Magnet awards await UCH nursing’s great eight

Nurses honored for work exemplifying Magnet standards
May 25, 2016

It started with 26 nominations. In the end there were eight winners.

The octet forms this year’s “Magnet Nurse of the Year” honorees. They are nurses whose achievements exemplify University of Colorado Hospital’s status as a Magnet facility, considered the gold standard for nursing excellence. The hospital has been designated a Magnet institution four consecutive times, most recently in November 2014.

The eight winners were chosen from among nominees in four categories covering clinical and non-traditional practice (see box). Each winner received flowers and a certificate during surprise ceremonies on their units or in their departments that were attended by leaders, colleagues and, in some cases, family members.

Among their accomplishments and contributions:

• Designing and implementing the Alaris pump/Epic integration
• Working to reduce nurse stress and burnout with regular phone-free breaks
• Leading the approval process for a product to pre-screen donor stools, saving time for the patient and the hospital and speeding treatment of dangerous infections
• Increasing training and education of staff on safe patient-handling equipment and decreasing fall rates
• Developing processes for identifying hospitalized heart failure patients and improving their transitions of care
• Improving nursing documentation of patient education and strengthening the voice of nurses in decision making
• Strengthening cardiac pre-and post-procedural nurse-patient communication and education
• Building interprofessional materials to assist in the management of patients with bowel and bladder problems and hypoglycemia

In addition, Colleen McIlvennan, NP, DNP, lead nurse practitioner for the Heart Failure Program, is a nominee for national Magnet Nurse of the Year honors, said Magnet Program Director Mimi Ryan, RN, MS, NE-BC.

Magnet Nurse of the Year Winners, 2016

Clinical Practice:

  • Transformational Leadership: Jara Monroe, RN, Surgical Specialties Unit
  • Exemplary Professional Practice: Nikki Chilimindris, RN, Pulmonary Unit; Kelsi Griffin, RN, Pulmonary Unit; Alison Wild, RN, Cardiac and Vascular Center Pre- and Post-Procedural units
  • Structural Empowerment: Ashley Withington, RN, Rehabilitation Medicine Unit
  • New Knowledge, Innovations and Improvements: Cheryl English, RN, Digestive Health Center; Colleen McIlvennan, NP, DNP, Heart Failure Program

Non-traditional Practice:

  • New Knowledge, Innovations and Improvements: Deborah Bonnes, RN, Clinical Informatics

Click here for the full nominations of each Magnet Nurse of the Year winner.

Bonnes Cake
Magnet Nurse of the Year winner Deb Bonnes received a congratulatory cake at a May 18 off-campus celebration held in her honor.

Bonnes Pekarek Ryan
Bonnes (center) receives certificate and flowers from Magnet Program Director Mimi Ryan (left) and director of Clinical Informatics Alice Pekarek.

Bonnes Clinical Informatics Team
The Clinical Informatics team celebrates with Bonnes.

Chilimindris Ryan
Ryan congratulates Nikki Chilimindris of the Pulmonary Unit.

Ehrenfeucht Chilimindris Cyriacks Zwink Shiskowsky
Chilimindris with (from left) Associate Chief Nursing Officer Cathy Ehrenfeucht; Brittany Cyriacks, Pulmonary Unit clinical nurse educator; Jennifer Zwink, director of Patient Services; and Kaycee Shiskowsky, Pulmonary Unit nurse manager.

English Ehrenfeucht
Ehrenfeucht reads about the accomplishments of Digestive Health Center nurse Cheryl English.

English and Company
English receives congratulations from Ryan and Ehrenfeucht. They are joined by Ambulatory Services leaders (from left) Dianna Webb, Lynne Murray and Mary Beth Savory.

Griffin Ryan
Ryan presents flowers and certificate to Pulmonary Unit nurse Kelsi Griffin.

Cyriacks Griffin Ehrenfeucht Ryan Shiskowsky
Griffin, with Cyriacks, Ehrenfeucht, Ryan, and Shiskowsky, displays her certificate.

McIlvennan Magnet NOY Certificate
Colleen McIlvennan, lead nurse practitioner for the Heart Failure Program at UCH, with her Magnet Nurse of the Year certificate.

McIlvennan Allen Ryan Ehrenfeucht
Mcllvennan was joined by Ryan, Ehrenfeucht and heart failure specialist Larry Allen, MD, who nominated her for the Magnet award.

Monroe Greeting
Surgical Specialties Unit staff greet Jara Monroe (far right, dark blue nurse’s scrubs) at Magnet Nurse of the Year celebration.

Hill Ehrenfeucht Monroe Zwink
Monroe is joined for a photo by Angie Hill, nurse manager of the Surgical Specialties Unit (far left), Ehrenfeucht and Jennifer Zwink.

Wild Ehrenfeucht
Ehrenfeucht greets Magnet Nurse of the Year winner Allison Wild in the Cardiac and Vascular Center.

Wild and Company
Wild poses with Ehrenfeucht and (from left) Dena Keilman, director of Patient Services for the CVC; Kacie Sims, nurse manager of the Cardiac Vascular Holding Unit; and CVC nurse colleague and nominator Megan Hansford.

Withington Ehrenfeucht
Ehrenfeucht reads the nomination of Ashley Withington of the Rehabilitation Medicine Unit.

Withington Group
Withington, joined by Ehrenfeucht, Zwink, Rehabilitation Nurse Manager Jan Hagman and Ryan, celebrates the Magnet Nurse of the Year honor.

About the author

Tyler Smith has been a health care writer, with a focus on hospitals, since 1996. He served as a writer and editor for the Marketing and Communications team at University of Colorado Hospital and UCHealth from 2007 to 2017. More recently, he has reported for and contributed stories to the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the Colorado School of Public Health and the Colorado Bioscience Association.