2019 Recipients

Fourth Quarter

group being recognized Stephanie Blakely, Kyle Carrington, Justin Hemje, Ariel Hidalgo, Ashley Isaacs, Megan Kressin, Dave Loomba, Analy Nava, Carmen Rasmussen, Lorette Steinke, Kristoper Thomassian, Alecia Williams, Peter Wolk and James Yhip
Their Story of Excellence: It was the day before my scheduled cesarean section. While in line at Target, I answered a phone call from my dad, his voice sounding very different. My world instantly shifted and became very small as he told me, “Early this morning your mom had a heart attack. We are at Enloe. She’s in surgery right now. I had to do CPR, Gina. It’s not good. She started responding, but it isn’t looking good.”

Kyle Carrington, EMS communications specialist II, Dispatch, talked Dad through the CPR, counting with him until the ambulance showed up. Justin Hemje, paramedic, and Analy Nava, EMT, Enloe Ambulance, brought the ambulance, immediately taking over with the greatest speed and deliberation you can imagine.

I immediately drove to Enloe with thousands of thoughts running through my head. How can I lose my mother while giving birth to my daughter? How will I be able to help Dad? What will he do without Mom? Will I be able to smile and feel joy, meeting my daughter for the first time? What will I tell my kids? I finally arrived at Enloe. My mother coded while I was there, but she made it through. My dad and I went up to ICU with her. She was unrecognizable.

I had an appointment at Enloe’s Nettleton Mother & Baby Care Center. Alecia Williams, RN, Labor and Delivery, sat with me, let me cry, and waited with me. My dad came in crying, saying, “I think this is it, Gina.”

One of Dad’s friends, KT (Kristapor Thomassian, clinical services pharmacist, Enloe Pharmacy), came in on his day off and stayed with us. KT listened to Dad and explained timelines, processes, medications, etc. My dad shared concerns with him about possibly having to “pull the plug,” and KT advised Dad to wait at least 72 hours before making any decisions. Thank goodness.

Peter Wolk, M.D., cardiovascular disease, took great care of Mom as he replaced an external pacemaker with a temporary internal pacemaker. Ariel Hidalgo, M.D., critical care medicine, was very compassionate, caring and thorough, and we knew Mom was in good hands. He delivered a prognosis that didn’t sound favorable to my dad and me.

After going home, I spent a very emotional, tear-filled, sleepless night imagining every scenario possible. What if Mom passed before the delivery or right after, and how would I deal with it? How would I share my daughter’s birthday with the anniversary of my mother’s passing? Would I be planning a memorial? Would I be able to shower my baby in love through my grief? How do I help my husband navigate this insanity when he is about to be a father for the first time, cut an umbilical cord, hear her first cry? The cycle of thoughts wouldn’t stop.

Feeling totally exhausted, in the morning my husband and I walked into the Labor and Delivery unit to give birth to our daughter. Labor and Delivery RNs Ashley Isaacs and Stephanie Blakely were doing my pre-op checks, and let me cry and share my contradictory thoughts and fears. They assured me that they were there for me and would take care of me.

Spiritual Support Volunteer Loretta Steinke spoke a blessing over us before I was taken into surgery. Megan Kressin, RN, Labor and Delivery, a good friend, was in the operating room with me. Carmen Rasmussen, RN, Labor and Delivery, somehow had the perfect balance of compassion, humor, and wit. Dave Loomba, M.D., the best anesthesiologist in the world, talked me through every detail of the procedure and stayed with me while my husband stepped out to be with our newborn daughter. She was four weeks preterm and struggling to breathe, possibly needing oxygen. After being examined, my daughter was put skin to skin with me, we cuddled and she began breathing normally, not needing the oxygen after all.

My dad came to visit us at 9 a.m. and let me know Mom had responded to the pacemaker, was off life-support, and breathing on her own. I asked him what time that happened, and he told me 8 a.m. My baby was delivered at 7:50 a.m. That meant my mother was reborn 10 minutes after my daughter came into this world. Mom had a permanent pacemaker placed the next day by James Yhip, M.D., cardiovascular disease.

There were so many people who contributed to our entire family’s care – mind, body and spirit. I love this hospital. I love that everyone is part of the care team across departments, going out of their way or “just doing their job,” but their job is simply being extraordinary in the medical care that they provide, and the compassion and love that they extend. My brother-in-law refers to Enloe as the “happy hospital,” and my father-in-law says he will drive up from San Jose if he needs any medical care.

Thank you, Enloe staff and volunteers, for all you did and continue to do. It has been 10 months since this crazy time. My mom is doing great and made it a point to meet and thank everyone involved in her care. Dad is grateful for the care and compassion he and everyone received. My baby girl is an endless gift of joy and love. I am proud to be an employee here.

Submitted by Gina Cuneo, Gift Shop and volunteer coordinator, Volunteer Services
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three nursesCindy De La Cruz, Cathie Gunther and Neena Kaur
Their Story of Excellence: My beloved mother-in-law was a patient at the Enloe Regional Cancer Center for five years. She would always say the staff there was amazing. She considered them friends and family.

