October 09, 2017
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Congratulations, Riverside Trailblazers!

What is the Trailblazer contest? The goal of the Trailblazer contest is to recognize our best of the best staff across all departments/areas in the health system. Staff to be recognized as Trailblazers are those staff who blaze remarkable journeys for their coworkers and our patients/residents through their exemplary consistency in living our key words and Professional Standards of Behavior. 

Congratulations to the following Riverside Trailblazers! 

Samantha Burger (Emergency Dept) Samantha Burger is my nomination for the Trailblazer Award. Samantha provides patient centered care always making sure the needs of the patient and family are met. Samantha received a connection card from a patient stating “Samantha is awesome, works hard, willing to help, she’s a keeper!” Samantha leads by example, performing rounding on patients, making sure her daily duties are complete, and performing a tech handoff report so that the oncoming shift is aware of what is going on in the department. Samantha was given 2 connection cards related to her performance as a tech/coworker, stating “Samantha goes above and beyond her duties, she’s a super tech!” and “ Sam is always willing to stay past her shift to help stock, transport patients to the floor, or do whatever the department needs at the time. She is a true team player.” Samantha often picks up extra shifts, making sure her coworkers are not shorthanded. Dana Arseneau, dayshift ED team leader, completes pediatric transfer audits. Dana recently stated, “I was doing some of my audits today and noticed that Sam has been charting a lot. This helps me so much. She is putting in pertinent information that helps me to determine where the transfer delays are. I was so excited to see this when I was doing the audits.” Keep up the great work Samantha; we appreciate everything you do for our emergency department and our patients!

Lorraine Cadwallader (Housekeeping) Lorraine is one of the team leaders of the 2nd shift environmental services team and for good reason. Lorraine is an extremely hard worker and a natural with taking on new employees. Since I have worked with Lorraine, I have watched her bridge the gap for new employees fresh from orientation, helping them gather supplies, understand their job duties, learn the hospital, and make them feel comfortable in our department. Lorriane's intuition with new employees, hard work, and knowledge of our department makes her an indispensable part of my team and a true trailblazer.

Cloice “Bill” Foltz (Housekeeping) Bill searched through a dumpster of trash to find a resident's set of keys that she accidentally dropped into her garbage. But besides that, Bill performs his daily tasks with competency and care while dealing with the many requests that come up during the day. His fellow employees greatly appreciate him.

Katie Hartman (Resolve Outpatient) Katie is the team leader for the RRC Adult Outpatient program. Her professionalism and commitment are extraordinary. Recently, I have watched her maintain her composure and navigate 2 DASA audits wherein the auditor, the computer system or both, made the audit much more difficult than it needed to be. Katie is always professional and respectful and exceeds expectations every week. She’s a team player and makes sure that she and her staff are available to assist the residential team with everything from floor coverage to audit prep. Thank you Katie – it is a pleasure working with you!

Garrard Hendrix (Radiology – Nuclear Medicine) I would like to recognize Garrard Hendrix as a trailblazer employee. On a daily basis Garrard comes into work with a smile on his face. He is always courteous and friendly with patients, customers and co-workers no matter how difficult his day might be. I know I can always count on Garrard to assist others when needed without complaint. He is an asset to the Riverside organization and his positive energy is felt throughout the Radiology department. Garrard provides exceptional service and his professionalism is outstanding! Thanks Garrard for all you do!

Jackie Hicks (Sterile Processing) On multiple occasions I have observed Jackie teach employees in sterile processing, the how and why a sterile processing technician is responsible for: processing and sterilizing surgical instrumentation and equipment according to manufacturer and local guidelines. Jackie has shown her knowledge and dedication as a sterile processing technician here at Riverside for more than 10 years. Jackie will give 100% to supply the best outcome for all patients. Jackie can be relied on for advice and assistance when management is out. Her skills and contributions are highly viewed by her coworkers.

Sheila Kirchner (3 Ortho/Neuro) Words cannot express how much she has done for the unit. She precepts and mentors new staff members. She helps the unit remain focused about what is important such as giving back to the community- (salvation army drives, relay for life and other fundraisers to help the community and keeping the patients first). She is the oldest person remaining on the unit from the original staff members. She is very knowledgeable and will share it if you listen. She is a very important asset to the team/unit.

Kathryn Hines (Care Coordination)Always helping when asked and helping pick up shifts, etc. Kathy is always pleasant and kind throughout her shifts. She is very patient and always tries to help out anyone.

