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Palmetto Gold winners of 2017

Six nurses receive state’s highest nursing honor

Six nurses from Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS) earned the Palmetto Gold Award, a designation given by the South Carolina Nurses Foundation to honor the state’s 100 best registered nurses (RNs). Awards were presented at the Palmetto Gold Gala in Columbia, S.C., on April 22.

SRHS recipients of the 2017 Palmetto Gold Award were honored for their excellence in patient care and commitment to the nursing profession. These six nurses share their insights and gratifying moments they have experienced during their nursing careers.

Matthew Towner, RN-III, PICC
Admission, Discharge, Transfer Nurse at Pelham Medical Center

PortraitHow long have you been a nurse?

13 years.

What inspired you to become a nurse?

A co-worker of mine suggested I would make a good nurse, which inspired me to pursue it as a career. I asked why she thought I would be a good nurse and she said I was able to make things better during the worst situations at work and that I genuinely cared about people. One of my sayings has been: “You can teach most anyone to be a nurse, but you can’t teach them to care. That piece right there makes the difference.”

What is the most rewarding aspect of your career?

One of the most rewarding aspects of my career is bringing comfort, understanding and hope in hard situations. It’s rewarding to see patients come to grips with their disease and work to overcome it and thrive. They grow not only in their understanding of their illness, but along the way they grow as a person and are all the better for it. I enjoy meeting their needs on a tangible level and pointing them to God, the giver of life and hope.

Jill Jolley Green, MSN, RN
Chief Operating Officer/Chief Nursing Officer in Post-Acute Care for Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System

PortraitHow long have you been a nurse?

24 years.

What inspired you to become a nurse?

Nursing is such a hands-on way to improve lives every day. I very much enjoyed that aspect. Now that I’m in an executive role, I enjoy being an advocate not only for patients and their families, but for the nurses and clinical staff who care for them.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your career?

Knowing I represent, support and lead our staff and contribute to helping them become the best caregivers they can be gives me great joy! Being in a position to effect positive change in health care is also very rewarding.

Kellie Geater, BSN, RN
Hospital Educator at Pelham Medical Center

PortraitHow long have you been a nurse?

Nearly 16 years, I’ve been a nurse in multiple roles from critical care, cardiac stress lab and a hospital educator.

What inspired you to become a nurse?

I would visit my mom at work in the laboratory. Seeing the way she cared for her patients and treated them inspired me. Her job was a part of the equation to help people feel better again. I enjoy critically thinking about that body function that isn’t working, how it got there, and how we can make it work again.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your career?

As a bedside nurse, knowing my training and education has helped to save numerous lives is amazing. Nurses are there to listen and educate. Nurses are there playing a direct role in a patient’s most meaningful moment, whether those moments are positive or negative. As an educator, I love helping shape nurses training and knowledge to help have a positive impact on patients, families, and other nurses. I also enjoy serving as a role model for new nurses, and providing the leadership needed to implement evidence-based nursing practice to strengthen the nursing profession.

Rhonda Wood, BSN, RN, PCCN
Nursing Administrative Supervisor at Pelham Medical Center 

PortraitHow long have you been a nurse?

34 years. I have worked in medical surgical units, home health, orthopedics and most of my career has been spent working in ICU.

What inspired you to become a nurse?

I decided to become a nurse when I was 14 years old after my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a radical mastectomy. The nurses that took care of her and our family were so compassionate and caring. They were my inspiration.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your career?

The most rewarding part of my career is seeing a patient I thought wouldn’t better, get up and walk out of the hospital well again. This makes you feel that you make a difference in someone’s life. There is no better feeling.

Kelly Boyd, BSN, RN
Nursing Informatics Analyst, Clinical Informatics for Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System

PortraitHow long have you been a nurse?

9 years.

What has been your role as a nurse?  

In my current role as Nursing Informatics Analyst, I serve as a nursing leader. I work with bedside clinicians to analyze workflow and reduce variation in nursing processes to improve patient safety and outcomes. I also help support nurses and other clinicians in the design and implementation of clinical applications throughout the development life cycle. I serve as the system nursing lead for the development of evidence-based care plans that promote interdisciplinary collaboration. I facilitated the Nursing Special Forces Task Force in 2016 to increase nurses' clinical informatics competency and to improve the safe use of technology at the point of care with the launch of Epic.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your career?

The most rewarding aspect of my career is ensuring patient safety and improving health outcomes by working with bedside clinicians. I support nurses and other clinicians in the design and implementation of clinical applications throughout the development life cycle.

Cynthia L. Norris, BSN, RN, CDE
Certified Diabetes Educator at Medical Group of the Carolinas – Diabetes Education

PortraitHow long have you been a nurse?

27 years.

What inspired you to become a nurse?

Nursing has always been more of a calling than a career for me.  I had many family members that were in the nursing profession and I have always admired nurses. I have practiced in various settings over the years, but first became interested in diabetes while working in home health in the 1990s. It was after working with patients in their homes, that I began to realize how much diabetes education was needed.  As a certified diabetes educator, I have the chance to educate people with diabetes and hopefully help them avoid bad outcomes. 

What is the most rewarding aspect of your career?

The best part of being a diabetes educator is getting to go to work each day, knowing that this day could impact someone’s life for the better. Ultimately my goal is to help others lead healthier, happier lives in spite of their diabetes.

 

About Palmetto Gold

Established in 2002, the Palmetto Gold Nurse Recognition and Scholarship 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. Proceeds from the gala support the Palmetto Gold scholarship program, which provides funding to nursing students across South Carolina.