|The 2016 National Health Foundation Hospital Heroes Nominees|
On Friday, November 4th, 2016, we celebrated the 11th annual Hospital Heroes Awards luncheon. Together with our Sponsors, Providence Health & Services, Southern California, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Cedars Sinai Hospital, Desert Valley Hospital and PomonaValley Hospital Medical Center, we heard the stories of 31 heroes who, through a deep commitment to care and community, have gone above and beyond the call of duty as nurses, doctors, support staff, health care administrators and volunteers. The task of choosing the three winners was challenging, to say the least.
| Mistress of Ceremonies NBC4LA's Beverly White, Shawn Aguirre,|
Bryce Kulasxa and NHF CEO, Kelly Bruno
What makes Shawn Aguirre, nurse educator at St. Jude Medical Center a Hospital Hero? Perhaps Shawn's philosophy on nursing says it best: “On or off duty, I am a nurse. My purpose is to heal.” This past January, Shawn was on her way home when she saw two trucks, one hoisted on top of the other and legs sticking out from under one of the trucks. She immediately pulled over and ran across the street to see if she could help. A fourth-year medical student was also on the scene and the two devised a plan; he would go assess the young man’s legs and Shawn would climb under the truck to determine the rest of his injuries. “I noticed his name tag was still on his uniform, so I asked him if he knew his name,” Shawn said. “He was pale with shallow breathing. He kept asking over and over how he got under the truck and why his leg hurt so badly. He was clearly in shock.” For the next 30 minutes, Shawn lay under the truck to calm him while waiting for the paramedics to arrive. She did more than just assess his injuries clinically. She held his hand. She told him it would be OK. Bryce Kulasxa joined Shawn at the Hospital Heroes luncheon.
|Beverly White, Tommy Covington and Kelly Bruno|
Tommy Covington, RN, has worked the 7 pm – 7 am shift on the hematology-oncology floor of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles since 1975. His tireless work ethic is driven by his motto: “I try to live in the now and let the future develop around me. Many of my patients succumb to their diseases. When there’s a remission or a recovery, we rejoice in that.” Covington has remained in contact with many Children’s Hospital families. One family, whose child died 20 years ago, joins him on fishing trips. “We email, we talk, and we reminisce about their child we took care of and the love we shared,” he says. “Love is the reason I do what I do. It’s painful when you have a loss, but I love my job.” Upon receiving his award, Tommy was visibly emotional, sharing that receiving this recognition, just months before his retirement, was a beautiful way to celebrate his 46 years of service.
|Beverly White, La Verna McMiller and Kelly Bruno|
La Verna McMiller, RN, BSN, MSN, from Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro, manages one of the most challenging patient care units in the state, the sub-acute care center at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro. Patients are transferred from hospitals throughout the state with gunshot wounds, terminal cancer, and other life threatening conditions. She urges her nurses to never give up on a patient and shares her motto, “Miracles do happen”. La Verna leads her team with a sense of optimism resulting in amazing outcomes for patients who were never expected to return home. “I’ve always liked working with these patients who I believe have the greatest potential of getting better. I don’t give up on them,” shares La Verna. La Verna manages this 125-bed specialty unit assuming both administrative and clinical oversight. La Verna is on call seven days a week and regularly comes in on weekends and evenings to meet with patient families and staff. She understands the value of recognition for her team and special events for her patients and makes sure that every birthday and holiday is a celebration. As we celebrated La Verna’s 27-year career, she vowed to become more educated so she could make a greater difference through her work.
For National Health Foundation, calling attention to the work of the health care community is one way in which we express our gratitude for the care and services of individuals, as well as for our partner hospitals. We could not do what we do without he formidable help of our partner hospitals and the heroes therein. As a nonprofit charitable organization, we also could not do what we do without the financial support of our partners and our community. The Hospital Heroes Awards luncheon is one way for organizations and individuals to celebrate the work of these heroes, while supporting NHF’s many important health initiatives in and around Los Angeles County.
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