN, MSN
Mary Meneses is a nurse manager in the surgical/telemetry unit at Memorial Hospital Pembroke, a place she has grown as a professional and calls home.
Meneses worked as a bedside nurse for two years before spending the same amount of time as a clinical manager. She says the transition to an administrative role has been a smooth one. “I know all the shifts, understand their workflow, and what the nurses need to be most efficient. That experience enables me to provide advice, fix problems, and help improve day-to-day operations.”
Meneses, a graduate of the University of Florida and Florida Atlantic University, is most proud of the relationships she has with fellow nurses. “There’s a family feel to our unit and we share our personal lives with each other. It’s a safe place where everyone can learn and grow. There’s a sense of community here.”
Memorial Home Health Services
Chakaya Lozano-Rexach, RN
Chakaya Lozano-Rexach had already been a nurse in hospitals for 18 years when her own daughter required a visit to an emergency room within the Memorial Healthcare System. It was an experience that changed the course of her career. “I was so impressed with the compassionate service we received. It was then I knew I wanted to be part of that.”
A home health nurse for the past two years, Lozano-Rexach appreciates the opportunity to learn everything about her patients and treat more than just their medical condition. “They’ve invited you into their safe space, so it’s important to develop trust and deliver great customer service. We do that by understanding their culture, needs, family dynamics, and living environment. It all has to be conducive to the patient’s well-being.”
Lozano-Rexach has won awards for her approach to care and now passes that knowledge to new nurses she onboards as a preceptor.
Jennifer Schumacher, RN
Jennifer Schumacher has been part of the Memorial Healthcare System for three years, with the last 12 months coming as a home health nurse. She had previously worked in hematology/oncology.
The switch to caring for patients in their home has led to the development of new skills, with creativity required when resources are available but the hospital structure is not. The ability to assess an individual’s overall health status is critically important as is the willingness to adapt a plan of care to what is being seen on-site.
“Accountability is the key to this type of nursing,” Schumacher said. “You’re your own case manager, patient and family advocate, and have to be a person who’ll go the extra mile to ensure needs are met.”
A nurse preceptor, Schumacher has won Memorial’s Patient First Award twice, been a Daisy Award nominee, and a Memorial Angel.
Memorial Hospital Miramar
Jennie Wright-D’Orazio, RN, APRN
Jennie Wright-D’Orazio is the emergency room clinical manager at Memorial Hospital Miramar. Her responsibilities include bedside care, monitoring the flow of ER patients, coordinating patient needs and transfers with labs and other departments, and responding to all codes within the hospital.
Wright-D’Orazio has been part of the care team in Miramar for more than 14 years, beginning work the day the hospital opened, following time spent as an EMT after high school. She says the facility is very family-oriented and its many longtime employees work well together.
“I appreciate how active Memorial is in the community,” said Wright-D’Orazio, a clinical manager since 2012. “We participate in events, collaborate with EMS, and improve the lives of residents in our area.”
Mariagala Morales, RN
Mariagala Morales admits her job can be an “emotional rollercoaster,” but her work in the cardiac telemetry area of Memorial Hospital Miramar also comes with major benefits.
“I’m selfishly selfless, so helping people on some of the worst days of their lives brings joy to my soul,” said Morales, who most often works with those who have had heart failure. “I enjoy seeing them go from really sick to a much better place.”
Morales has been involved in many aspects of care delivery in her two years in the Memorial system – including making assessments, implementing procedures, and administering medication – but feels being a patient advocate is her most important role. It’s there that she can best bring skills and compassion learned from parents who were both nurses to relationships that bridge the space between the medical staff, patients, and families.
Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital
Lina Puntervold, RN, BSN, MPH, CIC, LSSGB
Lina Puntervold is an infection control preventionist who is often the bridge between administrative and clinical departments at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital (JDCH). It’s a role she has embraced for nearly a decade. “I love collaborating with experts in different areas and learning from them for the benefit of our patients, families, and care providers.”
Puntervold, a former NICU nurse, is on the front lines of public health, working with her team to maintain control of communicable diseases in the children’s hospital that include measles and other vaccine preventable diseases. They also focus on preventing hospital-acquired infections and analyze data to make recommendations that ensure JDCH continues to be among the safest medical facilities in the region.
A current challenge for Puntervold involves the four-story vertical expansion of the children’s hospital and maintaining optimal conditions for patients and staff during a massive construction project. “This career requires our fingers to be on a lot of pulses. It’s never boring,” she said.
Lisette Kaplan, RN, BSN, CCRN
For the past 18 years, long before its home was a free-standing building, Lisette Kaplan has been having an impact for patients, families, and staff at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.