Kelly Kohler (Manteno Clinic) Kelly has stepped up and taken on more responsibilities in the office. She is always willing to help and learn. She "blazes" through. She is the definition of a trailblazer. She is such a team player to the office and lives up to the Riverside mission and vision. Kelly will also help her coworkers even when they don't ask. She just does.

Gayle Landeck (Physician Services) Gayle consistently demonstrates Riverside's mission and is thoroughly committed to excellence and patient safety. She is a model steward of Riverside finances, and her critical attention to quality and eye for detail ensures that her entire team continually strives for peak performance.

Brittany Lange (3 Ortho/Neuro) Brittany is always willing to go above and beyond to help everyone. She is always on top of all things happening on the unit and constantly keeps the unit organized and flowing seamlessly. Brittany always has a smile on her face and greets employees, patients, visitors and families with professionalism. Brittany consistently keeps our unit as a priority and is always willing to come in and help out when she can. She tries to do anything and everything she can to make all of our jobs easier! She helps to research patients to make bed assignment easier and more appropriate for them as well as assisting in nurses assignments. She is definitely a great asset to our team!

Brandi Leohr (Housekeeping) Brandi Leohr has been mentioned in the Press Ganey survey comments for her exceptional cleaning skills and compassionate courtesy. She also came up with the idea for housekeepers to carry call light clips to replace missing ones in patient rooms to help prevent falls.

Jennifer Lewis (SLC Dietary) Jennifer joined our Kankakee Senior Life Team several years ago starting at Miller Rehab. She transitioned to the Independent and Assisted Living team in 2016 and has been a most valuable asset since! Jennifer constantly brings fresh ideas to the team and helps the team implement these ideas, increasing our Resident Satisfaction with Dining Services. Our Residents love having Jennifer around and frequently go to her with special requests that she is able to make happen. Jennifer is working toward being a true role model for all staff as to what "Professional Standards" look like. She has accomplished a seamless transition to her supervisor role within our community, in a very short period of time. Congratulations Jennifer!

Lance McCann (Resolve Youth) Lance is a team player in every sense of the word and he makes "Exceeding Expectations" a weekly event. He helps out whenever he is asked and more than once has volunteered before being called upon. A few examples of his efforts include: Volunteered to be the track coach for the RRC track team 3 years in a row now. He volunteered to take over as Safety officer when RRC nursing hours were reduced in June. Goes out to the Hoover building a few times a month to do observed drug screens on adolescent male clients. Will be starting the new Adolescent Outpatient group in Wilmington in November. And he does all of this in addition to his regular responsibilities as a primary counselor on the residential unit! What luck we had when we found Lance through "outside" interviews several years ago.

Kari McClain (Emergency Dept) In March, Kari recognized an altered septic patient brought to her from EMS. She used quick critical thinking skills, activated sepsis order set and notified ER physician. Dr. Whyte herself said she deserved a gold star for the day! In August, Kari had a great catch with a stroke patient that was given TPA. She noticed an anaphylaxis allergic reaction immediately, got Dr. Peksa in the room who then got anesthesiology and intubated successfully as the reaction was worsening by the minute. Kari's excellent and quick assessment skills very well could have saved this patient's life. In addition to these two examples of excellent, quality patient care, Kari also has received multiple connection cards over the past year from her coworkers and patients. She has received connection cards for teamwork, providing great care, bringing donuts in for staff, being kind and compassionate and more. She has also been praised for great charting. Lastly, she has volunteered her time to the department outside of her working hours by working ONU fair and making new NPO tags for our CVA patients.

Megan McDaniel (RMG Rheumatology) Megan has been instrumental in trying to meet Quality measures requirements for great patient care and safety. Since we are one Riverside and share patients across RMG this has helped other RMG Providers/Clinics as well. During the rooming process she asks pertinent questions and explains to patients why it is important to get screenings, tests and exams done per guidelines. Megan's name is always mentioned in a positive manner on patient satisfaction surveys.

Anne Milaneses (Miller Admin) Anne Milaneses incorporates the spirit of the Trailblazer Award in all she does. Her attention to detail and accuracy ensures that patient accounts are correctly handled and her kind, patient approach helps residents and families manage the financial side of their care. Her commitment to Miller residents goes well beyond what is expected of her. It is not unusual for Anne to spend considerable time helping one of the Miller clients deal with their insurance company or provide support and direction when applying for various assistance. When admitting to a skilled nursing facility, residents and their families are often filled with anxiety and fear about their health issues and also about the cost of their care. Anne alleviates these fears by always finding time to quickly respond to resident and family questions. She is a calming force and wonderful resource for Miller's families and residents.

