Kathy HowellA letter from Kathy Howell

It is a great honor to serve as the Chief Nursing Executive for UCHealth and Chief Nursing Officer for University of Colorado Hospital. Every day I observe nurses throughout UCHealth in the role of partners and key strategists in creating an environment of life-long learning, teaching and collaborating with interprofessional teams to carry out our mission of improving lives.

Communities across Colorado rely on UCHealth and UCHealth nurses to be health care leaders, providing exemplary person-centered care. Our nurses have a genuine focus on patients and their families. I am proud of the advancements our nurses make in nursing practice and care delivery across the system, from the patient’s bedside to the clinic office, to the board room.

Clinical nursing practice is supported across UCHealth by the UEXCEL program, the Nursing Clinical Practice and Credentialing Model. This model supports nurses in advancing their careers through professional-development opportunities while continuing to provide direct patient care, thus upholding our belief that clinical excellence is our highest priority. Leaders are cultivated and mentored through customized education and development events, cohort-based development programs, and the Leadership Academy.

Collectively, UCHealth nurses are dedicated to improving lives through excellence in patient care, embracing innovation and using research and evidence-based practice to propel nurses as leaders in health care.

Katherine Howell, MBA, BSN, RN, NEA-BC

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UCHealth Nursing Professional Practice Model

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Nursing professional practice is anchored by the mission, vision and values of UCHealth and person-centered care. Nurses pursue excellence by leading evidence-based practices across the care continuum, delivering compassionate care through integrity and interprofessional collaboration.

Nursing at UCHealth hospitals

Broomfield Hospital

Noreen Bernard
CNO: Noreen Bernard, EdD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN

Contributions of Professional Nursing

  • Erin Brix, BSN, RN, Charge Nurse – Preoperative/PACU. Erin identified an opportunity to improve practices and reduce costs for the entire UCHealth system while improving the preoperative nasal decolonization swab process used to prevent surgical site infections (SSI). Not only is the new swab and process more comfortable for patients, it has provided cost savings of approximately $100,000 for all of UCHealth.
  • Sarah Fahs, RN, Charge Nurse – Medical Surgical Unit. Sarah consistently demonstrates high work ethics and standards. She is a steadfast nurse, solidly committed to the best quality outcomes of all of the patients on the Medical Surgical Unit.

Grandview Hospital

Director of Nursing: Courtney Hoffbauer, DNP, RN-BC, NE-BC

Hospital Recognition

  • Joint Commission Disease Specific Total Hip & Knee Replacement
  • DNV Accreditation: Stroke-Ready Hospital

Contributions of Professional Nursing

  • Implementation of Robotically-Assisted Orthopedic Surgery Partial & Total Knee Mako program.
  • Jessica Clute BSN, RN-ONC, Inpatient Unit Nurse Manager & Carol Mantilla BSN, RN-ONC, Orthopedic Nurse Navigator. Presentation accepted at National Association for Orthopedic Nursing Conference: Enhancing patient knowledge: A standardized discharge class for total joint replacement (May 22-25, 2021).
  • Nicole Harding, MSN, RN – Case Management. As a case manager who supports long-term placement patients, Nicole was recognized for consistently helping her unit colleagues by working clinical nursing shifts on the floor, including night shifts.

Greeley Hospital

Tammy Piccone
CNO: Tammy Piccone, MSN, NE-BC, BSN, RNC-OB, C-EFM

Contributions of Professional Nursing

  • Toni Moses, MS, BSN, RN, CEN, TCRN, CNML – Emergency Department. Toni helped implement the 5-step Discharge Process in the Emergency Department (ED). Incorporating this educational and methodical discharge format ensures each patient is provided with detailed information regarding their stay, their care, and necessary follow up. This process includes thorough review of the reason for the patient visit, role of the ED, tests conducted and results, safety to be discharged, and next steps outlined for the patient. The ED won the award for most improved patient experience results in fiscal year 2021.
  • Hannah Pfeifer, MBA, BSN, RN, Charge Nurse – Emergency Department. Hannah recognized a need in the ED to educate RNs on how to board inpatients as the number of boarding patients increased over the last year with a lack of inpatient resources to board these patients. Hannah pulled together information from the nurses on what specifically they needed education, direction from the lead hospitalist, and quality measures to educate the nurses on proper interventions and nursing care on inpatients. Hannah also worked with the ED team to expand the Pediatric Observation (flex/overflow) unit to better board inpatients with the correct supplies and technology to accommodate this population. We saw an increase in RN understanding, more complete care for patients boarding in the ED, and a decrease in patient falls after the education.
  • Wendy Overcash, RN, BSN, Clinical Nurse – Emergency Department. 2021 DAISY Award winner.