She was stubborn and courageous. She fought with a smile on her face. She knew what she wanted, and when her disease began to rapidly progress, I promised her I would take care of her at home.

When the time came to get help, I knew I could count on the staff at the Cancer Center. The transition to comfort care/hospice was not a smooth transition. There were issues with her VA insurance.

During the four days from when I first called saying we needed help, to the day hospice came, RNs Neena Kaur, Cathie Gunther and Cindy De La Cruz, from Hematology/Oncology, were my angels. They took many (way too many) phone calls from me and spent hours working behind the scenes to get me equipment and medications that I needed to be able to care for her. They prayed with and for me, listened to me, encouraged me, and fought for what was right.

If it was not for their endless commitment to their patients, I would not have been able to fulfill my mother-in-law’s last wish. These three, along with the support of the Cancer Center, put logistics aside and did what was right for their patient and our family. I cannot express my sincere gratitude for all of their love and support.

Submitted by Krista Rooks, clinical educator, Enloe Education Center
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staff from Enloe’s Nettleton Mother & Baby Care CenterEnloe’s Nettleton Mother & Baby Care Center
The Staff’s Story of Excellence: We received a telephone call from a family member of a pregnant patient who told us the patient was on her way to the hospital from their home in Willows, and that she was scheduled for a C-section in the morning.

They told us her water had broken and the umbilical cord was hanging out. Recognizing that this is a medical emergency, the entire floor of nurses and doctors flew into action. The patient arrived 10 minutes after the initial call from family.

Every person working that night had a specific job to do to perform a crash C-section on this patient in a timely manner. The anesthesiologist was ready as well as the obstetrician and pediatrician. All nurses had specific jobs. The labor nurses ran to the Emergency department with a wheelchair to meet the patient. Someone held the elevator open for them. The patient was rushed to the OB operating room, where she had a Foley catheter and IV placed quickly. Then she was prepped and put to sleep.

The entire process from the time the labor nurses first intercepted this patient in the Emergency department until the baby was born was 7 minutes total. We all thought we were rushing to deliver a dead baby. When that baby was born, the obstetrician stimulated it and it cried. The overwhelming expulsion of joy at hearing that baby cry from all the staff could have probably been heard throughout the hospital.

It truly was an amazing feat to deliver that baby so fast and in such good condition. There is no way to single out one person as it was an incredible team effort by all. Such a happy outcome. The drills we practice at skills lab really paid off that night.

Submitted by Mari Dailey, RN, NICU, Couplet Care, Mother & Baby Care Center
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FlightCare pilotJoe Ryan
His Story of Excellence: On Oct. 21, Enloe FlightCare pilot Joe Ryan was flying his crew back from Sacramento after transferring a patient to a hospital there.

It was 2 a.m. and a dead leg (flight home without a patient). This was like any other dead leg at 2 a.m., with the crew and pilot talking amongst each other to pass the time and keep everyone alert. Without warning, traveling 150 mph, the aircraft struck a flock of geese with one of them exploding through the windscreen right into Joe’s face.

The impact shattered Joe’s night vision goggles, leaving them partially dangling from his head, showering him with broken plexiglass and cutting his face. The bird continued back into the aircraft cabin with enough force to strike flight paramedic Troy Keenan in the face and shoulder, breaking his visor. Another goose impacted the helicopter’s right rear stabilizer.

After sustaining a direct hit with such force, Joe battled 150 mph winds unprotected, pain, disorientation and darkness, all while maintaining control of the aircraft. Joe was able to slow the helicopter down and kick it out of trim (basically flying semi-sideways) to prevent any other birds from striking him unprotected. He did this all in the matter of seconds, despite pure chaos.

With the remains of Joe’s night vision goggles dangling from his head impeding his vision, and wind roaring through the cabin, Troy came out of his restraints to remove Joe’s goggles, while Matt Sheller, RN, FlightCare, made emergency radio communication. Joe immediately selected Oroville Municipal Airport as the closest safe landing zone and piloted the craft without a windscreen for an additional 10 minutes, landing 922RJ and its crew safely at the airport.

Pilot Joe Ryan demonstrated tremendous skill, composure and presence of mind in the face of a terrifying event. Joe’s exemplary performance that night is the definition of what makes a Story of Excellence. Joe is FlightCare’s newest pilot but is by no means a new pilot. He has flown for over 15 years, including search and rescue, tours, and utility. Joe is a tremendous asset to FlightCare, Enloe, our community and has earned my trust forever.

Submitted by Matthew Sheller, RN, CCRN, CFRN, Enloe FightCare
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Hematology/Oncology doctorNicole Whitlatch
Her Story of Excellence: I have been a patient of Nicole Whitlatch, M.D., for over three years. Thank you for this opportunity to share our (my family and my) highest regards for this incredible woman, who practices hematology/oncology at Enloe Comprehensive Breast Care. She has literally saved my life more than once with treatment options she recommended.

Her grasp of current oncology research and practice, and ability to network with other professionals is impressive. Her kind, patient, professional manner and her listening ability are amazing. Her assessments and answers to questions are clear and understandable. Her follow through is excellent.