Anne Miller (OPS/PACU) Anne Miller- RN in OPS/PACU was nominated for her commitment to excellence. She is gentle, compassionate, and LOVES to educate her patients prior to going to surgery. She is well respected among her peers, thorough in her work, and approaches all things with the patients best interest in mind. She brings years of knowledge to the team and has severed as an excellent leader to others.

Kristin Miller (3 ICU) Kristin always checked on a fellow nurse who had a very unstable patient, despite having her own patient load. She is a strong team player and is very encouraging every day she works.

Melissa Musgrave (Laundry) Melissa is a very hard worker. Melissa is very dedicated and determined to meet the needs of all the laundry department customers. Melissa sets a great example for others to follow, she is hard working, friendly and willing to help anyone. Melissa assists the laundry staff in completing their OLIE training and their Reach requirements on a yearly basis. The staff depends on her help and they all appreciate her assistance!

Scott Nusbaum (Housekeeping) Scott is consistently a team player and a positive influence for the 2nd shift environmental services team. Scott is always there to lend a hand, helping not only his fellow employees but also his supervisor. On more than one occasion, Scott has cleaned not only his work area but multiple sections of his coworkers' areas to ensure that everything was ready for the next day. Even on the busiest of days, Scott has a positive outlook and always puts the department and hospital before himself.

Tanya Obenland (Labor & Delivery) I'd like to nominate Tanya Obenland (Labor & Delivery Tech) for a Trailblazer pin. She exemplifies a staff member who consistently exhibits top-notch behavior in patient care, voluntarily flexes her schedule to meet department needs, and without hesitation will "go the extra step" to blaze new trails in healthcare! Tanya exemplifies the term "go-getter"-not just going through the motions to get through her shift but performing each task with attention to detail, and actively seeking and rectifying anything (large or small) needing attention. She frequently serves as preceptor to new-hires and will willingly and voluntarily flex her schedule to ensure the new-hire experiences Labor & Delivery as well as OR time (scheduling herself to be here to coincide with scheduled c-sections in order to give the new-hire experience in an OR situation), she will stay over in times of need. Tanya actively seeks to keep the unit need and organized and continually seeking ways to improve the patient experience. The above is not an occasional thing with Tanya, it is her work methodology at all times and for this, I feel she embodies a true Trailblazer! Tanya consistently anticipates needs of coworkers and patients on a daily basis. Is helpful to everyone. There is not one specific "moment" , but instead a continuity of excellent performance every day/night that she works! Tanya is always working above and beyond. She never sits still. Frequently she will do something you were going to do without you asking. Tanya cleans refrigerators - folds and restocks linens, scrubs and supplies. I love working with Tanya because you know the work will get done. She always has a good attitude and a smile.

Tari Penley (Assisted Living and Memory Care Kankakee) Tari Penley, one of our amazing nurses, makes a remarkable difference in the lives of those she cares for in our community. There are many reasons why we feel Tari is a trailblazer as Tari strives to provide exceptional experiences for our residents, their families, and our team. In fact, because of how involved Tari is the entire resident experience, some of our memory care residents believe Tari is our ‘entertainer’, ‘musician’, ‘activities lady’, [the list goes on…]. In addition to her role as a nurse [and other previously mentioned resident determined titles], Tari has also played an active role as resident ‘beautician’. One of our residents was unable to get an appointment to get her hair done prior to a significant family celebration. After witnessing the stress and worry that this caused for the resident, Tari came in to work to perm this resident’s hair. The resident was extraordinarily proud of her new style and the family was tremendously grateful for Tari’s actions. While this may be a seemingly small act, Tari’s actions exemplify truly leading with the heart and holistic nursing. This is one example (of many) as to why we feel Tari is well deserving of the Trailblazer award.

Heather Peters (Momence) Heather is an excellent team player who is always willing to help others. She is a Care Associate for the clinics who checks patients in and out, answers phones, and makes appointments. She lives up to the Riverside potential and follows our mission. She is always looking to achieve and enhance her knowledge. Heather goes above and beyond and it shows completely in her work.