Highlands Ranch Hospital

Kelly Watson
CNO: Kelly Watson, DNP, MHA, RN, FACHE

Hospital Recognition

  • The Joint Commission’s Certificate of Distinction for Primary Stroke Centers.
  • Inpatient epilepsy monitoring unit led by neurologists who are board certified in neurology and epilepsy to help diagnose and construct the best treatment plans.
  • Level III Trauma Center.

Contributions of Professional Nursing

  • Melody Stendahl, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse – ICU / DAISY Award winner. Melody received the DAISY Award for her extraordinary care of a patient who required intubation. The patient had recently lost her mother and stated that Melody’s reassuring presence helped her feel safe and supported during this difficult time.
  • Megan Reffel, BSN, RNC-NIC, CLC, Charge Nurse – NICU. Megan was recognized in the 1st Annual UCHealth Nursing Research Fellowship Completion Ceremony on June 9, 2021 for her research work titled “Nurse Perceptions of Neonatal Collapse on Postpartum Units.”

Longs Peak Hospital

Noreen Bernard
CNO: Noreen Bernard, EdD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN

Hospital Recognition

  • AHA Primary Stroke Certified 2018.
  • ACEP Accredited Geriatric Emergency Department 2018.
  • Level III trauma center 2017.
  • Low Acuity Bariatric Center of Excellence 2021.

Contributions of Professional Nursing

  • Heidi Bradley, MSN, RN, CENP, CNML, C-EFM, Director of Nursing/Critical Care, Acute Care, Birth Center, Respiratory Services, Wound Care. Heidi was a nominated for the 2020 Colorado Nightingale Award for nursing leadership and innovation in the support of breastfeeding mothers.
  • Kaitlyn Fast, RN, PCCN, Registered Nurse, Intensive Care Unit / 2021 DAISY Award. Kaitlyn received the DAISY award for demonstrating gratitude to her patients by thanking them at the end of each shift for allowing her to care for them. Families feel honored to be cared for by Kaitlyn.
  • Jenifer James, BSN, RN, IBCLC, Registered Nurse, Birth Center / 2020 DAISY Award. Jenifer was recognized for the extraordinary care she gives laboring and postpartum patients by creating a unique and meaningful birth experience for them. Jenifer builds relationships with her patients and their families to learn what is important to them and incorporates their needs into their care.
  • Jeanine Snyder, BSN, RN, CCRN, Registered Nurse, Post-Anesthesia Care Unit / 2021 Colorado Hospital Super Hero Award. With a strong background in critical care nursing, Jeanine stepped up to assist the hospital intensive care unit caring for the hospital’s sickest patients. She quickly became a reliable clinical resource among the group and an extraordinary colleague.

Medical Center of the Rockies

Jessie Willard
CNO: Jessie Willard, MSN, RN

Hospital Recognition

  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet® designated: 2010, 2016, 2021.
  • Primary Stroke Center certification by The Joint Commission and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
  • American College of Surgeons (ACS) Level II Trauma Center 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019.
  • American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Get with The Guidelines-Stroke GOLD PLUS Quality Award with Honor Roll 2020 and Target Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll.
  • Beacon Award for Excellence (Silver level) 2009, 2011, 2014, 2017 for the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.
  • Cardiac Surgery Unit Advanced Life Support (CSU-ALS) Center of Excellence.
  • Get with the Guidelines STEMI Receiving Center.
  • Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE) member since 2018.
  • US News & World Report High Performing hospital.
  • US News & World Report ranks Medical Center of the Rockies as the #2 hospital in Colorado in 2021.