Two years into my journey with cancer, following a mastectomy of both breasts and chemotherapy, five months went by without evidence of any recurrence. We thought the cancer was gone. I was receiving infusions every three weeks, but no chemotherapy. Then, out of the blue, blood tests revealed that my tumor marker numbers were high (off the chart), and a scan confirmed that a very aggressive cancer had metastasized to my liver.

At 8 a.m., I was admitted to Enloe’s fourth floor, where nurses watched me closely for hours while I was receiving chemo. Meanwhile, Dr. Whitlatch was consulting and weighing options with fellow researchers and colleagues, near and far, to decide the optimum dosage of chemo to give me, so that I would have the best chance of survival.

Over the last year, my tumor markers receded to a normal range, and the masses in my liver continued to shrink. I currently receive infusion therapy (now without chemo) and routine tests. At my last appointment with Dr. Whitlatch, my tumor markers were within normal range, and there were no visible masses in my liver!

Even though I started out not knowing anything about cancer treatments, I felt empowered by Dr. Whitlatch. I can’t recommend her highly enough. Enloe is very fortunate to have her on their team of physicians, as am I.

Submitted by Joy Todd, manager, Patient Service Excellence, on behalf of a patient
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Third Quarter

Alan Adams, Jenny Humphries, Aisha Kamala, Erin Parisio, Susy Peppas, Matt Sheller and Maurice Valcarenghi
Their Story of Excellence: One Sunday morning, Susy Peppas, RN, Enloe’s Nettleton Mother & Baby Care Center, was caring for one of her postpartum patients who was recovering from an emergency cesarean section. Because the patient’s baby was premature and required a higher level of care, her baby had to be transferred to a hospital in Sacramento right after birth.

With over 100 miles separating mom and baby, we knew we needed to do everything we could to bring them together as soon as possible.

Susy had been in the room when a nurse from Sacramento called to give her patient an update about her baby. The news that the nurse gave the patient is every parent’s worst nightmare. Knowing that this sweet baby only had hours to live and that the mother hadn’t even gotten to hold her baby yet, we knew that we had to do everything in our power to get that mom to her baby.

Susy quickly alerted her charge nurse, Erin Parisio, RN, of the devastating news her patient just received. Erin quickly called Maurice Valcarenghi, M.D., the obstetrician/gynecologist overseeing her care, to see if he would discharge the patient. Unfortunately, the mother was not medically stable enough to be cleared for discharge and leaving against medical advice could be dangerous for her health. He said we could transfer the patient if we found an accepting physician.

Erin then called the hospital where the patient’s baby was and spoke with the charge nurse in that facility’s mother-baby unit. That charge nurse was more than understanding and gave Erin the number of the physician on call. Erin called the OB physician in Sacramento. Since there was no medical reason for the mother to be transferred out of Enloe, the physician in Sacramento was not willing to accept the mother as a patient.

Knowing the gravity of the situation and that time was running short, Erin called in even more people to help. She called FlightCare and told them the situation. Even though we still did not have an admitting physician on the Sacramento side, Jenny Humphries, RN, chief flight nurse, sent a FlightCare nurse to the unit to assess the patient.

Matt Sheller, RN, quickly arrived on our unit. He had the FlightCare team on standby, so that the second we found an admitting physician, they could take off and fly that mom to meet her baby.

While all of this was going on, Aisha Kamala, case manager social worker, Case Management, was with the mom, keeping her updated and supporting her through this difficult time, ensuring her that we were doing everything possible to make this happen.

Just when we were feeling things were starting to look like we were not going to be able to pull this off, the phone rang. It is such a blessing! Dr. Gilbert, a maternal and fetal medicine specialist in Sacramento, said he would accept the mom as his patient. Within minutes of receiving that phone call, Matt and his teammate were wheeling the mother up to the helicopter so she could get to her baby. As the patient left, we were all praying she would make it there on time.

Later that afternoon, Matt came back to our unit to let us know that she made it there just in time to hold her sweet baby.

Had Erin taken “no” for an answer, had the FlightCare team waited to see the patient until the patient was actually accepted, or had that kind physician in Sacramento not accepted this mom as a patient, she would have probably never gotten the opportunity to meet and hold her newborn baby girl.

I am humbled and proud to work with such amazing, dedicated people.

Submitted by Jamie Bracewell, RN, Enloe’s Nettleton Mother & Baby Care Center
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Alex Albarran, Denise Atkinson, Chris Coats, David Hahn, Engineering, Jamie Holmes, Sandy Koshell-Galka, Brian Larson and Cody Roosa
Their Story of Excellence: After working at Enloe for over a decade, I should not be surprised by how far the staff is willing to go to honor patients and their families. Nonetheless, today I was amazed at how an entire organization came together to make a dying patient’s request happen.

A man in his 30s was put on comfort care in the ICU after it was determined that further medical treatment would be futile. After Brian Larson, RN, ICU/CCU, the bedside nurse, had turned off the medication that was maintaining his blood pressure, the patient’s wife, daughter and family expressed that they were under the impression that they would be able to take him home.

The patient’s blood pressure was low, and no plans had been initiated to be able to transfer the patient home safely. The family was adamant that they had promised him he would not die in the hospital. They told the nurse how he never went to the doctor or hospital, that they lived on a farm, and wanted him to die outside, at home.