Barb Pfingsten (Watseka Diagnostic) Barb goes out of her way to make Oncology patients feel welcome and secure while receiving Chemotherapy at our Watseka Campus. Barb is the most compassionate, caring and kind nurse I have ever met. Barb goes above and beyond each and everyday for patients and employees. Barb has a positive attitude and brings sunshine on a cloudy day. Barb Pfingsten was nominated for the trailblazer award because Barb is the best of the best. Barb sees the patients’ needs and helps our patients obtain those needs through the services at Riverside Healthcare. I proudly nominate Barb Pfingsten for this award and blazing the trail for others to emulate her kindness and her incredibly generous heart.

Bruce Reardanz (Laundry) Bruce is an amazing employee, a rockstar. He manages the laundry department like a well-oiled machine. This was very apparent when the department had a fire last week. With his hands on approach and leadership style, the department being down three and a half days, ran very close to normal with minor hiccups that went unnoticed to our end users. 

Melissa Roberts (3 Ortho/Neuro) Melissa is a wonderful nurse. She also is helpful when it comes to assisting patients to and from the washroom, assisting techs with both. She is very helpful with explaining information to me. She is helping me with information on being a nurse. I am a tech on Ortho and she is pushing me into becoming a nurse. Melissa is a wonderful nurse and a wonderful person. She has a beautiful heart and a passion in helping people. (Lynn Chamberlain) Melissa is an awesome coworker. She is a team player. I always see her smiling and positive. She is always ready to lend a hand on the unit from admissions to simple tasks. There is really no specific time I can pick because I would have too many to choose from. Melissa always has something positive to say and welcoming words for all staff. She is a pleasure to work with. 

Cheri Rogers (Quality Improvement) I would like to nominate Cheryl Rogers from the Quality Department for the Trailblazer Award. Cherie has enhanced our data collection process for cardiovascular, working with our outside abstraction vendor and with the American College of Cardiology to better understand the definitions of the measures. She has built relationships with the Cardiovascular physicians and they respect her cardiovascular knowledge base. She is confident in the data and her presentation of that data to the Cardiovascular physicians. She has also built relationships with the Cardiac Cath Lab management and staff. She went above and beyond when she gladly accepted being one of the leaders for the implementation of the Glytec system. Cheryl continued to support the staff and physicians with Glytec until she recently left our department to become a Nurse Practitioner. She was very passionate about providing the best care to our diabetic patients.

Bonnie Rykel (Monee) Bonnie was nominated by her coworkers for the Trailblazer award at the Monee clinic for her above and beyond help to patients and everyone she works with. Staff gave words of praise stating she is very knowledgeable, helpful, hardworking, a mentor, encouraging and caring. Staff observe her using AIDET everyday to keep patients informed and happy with over 1 hour wait time. In fact, patients state they don't mind waiting due to the great care they receive from everyone here. She also does the billing and is very helpful for providers and patients to be sure they know about their care and benefits.

Aaliyah Rosenthal (Assisted Living and Memory Care Kankakee) With much excitement and without reservation, we are proud to nominate Aaliyah Rosenthal for the Trailblazer Award. Since joining our team this year, Aaliyah Rosenthal makes a remarkable difference in the lives of all of those around her through her passion, enthusiasm, and genuine nature— Aaliyah goes above and beyond to provide exceptional experiences for our residents, their families, our team, and our community. In a short amount of time, Aaliyah has created loving and trusting relationships with our residents and team members. On a regular basis, Connection Cards are submitted by residents (or on behalf of residents) related to the remarkable difference Aaliyah makes in the lives of our residents. One of our team strengths lies in our ability to continuously remain attuned to the emotional needs of our residents. One of our residents, who had recently experienced many personal, sad events, shared their positive experience regarding the difference Aaliyah made in their life. After a mishap in the resident’s beauty shop, she was left with straight hair (prefers curled). Because of upper body physical limitations, this resident is unable to care for her hair. Upon learning of this, Aailyah entered the resident’s apartment and offered to help. The resident eagerly accepted this offer, so Aaliyah dampened the resident’s hair and placed curlers in her hair. The resident expressed sincere gratitude for Aaliyah’s attentiveness and cheerfulness. Aaliyah serves with her heart and understands the importance of caring for the body, mind, and spirit. A respected and highly admired woman, Mother Teresa, once said, “If you want to bring happiness to the world, go home and love your family”— Aaliyah brings happiness to our world simply because of kindness and love she shows to our Riverside ‘family’.

