Behind Tammy Peterman's success as executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief nursing officer lies a boundless passion for patient care. This was cultivated years ago while watching her father's devotion toward his patients and their community as a smalltown physician in western Kansas.
As chief nursing officer since 2001, Peterman has helped establish a patient-centered culture throughout the department of nursing and the hospital. This is illustrated by patient satisfaction scores routinely in the top 10 percent of U.S. hospitals and a third-time Magnet® designation.
This year, Tammy was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, the profession's highest honor. She is one of approximately 2,400 fellows in the academy out of nearly 4 million nurses nationwide. Fellows are leaders in nursing education, management, practice and research.
Congratulations, Tammy: We are extremely proud of you and grateful for your leadership across the health system.
For Nancy Martin, RN, taking care of her patients every day was a privilege. She was entrusted with their fears, vulnerabilities and hopes as she prepared them for the surgical continuum of care. Nancy joined the health system in 1976 and always worked in the perioperative and procedural care area. As she prepared for retirement, she said she is most grateful and mindful of her patients' courage before and after their procedures. Keeping up-to-date with nursing education was also important to Nancy. She was a longtime member of many professional perianesthesia organizations and even served as the hospital's first practice council chair. In her 40-plus years walking the halls of the hospital, many nurses looked to Nancy as their mentor. She was truly a "nurse's nurse" and distinguished herself as an inspiring leader with a commitment to deliver the best care to patients and our staff.
Teamwork is everything to Louis Nicholson, who was one of our exceptional healthcare technicians. He will tell you firsthand our patients have better outcomes when we work together. Louis retired this year after more than 40 years at The University of Kansas Health System. His career began in 1976 at the Gene and Barbara Burnett Burn Center, and later in the outpatient burn clinic. He assisted numerous nurses and physicians in treating patients with the most complex burns, injuries and wounds. Our nurses often looked to his expertise in treating and caring for patients with burn wounds. They will tell you no one can wrap a wound with such precision and compassion as Louis.
Compassion, empathy, support – they are components of a good nurse. But there are other emotions Lindsay Norris, RN, knows painfully well: modesty, remorse, even guilt. A nurse at The Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Care Pavilion, Lindsay was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer in September 2016. She started a blog (herecomesthesun927.com) to keep friends and family members updated on her progress. One of her blog entries included an open letter to her patients titled "Dear every cancer patient I ever took care of, I'm sorry. I didn't get it."
In her blog, she writes about how she didn't truly understand the depths of what her patients faced. Lindsay has been an oncology caregiver here for eight years, including three years working with inpatients on BMT/HematologyOncology (Unit 42). She now understands the surreal shock of hearing the diagnoses, the anxiety waiting for test results and the desperate need to Google about one's disease.
Her blog went viral, receiving more than a million views around the world and has been translated into three different languages. She also received online media coverage in People, Self, US Weekly and Time magazines. Most importantly, it is also being used as a learning resource for hospitals across the country.
Cara Larson, RN, will tell you life is not about how fast you run or how high you jump, but rather how well you bounce. Cara became inspired by a resiliency class at Turning Point, which is part of The University of Kansas Health System that provides services for patients and families to cope with their illness or disease. She created a continuing education credit class to help nurses learn how to bounce back from stressful events. Cara covers many skills, including the ability to self-calm, develop a sense of coherence, and how to become nonjudgmental and supportive.
She also incorporates information she learned from attending the 2016 Magnet Conference in Orlando. During her class, she discusses the importance of learning how to manage one's natural emotions in a healthy way. The goal is to have nurses continue to practice these learned resiliency skills to restructure thought patterns and, ultimately, to create positive experiences from the lessons learned. Cara is also working on her yoga certification and plans to create a class specifically for nurses next year.
Kathy Byrnes, RN
The May 2017 DAISY celebration in the gastroenterology clinic was far more bittersweet. It recognized Kathy Byrnes, RN, a nurse and former social worker in our health system who passed away in January. Her award marked the first time a DAISY Award has been given posthumously in our organization.
Kathy's colleagues say she truly cared about all her patients. Her social work background was evident, as she could carefully navigate any system and assist patients who were in financial and social distress. She took it upon herself to know the ins and outs of medication assistance programs to help identify options for her patients.
Her upbeat attitude and unwavering kindness are missed within our health system.