Contributions of Professional Nursing

  • Lauren Ciminski, BSN, RN, CVRN, Charge Nurse – Cardiac Cath Lab / 2021 MCR Magnet Nurse Award for Transformational Leadership. Lauren identified an increase in the frequency of radial arterial bleeding complications, which increased both patient discomfort, and length of stay. After researching products and vendors, Lauren identified a new option, the Quik Clot Radial Pad. When her proposal of this new process and product was accepted by physicians and nurses, she arranged staff education. With the Quik Clot Radial Pad as a standard of practice, many patient outcomes have improved including: radial arterial bleeding from 33% to 17%, patient complaints of discomfort from 8% to 0%, and the length of stay decreased by 51% for the patients in this cohort. Lauren’s leadership skills motivate everyone to put forth their strongest efforts to provide the best quality of care each day.
  • Becky Kruchten, MS, BSN, RN, Charge Nurse – West Greeley Emergency Department / 2021 MCR Magnet Award for Empirical Outcomes. Becky identified a need to improve how the ED staff delivered discharge instructions. Becky made discharge instructions electronic and easy for everyone. She met with representatives from a variety of departments and developed a process for patients to receive their discharge summary via UCHealth My Health Connection. This new process provides the opportunity to be more environmentally friendly and engage patients in My Health Connection. Outcomes from Becky’s project includes: an increase in patients signed up in My Health Connection, increase in patient satisfaction, a decrease in cost for printers and paper – cost savings in paper for 2 months was $1138, and less call back from patients to the ED.
  • Jumer Sapinoro, MSN, RN-BC, Nurse Manager – Cardiac Unit and Clinical Decision Unit / 2021 MCR Magnet Nurse Leader Award. Through Jumer’s leadership and support, the Cardiac Unit has been on the cutting edge of innovation by trialing several UCHealth initiatives, including the video monitoring study, Epic monitor development, patient rounding app trial, and many other technological innovations. In response to a $100,000 loss in telemetry equipment, Jumer spearheaded efforts to improve the distribution process promoting wise fiscal management by reducing equipment loss. He revamped the telemetry box distribution system and since the implementation of his new process, MCR has not lost a single telemetry box. Jumer continues to lead the Cardiac team to improved patient outcomes. The unit’s falls with injury, pressure injuries, and CLABSI rates are all significantly below the national average. Additionally, CAUTI rates have reduced from 10.75 in quarter 1 of 2020 to 0.00 in quarter 2 and it remains 0.00 because of Jumer’s efforts to ensure consistent catheter care. Jumer’s leadership leads the Cardiac Unit to excellent patient care and high patient satisfaction. The Cardiac Unit has won the Summit Award five times since Jumer became the manager in 2018!

Memorial Hospital

Tamera Dunseth Rosenbaum
CNO: Tamera Dunseth-Rosenbaum, DNP, RN, NE-BC

Mark Mayes
ACNO: Mark Mayes, MHA, BSN, RN, CEN

Hospital Recognition

  • ACC HeartCARE Center.
  • ACC TAVR Certification.
  • Best Regional Hospitals in U.S. / US News & World Report 2020-21.
  • Level I Trauma Center designation.
  • The only Comprehensive Stroke center in southern Colorado.
  • Outstanding Achievement Award for the Oncology service line, American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer.
  • Rehab Patient Care Unit (RPCU) Awarded “Top Performer.”
  • Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG): Memorial’s Cancer Medicine and Oncology Clinical Trials team have been recognized as being in the top 1 percent for accruing to SWOG oncology research trials.

Contributions of Professional Nursing

  • William LaPalme, BSN, RN – Memorial Central Campus Medical-Surgical Unit / 2021 DAISY Award. William was nominated for the DAISY award by a patient’s family for the care and support he provided to their family member. The family stated William was an advocate for them and helped to work through issues that arose. William also visited the patient after she received care in another unit to encourage her and check-in during her hospital stay. William went above and beyond to provide compassionate care.
  • Susan Gonzalez, BSN, RN, CCRN – Memorial Central Campus Intensive Care Unit / 2019 Clinical Excellence Award for Structural Empowerment. Susan is the lead of the hospital’s CAUTI Committee and participates in the ICU Unit Practice Council, in addition to the Professional Development and Recognition Board where she contributes to the DAISY Award, Certification Day, and Excellence awards. Susan is also a member of several system level committees. She assists with precepting new hires, teaching workstations in the ICU skills lab and running journal clubs. Susan spends time helping the local community by teaching first aid to the Scouts along with volunteering for weeklong youth camps as a camp nurse.

Pikes Peak Regional Hospital

Michael Rodriguez
CNO: Michael Rodriguez, MSN, RN, CCRN

Hospital Recognition

  • Critical Access Hospital.
  • CDPHE designated Level IV Trauma Center.
  • DNV designated Acute Stroke Ready Facility.