Maribel Sanchez (5 Observation Unit) Maribel had been a great team player and always positive. She always sees the bright side of any situations even when the unit is busy. She always has smile, cheering her patients and her coworkers. She’s very helpful to her team members and also gets a lot of positive feedback when pulled from other units. 

Tiffany Scanlon (Managed Care) Tiffany leads in service excellence and teamwork. She always goes above and beyond to help unravel the nuances of our managed care affiliations and ensuring clarification is presented to all who need to understand them. She serves customers and hospital team members in a professional and courteous way, ensuring their needs are met. She is always ready to dig in and solve an issue, large or small. 

Hailee Balk (Emergency Dept) I have chosen Hailee Balk as my ER Trailblazer: The definition of trailblazer in the dictionary is: Blazes a trail to guide others: although she is a new employee to our department, she has shown initiative in patient care. She does not need to be guided by staff throughout her day. Many nurses have said to me “I went in to discharge a patient and she was already in the room taking discharge vitals”. “I just went into the chart to check what was to do and Hailee is already doing it”. She is consistently looking at the track board to find her tasks and completes them on time. Another definition: A person who does a particular thing before anyone else: Hailee is new to the TR schedule process. She provides me her availability ahead of everyone and is very detailed in her requests. Hailee has been known to stay over her shift because of the acuity of the department. Hailee comes to work on time and with a positive attitude every day (even when she isn’t feeling well). She continues her positive attitude during high census days, high stress levels, and low staffing days. Hailee has been such an addition to our department. Keep up all the great work and positive attitude. Keep doing what you do every day. You can be a great leader Hailey. That is why you deserve this trailblazer pin… like I said at the beginning… the definition is “someone who blazes a trail to guide others”. I believe you can set a trail for all of us to follow. 

Lisa Bodemer (Home Health) I would like to recognize Lisa for her outstanding service in providing care to our home health patients. Lisa's passion for her work shines through the complex patients she serves. She is a strong advocate for patient care and has gone above the call of duty to ensure her patients have their needs met. Calling in social services for community assistance, helping with getting their medications, medical supplies and has led the home care team in raising money for families in need. She participates in the Magnet program with peer reviews, has received her wound care certification, and is always willing to help out when called upon.

Mary Kleinert (Environmental Services) Mary Kleinert is a key player in our department. She welcomes all the new employees and helps get them acclimated to the facility. Mary helps all three supervisors with ensuring all housekeepers are compliant on all required training, surveys, flu shots, etc. She also helps employees navigate through Rivernet. Although Mary is not a member of the Emergency Response Team, she was one of the responders to arrive in the Emergency Department when CSL had a chemical spill.

Susan Mickelson (Corporate Billing) Susan is a very hard worker. She always jumps in without being asked. Always there for staff. She is like the "mom" here for the girls. She works hard and will make sure she understands something 100%. She is always giving 110% in her work.

Korene Scharp (ICU) 1. We had a patient who was dying and his wife would not leave his side. Korene paid for 2 meals out of her own pocket for his wife for the day. What a huge heart Korene has. 2. Korene helped Michelle with a very unstable patient all day. She did so with a smile. She even made sure she had snacks and hydration. She is continuously sought out by her team for assistance and advice.

LeAnn McCormick (Organizational Development & Learning) Several nominations from her coworkers: From the first day I stepped foot into Education, LeAnn has always made me feel like part of the team. That was 4 years ago when I was put on light duty. As we talked about life and got to know each other we found out that LeAnn knows a lot of my family. That was awesome to be able to make that connection. From that day on, I felt like if ever I need to talk or if I need that extra helping hand, I can depend on LeAnn. Thanks LeAnn for everything! | LeAnn and I were walking to the new OD &L office on the third floor of the hospital. There was a bilateral leg amputee gentleman who was trying to wheel himself to the elevator. LeAnn asked if he was okay and double checked. He finally accepted help getting to the elevator. This is not the first experience where LeAnn goes out of her way to assist patients, employees, volunteers, etc at Riverside. | When you asked for an employee with a positive attitude, who is a true team player, I immediately thought of LeAnn. Anytime I have a question or need help she is more than happy to step up. Just this week she made time in her schedule due to a (fairly last-minute) request from me. She always has our patient experience in mind and is always looking for ways to improve the organization with patient care and safety at the forefront of her actions. | LeAnn demonstrates excellent team work and customer service. She is always willing to help out and coordinate when new change occurs (helping keep organized during our transition to our new home/office). She also gets us involved by coordinating ways to help others in the community.