Alex Albarran, social worker, Supportive & Palliative Care, was trying to rapidly put into place a way to get the patient home, but everything takes time. When it looked as though the patient was going to die and the family was beside themselves with grief, the decision was made to get the patient outside to the Rose Garden.

The patient was transferred to a neuro chair and moved outside with Brian, Alex, and Jamie Holmes, the spiritual support volunteer, along for support. Once outside, while it was better than the hospital room, the family was distracted by the noise from the construction of the cardiac cath lab. Denise Atkinson, RN, nursing supervisor, called Engineering, and, putting patient care first, they temporarily stopped construction. The family could then have some quiet time with their loved one.

When the patient required repositioning, Chris Coats and Cody Roosa, lift technicians, Team Lift, came to the Rose Garden to help. The family really wanted to take the patient home.

David Hahn, D.O., hospitalist medicine, and Alex, worked tirelessly to complete all of the required aspects to get the patient home and fulfill the patient’s and family’s wishes. Hospice outreach coordinator Sandy Koshell-Galka came to the Rose Garden, met with the family, set up hospice care and provided education to the wife.

The last piece was the ambulance ride home. When Alex couldn’t secure one, Denise called Marty Marshall, director, Emergency Services, explained the situation, and they secured an ambulance to take the patient home. The ambulance crew came to the Rose Garden and transferred the patient home. When the family left, they shared how amazing everyone had been.

While I have mentioned several key individuals in the story, it truly took an entire organization and a patient-centered culture to make this story possible.

Submitted by Jennifer Jeffries, RN charge, ICU/CCU
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Trista Harvey, Susan Salinthone, Allie Scott-Jeltsch, Lynda Sezon, Ralph Torres and Nichole Ventura
Their Story of Excellence: In Early June, Enloe admitted a patient who had a stroke. He was visiting from Laos and consequently did not have insurance coverage, and, at the time, did not have family or friends to assist with a discharge plan. Once he was medically stable, he transitioned to North Wing to continue working on his recovery.

Trista Harvey, physical therapy assistant, Rehab Therapies, called me a week later after working with this patient for a couple of days. She reported that the patient was highly motivated to participate and was progressing well in his stroke rehab process with the ability to initiate walking.

She asked me about what the possibility would be to bring this patient to the Enloe Rehabilitation Center for inpatient rehabilitation since, other than the complicated discharge plan, he was an excellent rehab candidate and she thought he would greatly benefit from intensive therapy.

It took some time. However, by the end of June, the patient was admitted to the Enloe Rehabilitation Center. He was placed on a team with a therapist who speaks a similar language, and we soon noticed a marked change in his affect.

During his stay, Lynda Sezon, rehab therapy supervisor, Rehab Therapies, obtained clothing for the patient and helped provide activities he could participate in during his non-therapy times. Susan Salinthone, physical therapist, Rehab Therapies, worked on progressing his mobility since he would need to be able to tolerate a plane ride over 30 hours back to Laos, including transferring multiple times in and out of vehicles and wheelchairs at the airports.

Nichole Ventura, occupational therapist, Rehab Therapies, diligently worked with the patient to improve his ability to perform toileting by himself since this was the only criteria his friend had to take him on the flight back to Laos.

Allie Scott-Jeltsch, speech therapist, Rehab Therapies, assisted the patient in returning to eating a normal diet texture and improving his cognitive and language skills, using the CyraCom to assist with translating. Ralph Torres, social worker, Post-Acute Care, spent a significant amount of time working with the patient’s friend to create a plan to get him back to Laos. Ralph coordinated flights, pickup times, rides and the overall plan with the patient’s friend who was going to accompany him back.

The patient discharged from the Enloe Rehabilitation Center in the middle of July with his friend, with plans to board a plane that evening and fly back home. Under the care of the therapy and nursing team, he progressed to walking with a cane, being able to perform bathing and toileting with supervision, and his language skills and voice quality improved. He entered our building quiet, reserved and with his head down, and he left smiling at people in the dining room and hallways.

This patient excelled physically and emotionally with the exceptional care he received and was able to reach a functioning level of mobility to return to his family and home. Due to the advocacy of the therapists and the generosity of the organization, this patient received the intensive therapy he needed during an acute window of time we have for stroke recovery to maximize his functional potential.

I am grateful for the team that I work with, their immense capacity for caring that I see every day, as well as the amazing organization we work for to provide support to individuals during their greatest time of need. We did what was best for this patient, and, thanks to everyone, he had a successful discharge back to his home country and will be able to see his family again.

Submitted by Maki Peterson, therapy supervisor, Rehab Therapies – Inpatient Rehab,
Enloe Rehabilitation Center

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Allie Scott-Jeltsch
Her Story of Excellence: Allie Scott-Jeltsch, speech therapist, Rehab Therapies, was driving home from her mother’s house in the morning, when she noticed a young gentleman who looked familiar crossing the street.

Although she couldn’t immediately place him, her instincts told her that something didn’t seem quite right. She turned her car around to follow the gentleman.

