Bronson Methodist Hospital Announces the 2015 Excellence in Nursing Award Recipients

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Published on May 11, 2016

Bronson Methodist Hospital Announces the 2015 Excellence in Nursing Award Recipients

Congratulations to the seven Bronson Methodist Hospital nurses who were honored during National Nurses' Week.
Bronson Methodist Hospital's Nursing Excellence Award Winners Pose for PictureOn Tuesday, May 10, 2016, Bronson Methodist Hospital recognized seven exceptional nurses during the Excellence in Nursing Celebration. Nursing Excellence awards are based on key areas of the Nursing Professional Model of Care: leadership, compassion, respect, pride, expertise and impact. Honorees include:

Linda Rus, MSN, RN-BC, a nurse manager from the education services department, received the Leadership Award. As the leader of her department, Linda recognized the importance of her staff obtaining specialty certifications. She established a study group which dramatically increased the number of nursing professional certifications her staff obtained. Under her leadership, Bronson educators have transformed from ‘staff nurses who are able to teach’ to a group of highly professional educators.

Brittany Smith, BSN, RN, a nurse on the adult medical unit, was the recipient of the Rising Star Award. A colleague notes how Brittany has transitioned from novice to expert in a very short period of time. She goes on to explain that “from the moment Brittany started, I knew there was something special about her. Her desire to provide high quality care is evident when you see her in action and her smile is contagious!”

Shannon McNally, BSN, RN, a nurse on the cardiology unit, received the Hazel Latondress Compassion Award. Shannon continually shows compassion, kindness and empathy to her patients and their families. She was nominated for this award because of a particular interaction she had with one of her patients. The patient explained that while Shannon cared for her, she always felt like Shannon was truly listening and genuinely wanted to help her get better. “When she was giving me a shot, she wore a mask because it was required, but she found a way to communicate with me through her eyes. If I could have chosen a nurse to take me home, it would have been her!”

Sarah Darwin, BSN, RN, a nurse on the general medical unit, was selected for the Hazel Latondress Respect Award. Sarah always has her patient’s best interest at heart and advocates for them when they are unable to stand up for themselves. She treats every patient she takes care of with respect and works with them, not for them, to come up with a plan of care. Her patients appreciate this because it helps them to feel in control and like they have a say in their own care. It is not uncommon for patients to specifically request that Sarah care for them when she is scheduled to work, because of the kindness and respect she shows them and their families.

Katharine Gross,BSN, RN, a nurse on the neuro critical care unit, was the recipient of the Hazel Latondress Pride Award. Katie was nominated for the award by one of her colleagues, who explains “To Katie, her job is not just a profession, but a form of art.” Her colleague went on to explain that “It is clear not only to her peers and myself, but to our patients and their families, that she loves what she does. She radiates with pride and her commitment is infectious. While I'm learning to perfect my own art of nursing, I plan to model it after Katie.”

Jane Weststrate, BS, RN, CCRN, a nurse on the trauma care unit, received the Hazel Latondress Expertise Award. Jane has served as a nurse on the trauma care unit for several years and has a great deal of experience and expertise in treating burn victims. Because of this, she acts as an exceptional resource and clinical expert to her colleagues. This year, Jane has helped plan and implement several burn-related policies, training sessions and drills. Bronson is truly lucky to have Jane as part of the trauma care/burn team.

Rebecca Bollinger, BSN, RN, ONC, an orthopedic nurse navigator, was presented the Hazel Latondress Impact Award. Rebecca’s central role within Bronson is to improve the patient experience for Bronson’s orthopedic patients, and it is apparent that she takes her responsibilities seriously. She shows a true passion for achieving excellence on behalf of her patients. According to her manager, “Whenever there is a decision to be made, Rebecca encourages those around her to stop and think about what is best for this patient.” It is evident to everyone around her that it is not only her desire to give her patients a positive experience, but the way that she goes about achieving it, that makes her a true asset to Bronson.

In addition to those listed above, fourteen nurses were recognized with the 2015 DAISY Award. Nominations for the DAISY Award are received throughout the year and honor nurses who meet patient and family needs by going above and beyond the traditional role of nursing. DAISY honorees include: Melody Couch, BSN, RN; Melanie Disbro, RN; Pat Eve, BA, RN; Tina Keeler, BSN, RN; Elizabeth Koperdak, BSN, RN; Jeff Martin, RN; Judy Martin, RN; Darcy Morrison, RN; Kim Pillars-Wark, RN; Teresa Poehlman, RN; Kay Schacht, BS, RN; Jennifer Singleton, BSN, RN; Caroline Weierbach, BSN, RN; and Tracie Witt, RN.

The DAISY Team Award was presented to the trauma care unit for the teamwork displayed during the mass shooting earlier this year. The team came together quickly and efficiently during the incident, even staying after their assigned shifts and helping out on units where they don’t typically work. Through the difficult and potentially chaotic situation, the team worked together like a well-oiled machine, with the highest level of professionalism and compassion.

All of these winners represent the high caliber of nursing care at Bronson and further validate the hospital’s Magnet® recognition. Magnet® recognizes healthcare organizations that demonstrate excellence in nursing and is considered the gold standard. It is the highest honor an organization can receive for professional nursing practice. To date, only seven percent of U.S. hospitals have earned Magnet recognition.

The public is also invited to recognize Bronson nurses this week and throughout the year. Nurses may be recognized online at

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