Straight Talk - "Nurses' Week"

May 16, 2013

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Last week was Nurses’ Week across the nation, and it gave us a chance to reflect on what a great year it has been for our wonderful NCH nurses, who mean so much to our reputation for competent and compassionate care (see the video which CNO Michele Thoman’s State of Nurses address started with,

Here’s a glimpse of what our nurses have helped accomplish over this past year.

  • The ASPIRE (Achieving, Success, Professionalism, Integrity, Rewarding, Excellence) program aims to enhance the quality of care, improve patient outcomes, reward excellence, and promote nursing satisfaction. It had 320 participants—up nearly 50% from a year earlier. This clinical career ladder program stresses intellectual curiosity and life-long learning, as well as financial rewards for the upper three of the five levels.

  • The number of certified nurses in their specialties has more than doubled in four years, from 60 to 140. The number of Bachelor of Science or higher degreed nurses has more than doubled in the past four years.

  • We continued down the Pathway to Excellence on the road toward becoming a Magnet Hospital. Our goals on this journey are three: (1) Improving patient care; (2) Providing a great place to work; and (3) Strengthening the ability of nurses to advance individually. This program is just another indication of the high value NCH places on its nurses.

  • Objective quality continued to improve this year. Falls, pressure ulcers, physical restraints, central line infections, catheter associated infections, global immunization, deep vein thrombosis prevention, and our own self-assessment are all the best we have ever been and compare favorably with the best national standards. More than 90% of our central lines are now inserted at the bedside by nurses, a process which is safer for patients.

  • Board members spent time walking the floors with nurses. Board Chair Mariann McDonald summarized the feelings of all, “Nursing is not an easy job, it changes moment to moment . . . these men and women are so dedicated to what they do.”

Nurses Week culminated with an award ceremony on the beautiful lawn of the Naples Beach Hotel. Scores of NCH nurses were recognized (, including our newest category—the Thelma Hodges Nurse Mentors of the Year—with RNs Eileen Haely, ICU, and Jeri Petersen, Brookdale, winning. Other winners included Nurses of the Year Elizabeth Foster, 3South downtown, and Stephen Taylor, 5th floor North Naples; Rising Star (nurses new to the profession) Leonardo Ricardo, 3S downtown, and Kevin Turner, Brookdale; Nursing Technician Support Superstars Eleanor Johnson, Care Technician (CT) 3N, and Guillermo Castellanos, CT 4th floor; and Nursing Secretary Support Superstars Kim Witmer, 6S, and Gloria Corrales, Out Patient Infusion Service.

You can support our nurses through a special NCH Friends of Nursing Fund. Simply visit to make a contribution. They all deserve the support!


Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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and The NCH Healthcare System
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