Seeing him again triggered the thought that he was a current patient’s son with Down syndrome whom she had seen at Rehab earlier in the week. She pulled her car over and called the charge nurse that day, Holly Pool, RN, Rehabilitation Care Nursing.

Allie explained to Holly that she had just seen a young gentleman cross the street who she thought was the son of one of the current patients. Holly seemed a little skeptical at first, however, said that she would go speak to the patient. Come to find out the gentleman was indeed the son of the patient and he had been missing all morning.

Holly called Allie back and relayed this information. Allie found the gentleman again and was about to assist him into her car to take him to the rehab site when his sister showed up to pick him up.

Thanks to Allie’s intuition and attentiveness, this situation had a great outcome. It is employees like Allie who represent what it means to be an Enloe caregiver. She not only goes out of her way to help those in need during her workday, she also goes out of her way to help those in need in her everyday life. I am proud to work alongside Allie and that she is part of our amazing team!

Submitted by Maki Peterson, therapy supervisor, Rehab Therapies – Inpatient Rehab,
Enloe Rehabilitation Center

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Kathy Wright
Her Story of Excellence: In an effort to raise the spirits of an 11-year-old accident victim, Kathy Wright, case manager social worker, Case Management, went above and beyond. The patient saved his 4-year-old sister from a vicious dog attack.

Kathy contacted the local police and fire departments to come visit the patient. The Chico Fire Department offered to give the patient a ride home on the fire truck. Kathy discovered the 11-year-old’s favorite sport is football.

She also found out that the New York Giants have a kicker on their team who lives locally. The kicker was out of town when she attempted to make contact. However, she was able to reach someone with the team, and they are sending the patient some New York Giants team memorabilia. Her effort brought the Pediatrics department to tears.

Submitted by Laurie Gardner, unit secretary, Pediatrics
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Second Quarter

Cancer Registry, Engineering, Environmental Services, Infection Prevention & Reg Compliance, Infusion Therapy, Information Services, Lymphedema Therapy, Nettleton Mother & Baby Care Center, Print Services, and Volunteer Services
Their Story of Excellence: Many Enloe superheroes worked together and put patient care first in response to flooding that occurred at the Enloe Regional Cancer Center’s Infusion Therapy clinic.

About 10 p.m., April 2, Environmental Services employee Shane Washburn discovered water pouring into the clinic from the garden due to torrential rains. Shane elicited the help of co-worker Stephanie Hammett, and they quickly began responding to the situation. Shane notified both Security and Engineering.

Simultaneously, Brady Haynes, VP, Physician Enterprise, called Traci Hunt, director, Cancer Center, regarding the water backing up in the parking lot. Ehren Hawkins, manager, Cancer Center Operation & Radiation Therapy, was also notified and made it there first to assess any internal damage. Upon entering the infusion clinic, Ehren saw Shane and Stephanie working to extract water using a carpet cleaner and blankets. Shortly after, Traci and Susan Hawes, nurse manager, Infusion Therapy, arrived. Engineering followed with machines to extract the water. The team quickly got to work.

Together EVS, Engineering and the Cancer Center team evaluated options. Knowing they had patients returning for care the following morning, the team agreed to work through the evening. Susan cranked up the music, Ehren got donuts and Engineering headed to their shop to gather tools. Within a few hours, floorboards were torn out, the water-exposed sheetrock was removed, the repaired work was sealed up, EVS cleaned the clinic, and Susie Benson, manager, Infection Prevention & Reg Compliance, gave the green light to proceed with treatment. We were back in action to see patients at 8 a.m.

That same day, a plan for repairing the damage was established. Over the weekend, Infusion Therapy was temporarily relocated to Fountain Medical Plaza’s lobby, conference room and occupied offices. Departments using the conference room moved into alternate spaces. The Enloe Mother & Baby Education Center & Breastfeeding Supply Store graciously accommodated displaced classes and meetings. Information Services had transferred and installed all the computers.

Printing Services created and installed new wayfinding signage. Lymphedema Therapy and Infusion Therapy staff, along with Engineering and the Cancer Center leadership team, accomplished major feats to set up three infusion clinics, a nursing station, and a supply room in the new spaces.

To ensure that patients could find their way, volunteers and interns were scheduled from other departments to escort patients and families to their chairs in the temporary infusion clinics. Security also assisted by providing direction to the new areas.

Everything was ready on Monday morning, and not one day of patient care was lost. For cancer patients, keeping their treatment as scheduled is particularly critical, and they are so grateful. Hats off to Shane in EVS for his quick thinking and creative approach, which decreased the amount of damage to the infusion suite.

Special kudos to Brady, Traci, Ehren, Susan and the other “all-nighters.” Everyone involved has shown determination, flexibility and incredible attitudes in the face of adversity.

Submitted by Rebecca Senoglu, cancer support program coordinator, Enloe Regional Cancer Center
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Roni Bennett
Her Story of Excellence: I want to tell you about how Roni Bennett, a CNA on the Telemetry Care Unit, went above and beyond her normal duties. We received a patient from one of our local skilled nursing facilities who was very ill and suffered from dementia. She was very scared being in new surroundings and with new people.

