SLV Health Sends Four to Nightingale Awards

San Luis Valley Health is pleased to announce that four of its nurses have been selected to represent the organization at the 2014 Nightingale Luminary Awards in Denver.

The Nightingale Awards event was founded in 1985 to honor nurses who best exemplify the philosophy and practice of Florence Nightingale, a 19th century nursing pioneer who epitomized the art of helping people toward their optimal health.

The four finalists from San Luis Valley Health were nominated by either their peers or supervisors or a combination of both and are recognized at a regional event.  A Regional Selection Committee then selects finalists, called Luminaries.  The State Selection Committee will now name the recipients of the Nightingale Award at its event on May 10th in Denver.

“We are beyond proud of the work that these four individuals do on a daily basis,” said Patti Thompson, Chief Clinical Officer at San Luis Valley Health.  "Their sacrifices and professionalism, along with a commitment to excellence, embody the spirit of what San Luis Valley Health is all about.”

The four nurses representing San Luis Valley Health, along with their bios, can be seen below:

Afton HughesAfton Hughes

Afton works in San Luis Valley Health’s ICU and Medical Surgery Department.  She has been a part of the San Luis Valley Health team for just over 4.5 years.   Afton is a valley native, having been born and raised in Alamosa.   She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. 

“I am truly honored," said Afton. "Florence Nightingale was an incredible nurse and I could have never imagined receiving such recognition in her honor. I strive to be the best nurse that I can be, and I am so grateful that somebody saw something in me that would reflect her."

“I was really honored to be named one of the selections to move on to the state level of the Nightingale Awards Program,” she went on to say.  “It meant a lot to have people nominate me.  Sometimes others see things in you that you don’t see yourself, and it really touches you.”

Afton currently lives in Alamosa with her husband, Richard.

Alan TaylorAlan Taylor

Alan has worked with San Luis Valley Health over the past seven years.  Alan provides anesthesia to patients on a day-to-day basis, while also managing the Surgery and Anesthesia Department.  Alan is the ultimate team-player in his work, which is reflected in his thoughts on being named a selection to the Nightingale Awards Program.

“I personally believe there are many other deserving people of this recognition. We have some great nurses in the ED, Clinics, OB, Third Floor and ICU, but the best of course are in the Surgery Department,” he commented with a smile.  “I might be a little biased.”

“Though I do not like to be in public or singled out, I know this is an honor,” he stated.  “I would like to thank those who nominated me as well as the great staff I have the opportunity to work with.”

Dawn WeedDawn Weed

Dawn works as the Education Coordinator for San Luis Valley Health, providing all of the education for clinic staff and nursing for the SLVRMC and Alamosa clinics.  Some of that education includes things like the scheduling of certification classes like CPR, skills fairs, and how to handle new equipment.  She has been with San Luis Valley Health for close to five years.

The San Luis Valley Health Administration nominated Dawn, and she would like to express her gratitude towards them, stating that it’s a great honor to even be nominated for this award.

“I would like to thank my peers,” said Dawn.  “This is a great honor that is felt for our profession by each one of us that were nominated.  Both my parents are nurses, and I am extremely proud of the passion they instilled in me concerning caring for other’s needs.”

Dawn’s husband Eric also works for San Luis Valley Health in the Surgery Department, and their daughter Emily is in nursing school at Walla Walla University.  Dawn hopes that the passion her parents instilled in her is also something that Emily carries with her as she begins nursing school.

Shannon MunizShannon Muniz

This summer will mark the 12th year that Shannon has been employed with San Luis Valley Health.  Initially a nurse on the Medical Surgery floor, Shannon currently works in ICU and is the Unit Based Educator of Medical Surgery and ICU.  Shannon’s primary responsibility in ICU is total patient care, a job she noted can be very challenging, as patient’s needs may vary from minute to minute or day to day.

In her Unit Based Educator role, Shannon works on many different projects, including staff education classes, skills fairs, quality improvement and various projects that pop up along the way.

“Being nominated for this recognition by my co-workers and peers is a huge honor and compliment, especially because they understand what it is that I do,” said Shannon. “I would like to thank those who submitted the nomination, as well as those who wrote such wonderful letters of support.”

“I also have to thank my three beautiful children and my husband  - they are my support, my motivation, and I appreciate their patience and understanding of a very demanding career.”