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Published on March 30, 2015

SRHS Nurses Recognized with Palmetto Gold Award

Eight nurses from Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS) have been recognized amongst the state’s 100 best registered nurses (RNs) by the South Carolina Nurses Foundation with the Palmetto Gold Award.

Established by the South Carolina Nurses Foundation in 2002, the Palmetto Gold Award program recognizes 100 RNs each year who exemplify exceptional caring and commitment to patients, families and colleagues while also demonstrating leadership skills that promote the nursing profession. Awards were presented at the Palmetto Gold Gala in Columbia, S.C. on March 28. Proceeds from the gala support the Palmetto Gold Scholarship program, which provides funding to nursing students across South Carolina.

SRHS winners of the 2015 Palmetto Gold Award – which honors excellence in patient care and commitment to the nursing profession include:

Lori Boyd
As the coordinator for the Joe R. Utley Heart Resource Center, Lori Boyd’s passion is community education for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. In 2009, Boyd was entrusted to build this community outreach model and has presided over its growth, now reaching more than 10,000 people per year. Boyd was integral in starting the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association chapter in South Carolina and serves as president. She has also served in many leadership roles in her community. Working with the Employee Wellness Program at SRHS and community organizations, she believes that collaboration and sharing of precious resources are the keys to success.

Karen Bryson
Karen Bryson works as a nursing supervisor and is viewed as an expert on workflow and patient care. In September 2011, the inpatient-nursing unit was having an issue with patient falls. The data was trending upward and there was no consistent fall prevention practice. Bryson was chosen to be part of an interdisciplinary team to analyze the situation and develop a solution. After evaluating the data, the group did a literature search and adopted a new evidence-based fall assessment tool and companion float pool. This tool was piloted for 90 days with a successful decline in falls per 1,000 patient days. The tool was eventually adopted system wide and is now the new standard for fall prevention assessment in the inpatient area. Bryson always provides exceptional patient care and is looked to as a role model in her supervisory role.

Mary Downs
Mary Downs, Patient Experience Officer, is responsible for the patient experience provided to all patients throughout SRHS. She is a lifelong educator, nursing mentor and patient advocate. Being a nurse is not a career to Downs; taking care of people is the very essence of her being. Downs has served as a nurse leader promoting education in the roles of a director of nursing, clinical outcomes specialist, nurse manager and most recently as patient experience officer. She has advocated and educated for patient safety and service excellence by implementing dashboards for data transparency, rounding with a multi-disciplinary team for improvements in patient satisfaction and house-wide implementation of a service excellence program.

Susan Duggar
Susan Duggar is Vice President of Nursing and Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for the twice-designated Magnet® Spartanburg Medical Center. She is an unrelenting advocate for patients and nursing associates throughout the health system and is a conscientious advocate for patient safety and excellent quality. During her tenure as VP and CNO, the bedside Bachelor of Science in nursing percentages have risen from 32 percent to 61 percent. Under her leadership, Spartanburg Medical Center has achieved Cycle IV Chest Pain Center with PCI Accreditation, HFAP Accredited Primary Stroke Center, ranked No. 45 in Becker’s 100 Top Hospital for Patient Engagement, Level One Clinical Hyperbaric Accreditation, Bariatric Center of Excellence and numerous clinical recognitions and awards for the Gibbs Cancer Center.

Rose L. Martinez
Rose Martinez has worked with SRHS for 28 years. During this time, she has mentored RNs and nursing students and helped encourage them to become future full-time employees. Martinez is a dedicated RN and a long-standing member of the Palmetto Chapter Association of Critical Care Nurses. She is also a member of the Professional Recognition in the Development of Nursing Excellence (PRIDE); encouraging fellow RNs to complete PRIDE projects and helping them develop their portfolios. Martinez was a member of Spartanburg Medical Center’s hospital-wide committee called, “Care Manager Core Group,” which discussed and approved all decisions about care management for nursing.

Rebecca Robertson
Rebecca Robertson completed her associate degree in nursing in 2009 at Spartanburg Community College and earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2014 from Chamberlain College of Nursing. She became an Oncology Certified Nurse in 2012 and currently serves as President-Elect for the South Carolina Upstate chapter of the Oncology Nursing Society. Robertson has a passion for oncology nursing and nursing precepting and mentoring. She enjoys being at the bedside on the Oncology and Palliative Care Unit.

Curtis B. Smith
A 2010 graduate of the University of South Carolina, Curtis Brandon Smith earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from USC-Upstate. Smith joined SRHS in 2006 as a pharmacy technician. He is currently a bedside nurse on 4 Heart, which is a 32-bed Progressive Care Vascular Unit (PCVU). A strong supporter of the American Heart Association, he is currently serving a second year as the company leader for the 2015 Upstate Heart Walk. Smith promotes education and excellence in a variety of ways. For example, he is an Advanced Cardiac Life Support instructor and helps with annual heart center competencies. He serves as a preceptor to nursing students, new graduates and new hires. He is a member of the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Smith is involved with community outreach and has volunteered at cardiovascular screening within the community, including screenings at St. Luke’s Free Medical Clinic. Smith’s goals include obtaining the Critical Care Nursing certification and pursuing a master’s degree in nursing.

Myra Cannon Whiten
Myra Cannon Whiten, MSN, RN, RN-BC, ONC is the Director of Inpatient Services, including medical, surgical and Intensive Care Units at Pelham Medical Center (PMC). Nursing is a second career for Whiten. Inspired by the nurses caring for her husband after an accident, she was called to the profession. She began her career in health care as a patient care technician, working her way through school as a licensed practical nurse, and then continuing her education earning her associate degree in Nursing, Bachelor of Science in nursing and Master of Science in nursing. Whiten has many years of experience in pediatric, orthopedic and medical-surgical nursing. From staff nurse to nursing director, White models compassion and helping others make that human connection. Her visionary leadership style energizes personal and professional growth. Whiten’s innovative leadership helped PMC become recognized for Excellence in Interactive Patient Care in the Quality and Safety category for significantly reducing the rate of patient falls and empowering patients and families to be engaged and educated throughout the patient experience.


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