Starting as a critical care nurse before transitioning to a nursing educator, Kaplan has always made it a priority to bring positivity to challenging situations. Whether that’s done through the classes she now teaches, in planning sessions, when onboarding new nurses, or working with clinicians, her focus is on uplifting people for the common goal of providing the best patient and family-centered care possible.
“I adore this place,” Kaplan said about the children’s hospital, “and love working with kids. Their innocence and desire to get better inspires me. It’s a privilege to be around them and their families, helping navigate the difficult situations they are facing.”
Memorial Hospital West
Lisandra Rodriguez, RN
Lisandra Rodriguez, RN, has a passion for helping patients and leaving a smile on their faces at the end of each day. She serves in acute care oncology at Memorial Hospital West.
This recent graduate launched her career at Memorial Hospital West in November where it was her goal to be since the start of nursing school. Knowing that she wanted to explore many areas in nursing drove her ambition and dedication to start there.
“What I like most about the nursing career is its versatility. There are so many roles you can fulfill for your patients as a nurse. Being a nurse is exciting to me because you are always learning and improving yourself as a professional and as a person.”
Her message to those who wish to pursue a career in healthcare is to love what you do and always give the best of yourself every time you are with a patient.
Miguel Hernandez, RN
Miguel Hernandez, RN, began his relationship with Memorial Healthcare System as a patient care associate five years ago. Today he serves as a nurse at Memorial Hospital West in the Joint Replacement Program.
In that time, he has been recognized for his passion to the field as a Champion of Privacy, the High Performer award, and the Daisy Award.
“At nursing school, you can learn the techniques and protocols of evidence-based practice, but the courtesy, compassion, and dedication that comes with working in the health sector, is part of a personal decision of giving our best to impact a person for the rest of his/her life.
To Hernandez, his passion is evident as he describes the extended role nurses perform with regard to the patient experience.
“My goal each day is to contribute to the formation of a work environment that favors the provision of a high quality healthcare service and that positively impacts the life of the patient and family as well as the outcome of the unit and the hospital.”
Memorial Regional Hospital South
Bianca Millien, RN
The unpredictability and pace of the operating room might make some hesitant to be a part of, but not for Bianca Millien, RN, who joined the O.R. team at Memorial Regional Hospital South a little over a year ago.
“My number one goal is that my patients are safe because I am their advocate and I watch over everything that happens in the O.R. for the highest quality of care,” said Millien. “I want to make sure all of their questions are answered before the surgery and that they feel comfortable and relaxed.”
What’s the best thing about being a nurse? Millien said, “That I can help my patients in their time of greatest need. It makes me happy to hear that they had a great experience at our hospital due to the effort and personalized care we provide as a team.
To be a successful O.R. nurse, Millien feels you need a combination of compassion, commitment and assertiveness. “You have to be passionate about what you do! A career in healthcare is not just a job, it is a commitment to your patients that every day you will give 110% to make sure they are safe.”
Suvitha Chandran, RN, BSN
Suvitha Chandran, RN, BSN, serves as a clinical manager of acute care at Memorial Regional Hospital South, which is home to South Florida’s largest provider of physical rehabilitation services known as Memorial Rehabilitation Institute. She specializes in telemetry, medical surgical and IMCU also known as intermediate care.
Her 17-year nursing career started in India where she gained telemetry and ICU experience. In 2007 she transferred to the United States and joined Memorial Healthcare System in 2008.
“My goal is to provide safe and high quality service to all of my patients and families by exemplifying compassion,” said Chandran. “As the first point of contact, nurses help uplift spirits and calm nerves contributing to positive patient outcomes.”
Chandra stresses that nurses are the cornerstone of healthcare systems because the profession is highly rewarding for individuals who genuinely care about people at every ages. “Providing emotional support and encouragement allows patients to feel uplifted and stay positive”
Memorial Primary Care Hallandale Office
Tracey Borden, LPN 
For 20 years, Tracey Borden, LPN, has served the healthcare profession in a variety of roles and all for the purpose of ensuring that patients were compliant with their treatment plans.
She joined Memorial Healthcare System 13 years ago and has enjoyed connecting with patients and being an intricate part of their treatment plans. She appreciates the whole continuum of care the healthcare system provides and its patient-centered care philosophy that involves patients and their families in health care decisions.
Borden, who serves at Memorial Primary Care’s Hallandale Office, works the operational side now specializing in case management and emergency department diversion. She has been in that role for about 18 months.
“My goal is to make sure each patient has their annual exam, that I review the patient’s social determinant of health to meet their access need to care, and to be cost effective for them,” said Borden.
Her work has been recognized by Memorial Healthcare System with the Life Saver Award in previous years.
