Local nurses nominated for prestigious award


— Two nurses at Yampa Valley Medical Center have been nominated for The Nightingale Award.

"The Nightingale Awards event was founded in 1985 to honor nurses who best exemplify the philosophy and practice of Florence Nightingale, a 19th-century pioneer, who epitomized the art of helping people toward their optimal health," said Kathy Fields, education coordinator for the Western Colorado Area Health Education Center.

Tracy Lynn Heaberlin and Pauline Kopsa are two of three nominees selected from a group of 52 nurses from the Western Slope. Terry Jourgensen, team leader for the Northwest Visiting Nurse Association in Craig, was also nominated.

Heaberlin is a neonatal nurse practitioner at Yampa Valley Medical Center. She is the charge nurse for the Level 2 nursery program, and manages the care for high-risk infants born in the facility.

Heaberlin is being recognized for exceptional assessment skills, intervention techniques, and management skills, which have made the development of this new program possible.

Heaberlin has also developed an education program for nursing staff to foster the necessary skills for managing high-risk infants.

"I have passion for what I do, and I love my job. Because of that, it is easy to go above and beyond standard expectations," Heaberlin said, after a 60-hour shift at the medical center.

It is gratifying to receive this sort of acknowledgement from the community and public, Heaberlin said.

Kopsa is a staff nurse at Yampa Valley Medical Center, where she has worked for 13 years. During that time, she has provided clinical care in the areas of medical-surgical, orthopedics, intensive care, and labor and delivery.

"She is the epitome of a small rural hospital nurse. She brings flexibility, creativity and caring to her work on a daily basis," Fields said.

For example, when a problem was discovered in the area of breast-feeding, Kopsa chaired a committee to develop consistent education and a consistent program of care.

"The nomination may have something to do with the breast-feeding program I chaired," Kopsa said. "But I am still surprised by the nomination I don't think I do any more than most nurses."

It is nice to get some recognition for going the extra mile, Kopsa said.

The nurses from the Western Slope were honored in a ceremony Thursday.

To contact Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4205 or email bnadzam@amigo.net


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