Chandra Seabaugh (Radiology - CT) I chose Chandra Seabaugh as a Trailblazer for the CT Department in Radiology, because she consistently functions as a role model for teamwork and service excellence. For the 11 years that Chandra has worked in the CT Department as a Registered CT Technologist; she has consistently strived for excellence in both her teamwork and her customer service. She consistently receives Connection Cards from both patients and co-workers. She is always ready and willing to take on new responsibilities within the department. She is also consistently willing to help her co-workers with a difficult exam or procedure, even if it means working past the end of her shift or even coming back to work. She has always made herself available to answer their questions by phone from home as well. She functions extremely well as a Charge Tech when I am on vacation while continuing to care for our patients. She also is an active and contributing member of the Radiology Dose Monitoring Committee, which meets monthly and works to reduce radiation dose to as low as reasonably achievable. Because I can always rely upon Chandra to follow all policies, procedures, and exam protocols, I put her in charge of training all new CT Technologists, as well as all of our Students, many of whom have gone on to accept positions as CT Technologists in our department after they graduated. She just naturally assumes the position of mentor to our assistants as well. She is an advocate for patients, staff and management, helping staff to understand the why behind decisions they may not be happy about initially. She has a very patient and calm demeanor that puts everyone around her at ease. Over the years, Chandra has been integral to our success at building a strong department of very competent and caring staff. Chandra takes responsibility for doing what she can to keep both patient and employee satisfaction up. Chandra brings real solutions to the table rather than just point out the problems. For this reason, I often ask for her feedback and suggestions. In addition to her positive and professional relationships with her co-workers in Radiology; she is also recognized and respected by the Radiologists and the ED department for her dedication to providing the best care for all of our patients. 

Catherine Sexton (5 Med/Surg) Cathi demonstrates an epitome of very positive individual. According to the team leader (Vanessa), it was a busy day on the unit; Cathi approached each team member and me, lending a hand. She always has a great spirit, and says we can conquer the world as a team! 

Patricia Shermer (Wilmington Clinic) Patti is very loyal and passionate to her job. One of her job roles is the biller for the Wilmington clinic. Patti works hard every day with staff and providers to keep them up to date with any changes, educates on errors made and teaches them how to efficiently document and charge capture. There is not a task that she backs down from and completes them on time. Every day she shows up with a positive attitude, helps her team and providers, and if there is anyone that will always look for a solution, it's Patti. 

Lauren Short (Foundation) Lauren is a consistent favorite for many donors to Riverside. What impressed me this year was her eagerness to step in and lead the "Lead with Your Heart" campaign in addition to her Samaritan duties.

Lori Simmons (RMG Coal City Physician Office) Whenever a task needs to be completed or the clinic is in need, Lori never hesitates to help out; she will be the first to say she will help. Lori has dual job roles, working at the front desk registering and checking patients in, and also rooming patients and assisting with their care during the visit. Both of these roles are very important and busy job roles and Lori does a great job each day helping in both areas, multi-tasking to help others out, but mostly she is always setting a great example of what teamwork and collaboration is about and sets the meaning to both. We receive continuous and positive feedback from staff and providers, stating that whenever they need something or have a question, they have great confidence in Lori and always know they can rely on her. Lori will take the extra mile any day to help her team out, does it without hesitation, and in what could be her worst day, one would not know because she always works with a positive attitude. 

Dorothy Smith (Housekeeping) Dorothy Smith is a key member to the EVS department. She welcomes and trains new employees to the department. Her HCAPHS scores are always above the national average. The nursing supervisors compliment her performance and attitude. She engages the patients on her unit as if they were family. Dorothy often receives connection cards from patients, visitors and RMC Staff. 