Jupiter Medical Center
Aimee L. Hammond, RN, BSN, C-EFM
A graduate of the University of Florida, College of Nursing, Aimee L. Hammond has worked as a labor and delivery nurse for eight years. She is passionate about her work and shares each mother’s joy of bringing new life into the world. Aimee is skilled in caring for high-risk antepartum, vaginal and cesarean section deliveries, and postpartum couplet care. Her primary responsibilities include assessment and management of labor progression, assisting in deliveries, and helping women feel comfortable and confident in their birth process. Aimee’s commitment to her career goes beyond direct patient care. As chair of the hospital’s Professional Development and Retention Council, Aimee is dedicated to helping the hospital recruit and retain outstanding nurses. Her work with the council includes promoting the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses at Jupiter Medical Center, organizing certification opportunities for team members through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, and more. Aimee’s team members appreciate her sunny disposition, ever-present smile and can-do attitude, no matter the circumstances.
Lisa Hanusin, RN, MSN, SCRN
Lisa Hanusin, RN, MSN, SCRN, has wanted to be a nurse since she was 7 years old. Today, she passionately pursues her profession with the goal of making a difference in the lives of her patients and nurses just beginning their career. Lisa is the program coordinator for the Comprehensive Stroke and Chest Pain programs at Jupiter Medical Center. Her responsibilities include ensuring that the hospital meets Joint Commission standards for Comprehensive Stroke Center designation and Chest Pain Center certification. She also develops team education on quality indicators and standards, and she meets with patients to ensure they understand their medical condition, as well as preventive measures. Lisa is a member of the Stroke and Chest Pain Advisory Councils. She received her Bachelor of Science of Nursing degree from Valparaiso University School of Nursing and her Master of Science, in nursing education from Western Governors University. Lisa is working toward a doctoral degree in nursing practice through Capella University.
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Gustavo Castillo, RN
Gustavo Castillo, RN, decided to become a nurse when he saw the difference nurses made for his father before he passed away. “That was the moment when I saw what nurses do at a difficult time for patients,” he said. “That’s why I realized that was what I’d like to do. We do that every day, not only for patients but for family members too – they go through difficult times and you have to be there for them.”
Castillo now works with oncology patients of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, after they have surgery at UHealth Tower. He moved from Cuba to Greece for some of his education, and then he finished his nursing studies at Miami-Dade College and Chamberlain College of Nursing. Before coming to UHealth Tower, Castillo worked at West Gables Rehabilitation Hospital.
“He’s extremely outgoing, he cares a lot about his patients, and they really feel a connection with him,” said Allen M. Johnson, BSN, RN, nurse manager of the surgical oncology stepdown unit. “He makes everything a priority when it comes to the patient. He is certainly one of our stars.”
Cristina Chong, RN
When Cristina Chong, RN, moved from Cuba to the United States at age 25, she saw a perfect opportunity to help people, and began studying to become a nurse. She earned an associate’s degree at Miami-Dade College, became certified as a critical care nurse, earned a bachelor’s degree, and is close to completing her master’s. After several years at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital, she now works in the intensive care unit at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Why the ICU? “I like the challenge of learning every single day,” Chong said. “We are the ones who are 24 hours at the bedside. We’re the first impression and the last impression for the patients – we do everything for them.”
It is important to Chong to be part of a teaching hospital. “You learn from everybody, including the doctors and the fellows. Because they are at the bedside all the time, you can learn new procedures and new protocols to help patients.”
Florida Atlantic University Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing
Charlotte D. Barry, PhD
Dr. Charlotte Barry, professor, has made sustained and outstanding contributions to nursing as a result of her expertise in community nursing practice, education and research. She has been on the leading edge of developing community-based programs that focus on overcoming barriers in the delivery of quality care to children and families in the U.S. and globally. In Haiti, Dr. Barry is collaborating with other scholars in developing community-based, culturally sensitive mental health services; in Thailand, she is participating in the development of multidisciplinary participation programs for caring for patients with diabetes mellitus; and in Uganda, she is helping promote policies that focus on preventing the transmission of the ebola virus to nurses. The positive outcomes of Dr. Barry’s community-based scholarship are transforming nursing practice through curricula change, community immersion and policy development.
Susan Bulfin, DNP, ARNP, FNP-BC
Dr. Susan Bulfin has been a Family Nurse Practitioner for over 37 years with recent positions as Director of the DNP Programs at Florida Atlantic University and Mercer University. She actively explores compelling issues around nurse practitioner education and has worked with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties in planning programs to promote excellence in didactic and clinical education. She attended the National Human Genome Research Institute Genomics Short Course and served as a guest lecturer on genomics for nurse practitioners in Georgia. Through her work with the CDC and the Institute for Health Care Improvement, she has advanced improvement science as a guiding framework for nurse practitioners to enhance health outcomes. Her currently HRSA funded programs are aimed at preparing nurse practitioners for employment in underserved settings.
