Nurses Week 2016: Honoring the Impact and Influence of Nurses Everywhere

Feature Story
Really nice photo of nurse Tracie Betty holding an award
Tracie Beatty, RN

During National Nurses Week, Kaiser Permanente celebrates and thanks its more than 51,000 nurses, including this year’s 11 winners of Kaiser Permanente’s Extraordinary Nurse Award.

“I’d been working as an assistant in a nursing home for elderly people with developmental and physical disabilities,” said Tracie Beatty, RN, about her path to becoming a nurse. “I loved it because I felt like I got to spend every day with somebody’s grandparents.”

Drawn to the idea of caregiving as a career, Beatty soon became a licensed vocational nurse and then graduated as a registered nurse in 2005. Today, she works on the Medical-Surgical Unit at Kaiser Permanente’s South Sacramento Medical Center, and has worked at Kaiser Permanente for almost 20 years.

In a time of accelerating advancements in technology and digital tools within health care, the human connection that Beatty describes remains as important as ever. Empathy, compassion and relationship-building are foundations of care — and perhaps nowhere is that highlighted more than in the nurse-patient relationship.

“The more you are able to turn toward the suffering of others, the greater your own capacity and empathetic response to the world,” said John Kirk Phillips, RN, NP, of the reward he derives from caring for others. Lindsay Reitzer, MSN, RN, reflected, “When patients don’t have family and you’re able to be a surrogate for them — those are the moments I really treasure.”

Stacey Wright, RN, shared: “I love my patients. It’s such a tender experience to help people when they’re going through difficult times and give them hope when they need it most — that just brings so much meaning to my life.”

Beatty, Phillips, Reitzer and Wright are winners of the 2015 Kaiser Permanente Extraordinary Nurse Award — an annual award designed to nationally recognize and honor its nurses who exemplify professionalism, compassion, teamwork, excellence, integrity and patient- and family-centric care in their practice. You can read their profiles, and those of seven other award winners at a special Kaiser Permanente Nurses Week website.

Like Beatty, Phillips, Reitzer and Wright chose Kaiser Permanente for their nursing careers. Phillips is a Certified Bariatric Nurse at Kaiser Permanente’s South San Francisco Medical Center; Reitzer is a general practice nurse at Lakewood and Lone Tree Medical Centers in Kaiser Permanente Colorado; and Wright works in the Urology Unit at Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center in Oregon.

Nurse Ochoa holds a new born infant with the mother in bed with the father standing nearby in the backgroundNURSES WEEK @ KAISER PERMANENTE

National Nurses Week, running from May 6 to 12, is an annual event to honor, thank and celebrate nurses and the nursing profession. Kaiser Permanente takes this opportunity to celebrate this year’s Extraordinary Nurse Award winners and all of its 51,000+ nurses who serve its members across multiple care settings and specialty areas of care.

“Our nurses combine compassionate caregiving and clinical expertise to provide personalized, holistic care to our more than 10.6 million members,” said Marilyn Chow, RN, DNSc, FAAN, vice president of National Patient Care Services and Innovation. Kaiser Permanente’s nursing excellence, as recognized in a national release by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in 2015, is representative of the organization’s commitment to safe, high-quality care and service.

“Nurses are at the forefront of patient care, and as health care continues to evolve to meet the future needs and expectations of patients, nurses will play a critical role in that transformation,” Chow added. “Health systems will depend more heavily on their leadership skills, clinical expertise, compassionate care and critical thinking. Kaiser Permanente recognizes this exciting and important shift, which is why we invest in our nurses through professional development, education and professional practice training to continue building our culture of extraordinary nursing care.”

Kaiser Permanente nurses make up an impressive 27 percent of the organization’s workforce, serving members and patients in countless ways and capacities. For instance, in addition to their primary role as frontline caregivers, Kaiser Permanente nurses work in technology, informatics, research, education and more, designing systems and tools for better care experiences. Their influence is improving care in settings across the continuum — from hospitals, nurse advice call centers, medical offices and ambulatory clinics to skilled nursing facilities, home health and hospice centers. As Kaiser Permanente continues developing digital technologies, tools and platforms to deliver care wherever patients are, nurses will play a crucial role serving members in new ways, using innovative care delivery approaches that bring care closer to where members live, work and play.

“Health care is constantly changing, so it’s important that we nurses remain open to change and are comfortable with technology,” said Sheryl Almandrez, RN, another Kaiser Permanente Extraordinary Nurse award winner. “But in the end, we are here to care for and connect with patients, and that’s what matters most.”