Denise Smyly (Assisted Living and Memory Care Kankakee) Denise lives out our Riverside mission offering her highest thinking, her kindest touch, and her strongest commitment to excellence. Day in and day out, Denise serves as our fearless team leader positively impacting and influencing the lives of those around her. Denise is consistently recognized by our residents and her peers through the compassion she possesses in every interaction. Throughout the past year, Denise has been recognized and/or described by our residents in many positive ways including: “Best CNA at Riverside”, “Denise should be rewarded for all she does for me”, “Denise is so beautiful- sparkling personality”, “Denise is always smiling- like her name: Mrs Smiley”, “Denise makes me feel good about myself and encourages me”, and “If I were to describe Denise in one word, it would be lovely [silence]; well, I can’t describe her in just one word because she is just so wonderful and has a heart of gold”. These are just a few examples (of many) that exemplify Denise’s passion for our residents and commitment to bettering the lives of those around her. A wise, inspirational woman named Maya Angelou once said “nothing can dim the light that shines from within” and “a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people”—thank you, Denise, for being our shining star and altruistic hero. 

Laurie St. Aubin (Housekeeping) Laurie, after working all day at Bourbonnais Assisted Living, sometimes comes back late afternoons or evenings with her children, to visit residents and help enrich their lives. She goes above and beyond providing compassionate care to her residents. 

Melissa Storball (5 Med/Surg) Melissa has been flexible with her schedule and consistently helps the unit when we needed help. She always tries to help in any way she can even for a few hours on her days off. 5MS team sure do appreciate her and for being a great team player! 

Cathy Stygar (OB) I nominate Cathy Stygar RN OB! Cathy was a new graduate that joined our Family Birth Center Team 2 years ago and has accelerated well! Cathy is kind and displays patience with all her patients and families. Cathy, regardless of the situation, census and/or acuity is a "team player of all team players" always with a beautiful smile and soft word. Patients and families love Cathy and she is mentioned frequently upon Leadership Rounding. Cathy is well respected by physicians, colleagues, and leadership! Thank you, Cathy, for all you do every day! 

Toni Sutton (Behavioral Health Intake) Since she started, Toni has shown to be an exceptional employee. She is consistent, rarely has to be directed, is extremely well-organized, never says "no", manages shifting priorities, communicates professionally and efficiently with department staff. She is a great team player, great for morale and takes on extra shifts or work when she can. She's knowledgeable and is always learning. Toni has long term goals for professional development. She's been a big part of the success of our new department. I wish I had 5 Toni's. 

Katie Swafford (Dietary) Katie goes above and beyond for her patients to provide exceptional customer service both in the inpatient side at the hospital and at the Cancer Treatment Center. She troubleshoots for patients and listens to them with caring and empathy. Katie positively interacts and communicates with nurses, physicians, and other healthcare providers and acts as her patients' advocate to obtain the best possible nutrition care for her patients. She positively helps those in our community by providing nutrition education with the Living Anew Program, cooking classes for cancer survivors, and serving on the ONU Dietetic Advisory Board. She never hesitates to go out of her way to help others. Recently, an elderly gentleman was in the parking lot walking at RMC and Katie made sure he got in safely and knew where he was going. 

Ashley Taetsch (RMG Womens Health) Ashley is the definition of a team player. She always is the first to volunteer for additional work, projects or to help other departments. Even while working at Womens', she will take on billing for other offices to help. Always willing to go the extra mile - that is Ashley! 

Lorely Taylor (Assisted Living and Memory Care Kankakee) Lorely volunteers much of her personal time to raise awareness to Alzheimer’s Disease (and dementia) and, also, fundraises for this cause. Recently, Lorely partnered with our Experience Team to coordinate and facilitate a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association. The fundraiser involved Lorely cooking dozens of eggs rolls and homemade rice- preparation for this fundraiser event took (reportedly by peers) days. In addition to the significant amount of time Lorely contributed to this cause, she also fronted the cost of the food involved in this endeavor. This fundraiser yielded over $200—all of which was donated to the Alzheimer’s Association. This example is just one (of many) where Lorely’s dedication is unmistakably palpable. Lorely’s passion and commitment to her profession, residents, team, and community is evident in all she does- Lorely is well deserving of the Trailblazer Nomination.

Aholiab Thomas (Miller Dietary) Aholiab Thomas treats every resident and guest with the utmost respect. He knows each resident very well and always knows what their likes and dislikes are. He approaches every table with a smile and caring hand.

Shelly Timmer (Miller) Shelly Timmer is the manager of the dietary department. Shelly does a great job leading her department. She has had a lot of stressful staffing situations lately and has kept her head held high. The department is in a much better state since she arrived. Recently when we had a power outage her leadership skills stood out above the rest. Her freezers had stopped working properly. She stayed late and continually checked temperatures to be sure that she did not need to move food. She also served on paper plates for four days because of a hot water issue. All of these together could have really been a disaster but she held it all together. 

