VUH Healthcare Hero Award Recipients 2023

The VUH Retention Committee is pleased to announce the following winners of the 2023 Healthcare Hero Awards. Created in January 2022, the Healthcare Hero Awards recognize staff at Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital that exhibit excellence in patient care, team morale, and credo

VUH Healthcare Hero Award Recipients announced for 2023

  • Nurse of the Quarter: Kathleen Belden, VUH Emergency Department - This was a patient comment that was sent to us from 9/11/2022. There was a patient that came from clinic to the ED with critical lab results. Kathleen took the call from the transfer center. The ED was on critical capacity for several days with multiple boarded patients. Inpatient capacity was purple. Kathleen went above and beyond to make a space to help keep this patient safe and cared for. When the patient arrived, Kathleen continued to check in with the patient and keep the family up to date. They were very scared and she was a friendly face for them. Every time Kathleen is a shift leader, she puts detailed gratitude for staff that went above and beyond. She makes sure they feel appreciated for the hard work that they endure on a busy shift. She even further and has sent individual emails to staff thanking them for what they do. She also notifies me when special thanks needs to be given. She is very respected from staff.
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  • (slide 1) Nurse Leader of the Quarter: Andrew Ezzell, CSL: CVICU
  • (slide 2) Nurse of the Quarter: Christina Mathis – Kiersten Johnson, RN: 7RW
  • (slide 3) Ancillary Staff Member of the Quarter: Blair Miller, Clinical Pharmacist
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(slide 1) Nurse Leader of the Quarter
Andrew Ezzell, CSL

From Andrew’s nomination: Andrew went above and beyond helping me coordinate my first time taking a patient outside. Gave me step-by-step instructions and was willing to help in any way. One day I was caring for a very busy patient. Andrew asked me if he could do a K-card, I asked him to return later because I had been terribly busy and needed a minute to organize my lines and ensure I was compliant with our quality standards. Andrew was kind enough to stop what he was doing to help ensure all of our quality measures were met rather than doing that K-card while I was behind and stressed. Andrew's support and positive attitude is greatly appreciated in these situations! 

(slide 2) Nurse of the Quarter
Christina Mathis – Kiersten Johnson, RN

From Kiersten’s nomination:  The night shift has been struggling with care partner staffing. Many nights are left without a care partner. Instead of letting the care partner staffing become a burden, Kiersten, night shift RSL, rose to the challenge of finding a way to work as a team and have fun while doing it. Kiersten created an incontinence train. She decorated a supply cart on the unit as a train. She stocked the cart with chucks, briefs, dimethicone cream, mepilex, and CHG wipes. Each night the team would round on patients together with the cart and address incontinence, pressure injury prevention, CLABSI, and CAUTI prevention tactics! The team expressed that they found a way in a challenging time to have fun while providing great patient care as a team! Kiersten demonstrated transformational leadership by inspiring the team to embrace the challenges to find other ways without compromising patient care, and instead providing GREAT QUALITY SAFE patient care while improving team morale. Kiersten recently was selected and successfully completed training in insertion of ultrasound-guided PIVs. She rounds on the other units to see if they have any IV insertion or lab collection needs. Many times, she responds and completes the task without the guidance of the ultrasound. She created a Geri Angel wing display on the family room corkboard. Each smaller feather on the wing has an individual name of a staff member on it. This is her representation that all the staff members on the unit are angels. 

(slide 3) Ancillary Staff Member of the Quarter
Blair Miller, Clinical Pharmacist 

From Blair’s nomination:  Blair daily lives the VUMC Credo. She makes those she serves her highest priority and she is committed to her colleagues. She is a team player and is always on the lookout to help others complete their jobs safely and efficiently. She creates a working environment that fosters and encourages learning and questions. She welcomes all students paired with her and she makes a point to introduce them to new faces so they feel included and a part of the team while they are completing their rotation with her. She communicates clearly and effectively and helps staff seek understanding when confused. She consistently conducts herself professionally. She has a great sense of ownership to her work and how her job plays into the entire system that is VUMC. All of these CREDO tenets can be seen in the following specific example. Most recently, she discovered that a patient who was Muslim had been receiving Lovenox injections. Upon discovering this information, Blair went to discuss the medication with the patient and his family member. She desired to disclose to the patient that the medication had pork products in it. After disclosing this information to the patient, the patient stressed that he no longer wanted this medication due to his religious beliefs. Blair was able to honor his religion by working with the Provider to create a new anticoagulation plan of care. His order of Lovenox was discontinued and Arixtra was ordered.  After this event, Blair has had discussions with her colleagues in pharmacy and has also reached out to IT to see if enhancements can be made to eStar to more easily notify pharmacy about patient's restrictions so that this specific situation could be more easily identified for future patients.