ColoWell America
Dr. Johanna Alvarez Ortiz
When you visit ColoWell America in Tampa, FL you are greeted by a professional and experienced team. ColoWell America proudly introduces Dr. Johanna Alvarez Ortiz: a distinguished bilingual medical graduate from Venezuela, who is currently studying for her USMLE board exams. She is the Nurse and Office Manager for this specialty colorectal and medical marijuana practice. While handling her roles, she has helped the clinic grow from the ground up, bringing sunshine to all of its patients with her uplifting and smiling personality. Contact Dr. Johanna for questions and appointments at ColoWell America - where hemorrhoid treatment, anorectal and colorectal surgical procedures, as well as routine colonoscopies and endoscopies are performed. Dr. Johanna also helps with medical marijuana recommendation inquiries and certification. ColoWell America patients love coming to see Dr. Johanna. She makes compassionate care simple and accessible.
Cleveland Clinic Florida
Santa De La Torre, RN
Santa De La Torre joined Cleveland Clinic Weston in 2003 as a Registered Nurse. She is an outstanding leader who delivers compassionate care to her patients and is dedicated, loyal and consistently models Cleveland Clinic’s values in her daily work. In fact, Santa was one of the first nurses to complete biotherapy/chemotherapy courses to better serve Cleveland Clinic’s patients and the community.
Over the years, Santa has forged strong relationships with multidisciplinary teams to improve health outcomes for patients, in addition to juggling multiple responsibilities as a staff nurse, charge nurse and relief assistant nurse manager. Santa is also a leader in joint commission readiness, conducting environmental rounds, enforcing safety measures and providing education to staff members as needed. She has been instrumental in the onboarding of new nurses during Cleveland Clinic’s expansion, sharing best practices to improve patient care.
Cleveland Clinic Weston
Janie Renaud, RN
Janie Renaud has been with Cleveland Clinic Weston since 2003. She began her career as a patient care technician, crossed trained as a hospital unit coordinator and continued to pursue her education to become a registered nurse, while balancing work and home life. Janie consistently displays exceptional service behaviors and cares for patients with compassion and integrity.
Janie has developed a wealth of knowledge while working in the Medical/Surgical unit, where she leads the skin champion team to impact quality, safety and patient outcomes. She has also taken the lead in working with the Quality department in the inpatient areas, focusing on skin prevention and education. Janie takes a collaborative approach to patient care, as well as encourages and educates peers to deliver a positive patient experience. She is an engaged caregiver and is committed to Cleveland Clinic’s mission and values.
St. John’s Nursing Center
Yvonne A. Deveaux, LPN
Yvonne Deveaux is a dedicated hardworking individual whose patients are visibly happier when she’s on shift. She rises to the occasion and solves problems as quickly as they develop. She always has a big smile on her face. She is a great team player as well as a team leader.
Cherrylee White, LPN
Cherrylee White was made for nursing. She is bright, committed, organized and quite knowledgeable. She is an efficient worker with a warm welcoming smile and a great team player.
Cleveland Clinic Martin Health
Tanya Carbonell, RN, BSN, MHA

Tanya Carbonell, RN, BSN, MHA, joined Cleveland Clinic Martin Health in 2009 as a staff nurse in the free-standing emergency department (ED) in west Port St. Lucie. Since that time, she has benefited from Martin Health scholarship programs and tuition assistance, as well as the organization’s Emerging Leaders program.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Indian River College, Carbonell completed her master’s at Florida Atlantic University. She served in several supervisory positions before taking on her current role as director of patient care services in the ED at Cleveland Clinic Martin North Hospital in Stuart.
“As a nurse, I discovered the joy of helping people,” Carbonell said. “As an administrator, I still help our patients, but I do that by supporting our incredible ED team and providing them with what they need to provide exceptional care to the patients we serve.”
Kathlyn McGlynn, RN, BSN
Kathlyn McGlynn, RN, BSN, began her career in health care as a patient sitter at Cleveland Clinic Martin North Hospital in Stuart. Soon after, she chose to pursue a career in nursing; she completed her bachelor of science degree in nursing at Indian River State College. As her experience and knowledge broadened, McGlynn worked her way up from graduate nurse, to clinical coordinator and into her current position as nurse manager of labor and delivery at Cleveland Clinic Martin North Hospital.
“Labor and delivery is such a happy place,” McGlynn said. “Our patients choose to have their baby here and we want to make sure they receive the best care possible.”
McGlynn views her labor and delivery team like a family. “We have a lot of experienced nurses who have a lot to contribute” she said. “As a team, we are committed to keeping the patient front and center.&rdq
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