Roni and the nursing staff tried to reassure her, letting her know she was safe and that we would be caring for her while she was ill. The patient was in obvious distress and kept asking for her puppy. Roni stayed with her to make her more comfortable and asked her who her puppy was. Roni found out her puppy was her stuffed animal that gave her comfort when she was scared.

Roni came to me saying she wanted to go down to the Gift Shop to buy the patient a stuffed animal and see if that would help ease her anxiety. She went to the Gift Shop, bought a stuffed bear, gave it to the patient and stayed with her until she started to feel better.

Roni is an amazing CNA to all her patients, but this touched me and showed me how much she cares for them. I am so proud to work with her and nominate her for her amazing work.

Submitted by Teresa Roberts, RN charge, Telemetry Care Unit
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Lorraine Chun and Sarah Talley
Their Story of Excellence: In February, something extraordinary happened, something that has never happened before: A baby was born in Enloe’s PACA (Perianesthesia) Unit in Surgical Services.

Sarah Talley, RN, was working there the day the baby was born. She was tending to her patient when she heard yelling in the hallway. The yelling continued for about a minute, and Sarah knew someone needed help.

She opened the doors, and in the hallway, was a pregnant woman on a stretcher screaming. The patient was surrounded by registered nurses from the Emergency Department and Labor and Delivery, and a transport tech. The patient continued to yell, “The baby is coming!”

Sarah could see the nurses couldn’t decide if they should take the patient up to the Mother & Baby Care Center or to the ER, but they knew there would be no time for either of those locations. The baby was coming!

Sarah quickly told everyone to come into the PACA unit and that she would help with whatever they needed. Thankfully, an incubation cart came from Labor and Delivery just before the baby was born. Sarah helped the mother with anything she needed to make her comfortable for the delivery. About 3 minutes after seeing the patient in the hallway, a healthy baby girl was delivered by Lorraine Chun, M.D., Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Since the delivery happened on the PACA unit, the patients there could hear what was going on. After the baby was born, PACA patients and their family members started clapping and cheering for the mother and her new baby girl. Sarah showed quick thinking in helping this mother deliver her baby, and everyone on the unit is very proud of her!

This story is truly a moment of excellence that needs to be showcased for Sarah, Dr. Chun, and every employee who helped deliver this baby in a safe and healthy manner.

Submitted by David Henderson, RN, clinical educator, Education Center
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Kira Cuneo, Shannon Delles and Kaleena Hans
Their Story of Excellence: My 2-year-old son, Owen, had a difficult winter with RSV, multiple ear infections and multiple Emergency Department visits. One day in March, my husband brought our son to the ED for being lethargic and not being able to catch his breath.

I was working that day and was at the very end of my shift. My team lead and charge nurse sent me to the ED to be with my son and husband.

The ED was very busy, as usual. After giving my son a breathing treatment, IV steroids, antibiotics and fluids, he was not turning a corner. Kaleena Hans, respiratory care practitioner II, Respiratory Therapy, was not primarily assigned to Owen. She was just checking on us to help her co-worker, who was occupied in another patient room.

Kaleena immediately noticed the severity of Owen’s case and took quick action. She spoke with the ED provider, initiated high-flow oxygen and never left our side.

Once we were admitted to the floor, she advocated for transfer to a higher level of care. She called the house supervisor, her charge and the floor charge, and was in frequent communication with everyone. At one point she saw FlightCare’s Shannon D. Delles, RN, and Kira Cuneo, flight paramedic, in the hallway and asked them to assess Owen. They saw we would be needing to be flown to UC Davis, so they were getting everything prepared and ready to leave once we got a room assigned.

That night, just after midnight, we were flown to the UC Davis Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Owen was still declining. When we got to UC Davis, the provider made the comment that we got Owen there just in time to not have to intubate him.

I strongly believe that if it was not for Kaleena's exceptional care, kindness, intelligence and patient-centered care, we would have had a much different outcome for our son. We are so lucky to have someone such as Kaleena on our staff, and I am thankful she was on that night.

Submitted by Amanda Lefor, RN, clinical educator, Enloe Education Center
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Kimie Kaps
Her Story of Excellence: I have worked at Enloe for six years and have been in my current role for seven weeks. I have never met an employee at Enloe who I so quickly thought to myself, “Someone has to have done a Story of Excellence on her.”

Many of us who are not in frontline patient care try to remember that, at Enloe, we all are part of patient care, no matter our job title. At times, I have felt frustrated that I cannot find more things to do to make a difference for patients and instead, just try to do the best I can at supporting those who are on the front lines every day.

There is definitely joy in this, however, I have been reminded by a new friend here in the Critical Care cluster, who has been such an example to me, of how much we can make a difference even in the small things.

Most Stories of Excellence that I have read are about an instance where an employee went above and beyond. However, I have yet to meet someone who embodied our core values and care for patients on a daily basis, until I met Kimie Kaps from Environmental Services.

My office is located on the second floor, and Kimie is one of our housekeepers. There are two patient rooms right across from me, and I many times I have sat at my desk with tears in my eyes listening to Kimie interact with our patients and families. She shows so much love, care, empathy, and compassion that she has really modeled what it means to go way above and beyond.