Poudre Valley Hospital

Ashley Bruning
CNO: Ashley Bruning, MHA, BSN, CNOR

Hospital Recognition

  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet® Designated: 2000, 2004, 2009, 2014, 2018.
  • Primary Stroke Center certification by The Joint Commission and American Heart Association / American Stroke Association.
  • American Heart Association / American Stroke Association Get with The Guidelines-Stroke GOLD PLUS Quality Award with Honor Roll Elite 2020 and Target Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll.
  • Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE) member since 2018.
  • American College of Surgeons Bariatric Surgery Center Network (ACS BSCN) Accreditation Program – Bariatric Center of Excellence. Re-designated in 2015.
  • Patient Centered Medical Home, Level 3 – Family Medicine Center, National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).
  • Healthgrades America’s 100 Best Hospitals 2020.
  • Watson Health Top 100 Hospitals (Teaching Hospitals) 2021.
  • US News & World Report High Performing hospital.
  • US News & World Report ranks Poudre Valley Hospital as the #4 hospital in Colorado.

Contributions of Professional Nursing

  • Jennifer Nolte, BSN, RN, CCCTM – Family Medicine Center / 2021 PVH Magnet Nurse Award for Exemplary Professional Practice. Jennifer’s role as a transitional care nurse places her at the patient bedside, working with our most vulnerable patient populations to secure a safe transition of care across the continuum. She works with the underserved, uninsured, and homeless patients; making transitions of care complex. Her ability to effectively communicate and partner with team members, ensures a cohesive, safe and timely discharge of her patients. An example of Jennifer working at the top of her scope is through the complex discharge process she facilitated for a patient with COVID-19. This patient’s life changed from being an independent primary earner to requiring long-term care at home with multiple caregivers. She was a fierce advocate when needed and utilized her experience and nursing knowledge to empower this family. The family remains successful in their day-to-day care and the patient continues on the road to recovery.
  • Amy Conboy, BSN, RN, CEN, CPEN – Emergency Department / 2021 PVH Magnet Nurse Award for New Knowledge, Innovations, and Improvements. Amy identified a need for an ED post-intubation order set for mechanically ventilated adult patients. She completed a literature review and synthesized the information and the ICU’s protocols to align nursing practices to those in the Emergency Department. Amy collaborated with multiple stakeholders and disciplines including physician leadership, pharmacists, and quality specialists. Her interventions include a post intubation checklist and medication reference cards. These cards were designed to be used as a bedside point of reference helping to guide the nurse more effectively manage pain and sedation. After implementation of this practice change, there was a decrease in ventilator days by 0.75. Amy was integral to departmental changes regarding discharging patients by advocating for a Lyft Program to provide safe transportation home for ED patients. The data collected by Amy and her peers supported the need for a UCHealth Lyft Account.
  • Kate Soholt, BSN, RN-BC, Nurse Manager – Resource Management Center / 2021 PVH Magnet Nurse Leader Award. Kate and the resource pool staff opened two units to support the care of COVID-19 patients, without hesitation, and with determination and skill. Kate created a vision and communicated that vision, confidence and drive in her staff to achieve expectations. She not only guided the staff through the unknown with caring for COVID-19 patients, but also empowered them to change processes and procedures. Kate and the resource pool staff have cared for over 2,000 patients on the MSU and MSU2 Units. In March, Kate supported her staff through a Time of Remembrance. With Kate’s facilitation, the resource pool staff came together to review the past year; to grieve for the patients that were lost to COVID-19, to remember those with a fighting spirit, and to renew and heal themselves. Through the stress of opening two units and a global pandemic, Kate led by example, supported the staff physically, emotionally, and mentally. This year we have been able to safely and effectively care for COVID-19 patients because of Kate’s outstanding guidance.

University of Colorado Hospital

Kathy Howell
CNO: Kathy Howell, MBA, BSN, RN, NEA-BC

Jennifer Rodgers
ACNO: Jennifer Rodgers, DNP, ACNP-BC, FAANP

Hospital Recognition

  • #1 US News and World Report in Colorado.
  • American College of Cardiology (ACC) Accreditation Services™ Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI 2018.
  • American College of Surgeons (ACS) Level I Trauma Center.
  • American Heart Association (AHA) “Get with the Guidelines” Gold Plus Recognition 2018.
  • American Heart Association (AHA) Comprehensive Stroke Center.
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet® Designated: 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2020.
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Prize® Recipient: 2004.
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Nurse of the Year Award® Recipients: 2011, 2013, 2016.
  • American Burn Association (ABA) Verified Burn Center.
  • American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) Beacon Award of Excellence: Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit 2015
  • Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. Baby Friendly® designation 2018.
  • Colorado Perinatal Care Council (CPCC) Level III NICU.
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredited Post Baccalaureate Nurse Residency Program.
  • National Cancer Institute (NCI) Comprehensive Cancer Center.
  • The Joint Commission (TJC) Certifications:
    • Inpatient Diabetes Advanced Certification.
    • Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification.
    • Ventricular Assist Device Certification.
    • Palliative Care Advanced Certification.
  • Vizient Ambulatory Care Quality and Accountability Award 2018.

