Twelve years ago, Kim Schallenberger, coordinator for the Plains to Peaks Council of the Regional Emergency Medical and Trauma Services (RETAC), decided that excellence in emergency services ought to be recognized.
So he started the annual Plains to Peaks RETAC awards to do just that. The annual awards honor everything from dispatchers to emergency room doctors.
This year, three UCHealth Memorial Hospital employees were recipients of these awards of excellence.
Dan Lauer – Emergency Room Nurse of the Year
Dan Lauer was named Emergency Room Nurse of the Year by the Plains to Peaks Council of the Regional Emergency Medical and Trauma Services
His nomination came from nurse co-workers Stephanie Russel and Ivey McCune. They said:
“We would like to nominate Dan Lauer for the Plains to the Peaks ER Nurse of the Year. Dan is our Emergency Department Team Lead for trauma and has proven over and over again what a valuable resource he is, to not only our hospital but to our community. Dan is a resounding leader in the trauma field and is constantly looking for ways to improve our trauma team and protocols to ensure the highest level of care to our traumatically injured. He mentors staff, leading by example, and is always seeking suggestions and concerns of others.
“Most recently Dan orchestrated the Warfit exercise for Memorial in conjunction with Peterson Air Force Base. This exercise was to help prepare our staff for a potential mass casualty incident that involved both a trauma component and decontamination procedures. Dan led approximately 40 ED staff members through the exercise so seamlessly that all staff involved were amazed with our team and our ability to work together.
“Some of Dan’s greatest attributes include his calming effect on staff during stressful situations, his ability to lead others and his vast knowledge base both in trauma and the medical field as a whole. His humble nature is to never accept acknowledgement for a job well done but instead shifts the praise to his team.
“We are honored to work beside Dan and call him a friend. It is with great pleasure that we have the opportunity to nominate him for this award. “
Dr. Julie Kiley – Emergency Room Physician of the Year
Memorial Hospital’s Dr. Julie Kiley was named Emergency Room Physician of the Year.
Dr. Kiley was nominated by Dr. David Steinbruner. He wrote:
“I am writing this letter in support of Dr. Julie Kiley’s nomination for ER Physician of the Year for the Plains to Peaks RETAC. Dr. Kiley has been a dedicated supporter of EMS and a long-time participant in the activities of the ESA.
“She began her career as a paramedic in Teller County and understands the difficulties and the nuances of providing care at the street level. She became an ED physician and through her dedication and her rigorous standards has pushed the paramedics and EMTs of our region to hold themselves and their work to the highest of standards. She has always been available to teach EMS personnel both in lectures and at the bedside. Through these actions, she has garnered a great deal of respect from the EMS personnel who work with her.
“One of her greatest achievements in recent times has been to act as a representative on the ESA board and to represent the concerns and the interests of the fire departments and ambulance services that were not part of the new relationship between AMR and the Colorado Springs Fire Department. …
“Dr. Kiley is, in my opinion, one of the best examples of a dedicated professional who has put the duties of her job and her position first. I believe that she represents the best that our profession has to offer and I am proud to say that she is one of my colleagues.”
Ginger Flynn – EMS Educator of the Year
Flynn was nominated by Bonnie Gentzel, administrative assistant at Memorial Hospital EMS. She wrote:
Memorial’s Ginger Flynn was named EMS Educator of the Year by RETAC.
“Ginger is an excellent instructor who goes out of her way to see that the students not only pass the tests, but also that they really ‘get it.’ This will enable them to be much better EMTs in the field and give them the competence, as well and the confidence to treat their patients appropriately.
“Ginger actively seeks out the latest teaching techniques to engage the students in new and exciting ways. Ginger is a very dedicated volunteer paramedic. She provides hundreds of hours of patient care per year on her own time, sacrificing her family time, comfort, and (very importantly) her sleep! She is also a part-time career paramedic with AMR, on her days off.
“Her passion for EMS is evident in her delivery of the material to the students. She makes teaching very personal, and the students respond positively to that and want to be like her in their EMS roles. (We should be so lucky!!)”
The three Memorial employees were among the nominees put forth this year. Every spring, there is a call for entries from the five-county region the council represents. Of the nominees, a winner is chosen in each category by Schallenberger and his executive committee.
Although there is not a winner in every category every year, the categories include: Volunteer EMT of the Year; Volunteer EMT Intermediate of the Year; Volunteer Paramedic of the Year; Career EMT of the Year; Career EMT Intermediate of the Year; Career Paramedic of the Year; Dispatcher of the Year; EMS Educator of the Year; Emergency Room RN or Flight Nurse of the Year; Emergency Room Physician of the Year; Medical Director of the Year; EMS Administrator of the Year; EMS Agency of the Year; Volunteer Lifetime Achievement Award; and Career Lifetime Achievement Award.
There’s also the “Step Up Award” for an unusual event (given to numerous agencies after the Waldo Canyon fire for the collaborative efforts to evacuate the Mount St. Francis nursing home).
Schallenberger encourages people to nominate someone from one of these categories. You can do so by visiting www.plainstopeaks.org.
“This is my baby,” he said. “I want to get the word out and recognize people who do outstanding work in emergency services. They deserve it.”