Kimie does not just clean hospital rooms. She introduces herself to patients and their families, she talks to patients and she does all she can to encourage them. She always tells patients how the nurses and doctors at Enloe really do care for them and that they will support them anyway they can. She offers her lunch from home to visitors who do not want to leave their loved ones.

She brings families coffee, which I call “Kimie Coffee.” She has brought patients balloons and baked them things when she finds out they will be here over their birthdays. She offers herself in any way she can to the families, and I'm talking every day.

I have not even touched on how she is with the staff here. She knows all our names, knows what we need individually in our daily jobs and offers to do anything she can to make our jobs easier. She makes breakfast for everyone on a shift and brings it to work. Every day she cares for this unit and every day we are touched by her spirit of service.

Kimie is someone who doesn't “try” to care for people. It is just who she is, from the bottom of her heart.

She has been at Enloe over nine years and is so grateful that she is a part of this hospital. She has been such an encouragement to me and renews my hope that people like Kimie still exist. Please honor Kimie with a Story of Excellence. She truly is not a moment of excellence, a day or even a week. She is a story that plays out for all of us each day we see her.

Submitted by Laura Thompson, program assistant, Education Center
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Matt Rosendin  
His Story of Excellence: I would like to nominate Telemetry Care Unit RN Matt Rosendin for a Moment of Excellence. We were discharging our patient on the second floor, and right before he left, the patient came to the desk and asked us to let Matt know just how much he appreciated the care he received from him.

The patient stated that without the superb care he received from Matt on the hardest night of his life, he would have left against medical advice and continued down the path of addiction he had been on. He stated that he now has a strong desire to stay clean for himself, as well as his family.

He also told us that he was impressed with the care his wife and young daughter received from Matt. Matt went out of his way to make sure they were comfortable and had everything they needed to stay the night with the patient. I believe that this attention and the care Matt demonstrated is a perfect example of how nurses at Enloe go above and beyond to help their patients.

The patient and his wife filled out a Moment of Excellence card that said, “Thank you for keeping me alive and my head straight and caring for my family. I'm calling for a raise for you immediately, my friend.”

His wife wrote, “Thank you so much for taking care of my husband. You really went out of your way to make sure he was as comfortable as he possibly could be, and you have no idea how much that means to our family. Hugest love.”

Submitted by Angela Caspary, monitor tech, Telemetry Care Unit
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First Quarter

Amber Ascherin and Kyle Kappenman
Their Story of Excellence: I arrived at the Chico Elks Lodge on Saturday morning, Nov. 10, to volunteer. I was greeted by Amber Ascherin, RN, Medical/Neurological Unit, who had been there all night for the last two nights. A friend had contacted her on Nov. 8 [the day the Camp Fire started], saying the Elks Lodge needed medical care for people in shelter there.

Amber immediately responded, and although she is a day shift nurse, she worked the night shift at the Elks, caring for the evacuees. She had her husband, a night shift nurse on Medical/Neurological, cover her shift at Enloe so she could continue to volunteer.

When I returned to the Elks Lodge the next morning, I was surprised to find Amber there, having done her third night shift in a row. Kyle Kappenman, a paramedic, had been working with her all three nights as well. Amber and Kyle selflessly put their own needs aside to respond to the disaster and provide the compassionate care that the evacuees so desperately needed.

Amber also realized there would be many health care workers in our community who would have been evacuated and in need of scrubs to wear to work. She set up a scrubs drive through social media so people could drop off or pick up scrubs at her house. She made it open to the whole community because she knew it was not just the Enloe staff who would need the scrubs, but also nurses and nurse’s aides from other facilities in the community.

Submitted by Sharon Kaplan, RN, Neuro Trauma ICU
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Jennifer Cox
Her Story of Excellence: I have a story of an Enloe RN hero. One day in January, Jenni Cox, RN, clinical educator, Education Center, came upon a motorcycle accident while driving home from work. She saw a downed motorcycle and a man rolling around in the middle of a busy street.

Jenni was the first person to stop, pull off the road, approach the man and offer assistance. She was extremely worried he might get hit by a car, as he was lying on the road in a busy area of Mangrove Avenue. Jenni began yelling at the man to stop moving while simultaneously trying to stop traffic and alert drivers to the hazard in the road. Cars did not stop. They swerved and continued to drive past Jenni and the injured man.

Soon Jenni realized the man was badly injured. She said, “I have never seen so much blood.” She took a quick assessment of him and noted he was young, mid-20s, and that there were extreme injuries to his leg. She recognized there was significant bleeding coming from what she believed to be an almost-severed leg.

Jenni removed her sweater and began holding pressure to the area of his leg that seemed to be bleeding the most. Soon another driver stopped and a man jumped out to assist with traffic control. Others began arriving as well, and emergency services were notified.

Jenni told one bystander she needed a tourniquet. The man removed his belt, and together they pulled it tight on the man’s thigh. This seemed to slow the bleeding, but Jenni continued to hold pressure. A fire medic arrived soon after and assessed the situation. He told Jenni he was thankful for the makeshift tourniquet and stated he wanted to apply a proper one.