Contributions of Professional Nursing

  • Lauren Bayless BSN, RN, CNOR – Operating Room / 2021 UCH Magnet Nurse of the Year Award for Exemplary Professional Practice. As an active member of the UCH Perioperative CAUTI quality group, Lauren was instrumental in changing the standard of practice surrounding placement of indwelling urinary catheters (IUCs) in the operating room via the use of a nurse driven protocol. She created education around this new protocol and trained OR staff on the standardization of perioperative catheterization utilizing guidance of governmental and professional organizations. Because of her participation in this group and valuable insight as an OR nurse, the OR realized an IUC placement reduction rate of 19% and in cases less than 4 hours, there was a 24% reduction.
  • Emi Grant, BSN, RN, CPPS – Pharmacy / 2021 UCH Magnet Nurse of the Year Award for New Knowledge Innovations and Improvements. Emi has demonstrated exceptional contributions in leading system-wide standardization as it relates to smart pump technology. Her commitment to establishing standardization to achieve new heights of quality, efficiency, and effectiveness have involved designing and implementing innovative ways to use technology and workflow improvements to enhance nursing practice. Emi was instrumental in leading numerous system-wide smart pump standardization projects including Patient Controlled Analgesia (PCA) / epidural standardization- which led to a 50% decrease in pump programming errors and a 79% decrease in errors that reached the patient. During the pandemic, Emi managed the smart pump team to standardize alternative smart pump workflows to support the frontline. This work included creating a protocol for prioritizing pump usage if faced with a pump shortage, a guide for running IV infusions via gravity and for calculating IV drip rates, and an analysis of alternate IV tubing options to support drug preservation efforts.
  • Kate Poppert, RN, BSN-BMT Infusion Clinic / 2021 DAISY Honoree Award for Extraordinary Nurses. Kate created an “Isolation Relief Program” for cancer patients that spend more than 10 consecutive days in the hospital without a caregiver. Each patient has access to laundry services, meal ordering, and personal care items. The care items available have been chosen by other survivors and caregivers to help make the inpatient stay and ongoing cancer journey as tolerable as possible. During the COVID-19 pandemic, visitor restrictions were enforced, and this program was able to provide physical and emotional support to our patients while they were separated from their loved ones.

Yampa Valley Medical Center

Kelly Gallegos
CNO: Kelly Gallegos, BSN, RN

Hospital Recognition

  • CMS 5-star rating in 2021
  • ED certified as Level III Trauma Center 2018 (recertified 2019)
  • Top 20 Rural & Community Hospitals 2019, 2021
  • Top 100 Rural & Community Hospitals 2019, 2020, 2021
  • 100 Great Community Hospitals 2018, 2019

Contributions of Professional Nursing

  • Michelle Bazile, RN, Med/Surg Resource Nurse and Orthopedic Nurse Navigator; Julie Friese, RN, Med/Surg and ICU; Mary Oamek, RN, Med/Surg and ICU; and Dan Tydeman, RN, OR, moved to Level III in UEXCEL, UCHealth’s Focus on Nursing EXcellence in Clinical Practice, Education and Evidence-Based Practice, and Leadership program, taking an active role in contributing to the improved patient outcomes, education and management (2021).
  • Liz Graham, RN, a labor and delivery nurse and lactation specialist at UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs, is passionate about her role in supporting women’s health. She was recognized in November 2020 with a Daisy Award for the outstanding care she delivers to patients.
  • The Joint Commission recognized a collaborative effort by nurses, physicians, infection prevention, pharmacy, lab and environment services teams on the patient care unit at YVMC for their multi-disciplinary approach and implementation of streamlined processes in the reduction of hospital-onset C. diff. (September 2020)

UCHealth 2021 Nursing Quick Facts

UCHealth Nursing Quick Facts 2021
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Video: UCHealth Nurses Week 2021

We honor UCHealth nurses’ skilled focus, determination and willingness to continue their crucial work through the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re proud of the work they’ve done to innovate and their continued pursuit for excellence in how we care for people.


UCHealth 2021 Nursing
Year in Review

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UCHealth 2020 Nursing
Year in Review

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Nursing Practice and Credentialing Model

Nurse residencies at UCHealth

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ANCC Magnet Recognition Program

Colorado Board of Nursing