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 patient- and family-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

Your nursing career at UCHealth

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UCHealth Nursing Professional Practice Model

Professional Practice Model graphic
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 programs at UCHealth hospitals

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 (3)
    • Implementation of Robotically Assisted Orthopedic Surgery Partial & Total Knee Mako program
    • Presentation accepted at National Association for Orthopedic nursing about our discharge class and implementation
    • 2021 Quarter 2 – Grandview Hospital Employee of the Quarter
      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.

Medical Center of the Rockies

Jessie Willard
CNO: Jessie Willard, MSN, RN

Hospital Recognition

  • 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 #6 hospital in Colorado in 2021

Contributions of Professional Nursing

2021 MCR Magnet Nurse Award for Transformational Leadership: Lauren Ciminski, BSN, RN, CVRN, Charge Nurse - Cardiac Cath Lab

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.

2021 MCR Magnet Nurse Award for Empirical Outcomes: Becky Kruchten, MS, BSN, RN, Charge Nurse – West Greeley Emergency Department

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.

2021 MCR Magnet Nurse Leader Award: Jumer Sapinoro, MSN, RN-BC, Nurse Manager – Cardiac Unit and Clinical Decision Unit

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 Health System

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

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

2021 Quarter 1 - DAISY Award: William LaPalme, BSN, RN - Memorial Central Campus Medical/Surgical Unit

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.

2019 Clinical Excellence Award for Structural Empowerment: Susan Gonzalez, BSN, RN, CCRN - Memorial Central Campus Intensive Care Unit

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.

Poudre Valley Hospital

CNO: Julie Nunley, MBA, BSN, RN

Hospital Recognition

  • American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet Designation® 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, 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 #8 hospital in Colorado in 2021

Contributions of Professional Nursing

2021 PVH Magnet Nurse Award for Exemplary Professional Practice: Jennifer Nolte, BSN, RN, CCCTM – Family Medicine Center

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.

2021 PVH Magnet Nurse Award for New Knowledge, Innovations, and Improvements: Amy Conboy, BSN, RN, CEN, CPEN – Emergency Department

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.

2021 PVH Magnet Nurse Leader Award: Kate Soholt, BSN, RN-BC, Nurse Manager – Resource Management Center

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 Zwink
ACNO: Jennifer Zwink, MS, RN, OCN

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

2021 UCH Magnet Nurse of the Year Award for Exemplary Professional Practice: Lauren Bayless BSN, RN, CNOR - Operating Room

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.

2021 UCH Magnet Nurse of the Year Award for New Knowledge Innovations and Improvements: Emi Grant, BSN, RN, CPPS- Pharmacy

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.

2021 DAISY Honoree Award for Extraordinary Nurses: Kate Poppert, RN, BSN-BMT Infusion Clinic

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.

>> Nursing at UCHealth: 2020 Quick Facts

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.


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ANCC Magnet Recognition Program

Colorado Board of Nursing