Jenni continued to hold pressure to the young man’s wounds as the fire medic replaced the belt with a true tourniquet. Jenni felt a huge surge of warm fluid over her hands as the new tourniquet was placed. She yelled to the medic to hurry and tighten it, as she could feel an increase in bleeding. By this time, other emergency personnel and police officers arrived to secure the scene and take over the care of this victim.

Those who know Jenni know she is a caring, compassionate and extremely competent nurse. Jenni is a mentor to many in the hospital. I wanted to recognize her for not only being an amazing nurse in the hospital, but for taking her rapid assessment skills and using them to save a life in the community.

Jenni is a true hero. She is my hero! I am so proud of her.

Submitted by Shannon Doyle, RN, nurse manager, Mother & Baby Care Center
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Critical Incident Stress Management team
The Group’s Story of Excellence: In September, just a couple months before the Camp Fire, the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation completed training of 16 additional employees to provide critical incident stress management (CISM) support for a total of 23 trained professionals.

This training expanded our social-work-only team to a true peer facilitator CISM team. The timing of this work was incredible. Some might say fortuitous, others might say a bit of a miracle. Little did they know they would be called upon for such great need after Nov. 8, [the start of the Camp Fire].

We have our Employee Assistance Program, and we can — and did — call on them for debriefing support and one-on-one availability for Enloe caregivers. They did a great job. Our caregivers feel so much more comfortable with their peers, who understand their work, the health care setting, and — in this case — the horrific nature of the fire and evacuation.

We also had a local counselor, Steve Flowers, who called and asked where he could help. He volunteered providing one-on-one drop-in visits. When he arrived, I took a few minutes of his time for my own debrief, and it is what got me through the next few weeks. With Steve, I could speak out loud about my own evacuation experience. When I greeted one employee in the hall on her way to talk to Steve, she literally jumped up and down a little bit when she learned she could talk to someone she knew and respected. The relief in her face was evident.

Our Critical Incident Stress Management team aims to increase coping and stress management, reduce the risk of burnout, and promote resiliency. They are succeeding. They held 22 group debriefings from Nov. 19-30. Kari Johnson, the department assistant for Case Management, coordinated the calendar, reserved the space and made sure there was a trained debriefer at each session. The coordination of this effort was a moving target and a logistical circus. Thank you, Kari!

It takes a lot of courage and strength for these 23 trained Enloe caregivers to provide this service for their peers. In addition to the formal debrief sessions, they responded to innumerable one-on-one and small-group defusings with their colleagues throughout the medical center almost every shift they have worked since the fire. They come from five different departments: Case Management, Emergency Department, Mother & Baby Care Center, Neuro Trauma and Post-Acute Care. Thank you all for your compassionate and selfless service to others.

Thank you to Amanda Wilkinson, assistant manager, Case Management, for providing leadership to this team. Thank you to the Enloe Senior Team for approving the investment in this much-needed resource in the health care setting. It is just one more reason I am proud to work with all of you.

Submitted by Linda Irvine, director, Human Resources
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Bob Hayes, Ariel Hidalgo, Jenny Humphries, Linda Hunsinger, Lauren Liedstrand, Miguel Puig and Jennifer Suderman
Their Story of Excellence: A 50-year-old man was admitted with the flu. He quickly became extremely unstable and required intubation with full ventilator support and prone position.

The critical care team: Ariel Hidalgo, M.D., Critical Care Medicine; Lauren Liedstrand, RN, and Linda Hunsinger, charge RN, ICU/CCU; Jenny Humphries, RN, chief flight nurse, FlightCare; Miguel Puig, M.D., Cardiothoracic Surgery; Bob Hayes, chief perfusionist, Cardiovascular Services; and Jennifer Suderman, care coordinator, Case Management, quickly knew the patient would require Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), a treatment that uses a pump to circulate blood through an artificial lung back into the bloodstream, and transport to another center.

Dr. Hidalgo started the calls for transfer, the flight crew was notified and we were told they were unable to fly due to weather conditions. This patient absolutely needed ECMO to save his life. Typically, patients who are on ECMO are not transported via ground for safety reasons. Jenny made several calls in an attempt to get another facility to come and get the patient, either by ground or flight. This was unsuccessful.

The case was discussed with Bob Hayes, who agreed to transport via ground with the patient on ECMO as long as a physician was present. There was really no other choice. This patient was going to die. Dr. Puig and his team came to the bedside and placed the patient on ECMO. Now we needed a physician to accompany the patient to UC Davis. Dr. Hidalgo, who was not on call that night, volunteered to drive his car and follow the ambulance in the event of an emergency.

The patient was safely transported and had another chance at life. The coordination and amazing dedication of this entire team made that possible.

Submitted by Cindy Llewellyn, RN, nurse manager, Critical Care
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  • video-img

    Drs. Voelker and Lobosky honored with 2014 Physician Legacy Award

  • video-img

    Drs. Voelker and Lobosky honored with 2014 Physician Legacy Award

  • video-img

    Drs. Voelker and Lobosky honored with 2014 Physician Legacy Award

  • video-img

    Drs. Voelker and Lobosky honored with 2014 Physician Legacy Award

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