Jennifer Varvell (Emergency Dept) know when I am working with Jen she will make the day run smoother. She cares for our patients like she would care for her own family. She rarely has to be asked to perform a task because she is always looking for work to be done. She goes out of her way to make sure that the patients have what they need. When there is a bad or unpleasant situation, she is known to try and make the best of it. I have heard her say “look on the bright side” many times. | She is someone that people look up to, her energy and smile makes the work day fun. Some connection cards received: "Jen was so helpful in teaching me many things on my orientation checklist. She let me get my hands in it right away and taught me as we did things together. I learned a lot from her, and was so thankful that I got to be trained under her." "Jen went above and beyond to get daily duties completed today." "Jen went above and beyond to get daily duties done today. She completed duties that were not even assigned to her. She is always a great team player."| "Very nice, great attitude".

Megan Tjelle (3 Ortho/Neuro) I recognize this staff for her positive attitude and hard work on this unit. When she comes into work she doesn't complain about her assigned group in spite of her patients' higher activity. At times I can tell from the look on her face that she is overwhelmed but is still able to manage and smile and doesn't whine about her difficulties. She is also willing to take admit without complaint. 

Whitney Trevino (2 Med/Peds) Whitney has precepted 2 new graduate nurses this year: with both of these she was encouraging and kind in her feedback. She injects energy and joy into her workday which in turn energizes fellow staff. 

Katie Turrell (Miller) Katie is in charge often on evening shift. She always stays positive, leads by example, and keeps everyone informed of the shift occurrences. She smiles, keeps a positive attitude and works as a team member helping everyone. 

Ashley Ulitzsch (PACU) Ashley Ulitzsch is a tech in PACU/OPS. She was nominated for her continued commitment to her team and the patients she cares for. Ashley provides outstanding care and is compassionate in her role, always giving 110%. She routinely looks for tasks or projects to help improve workflow and functionality of the department. She is a valued and highly respected asset to our department. 

Julie Vilt (Wilmington Clinic) Julie comes to work each day with her top priority being patient care. She has been mentioned countless times on patient satisfaction surveys, thanking her for going above and beyond. One situation that always comes to mind is a day Julie went to training at the hospital and was supposed to take earned time the rest of the day. She saw me at the hospital, approached me and said she knew there were a lot of phone messages and patients waiting for call-backs, and she asked if it would be okay to go back to the clinic and get patients' messages answered rather than taking the time off. Julie, thank you for your continued efforts day to day, striving to always provide fantastic patient care, and always putting patients first. You always have been a role model and the meaning behind a team leader for which is why you deserve this pin. Thank you! 

Peggy “Ramie” Weichelt (Resident Clinic) Ramie is one of the most kind, hard-working, dedicated employees that I have ever had the honor of working with. Her compassion for the medical field is what drives her and it is inspiring to not only the other teammates that she works with, but also to me. She has been a constant and dependable employee since I took over the Resident Clinic. Ramie's knowledge and dedication is second to none! I cannot recall a time that she did not work to her full potential and is always willing to step in and help her teammates. Ramie is also a patient favorite and is constantly getting rave reviews on the patient satisfaction surveys. To hear the patients call her by name, hug her, and seem disappointed if she is not the one taking care of them speaks to her true nature as a caregiver. There is no one that I can think of that deserves this honor more. Kudos Ramie!!!! 

Alan West (Information Services) I am nominating Alan as a trailblazer because Alan has been the most helpful person to the providers and staff throughout the year. Whenever we are having a problem Alan understands the urgency of the matter and will make himself available to assess the problem at hand. He always has a positive attitude and never makes us feel like we are a bother to him. He is always happy to help with whatever the problem is. We had a recent relocation of our office and he only had 1 day to move all the equipment. It was very successful thanks to Alan and his detailed planning and coordination.  

Johnna Williams (RMG Pediatrics) Johnna is an excellent employee who goes above and beyond her scope of duties. She is always willing to help others. She keeps up with our VFC inventory, prior authorizations for two providers and will always get up and move patients if she sees the care techs falling behind. She is always willing to share her knowledge with others and teaches employees new information she finds to keep everyone updated. She is very valued by the physician and we are grateful to have her on our team. 

Cherish Wood (Assisted Living and Memory Care Kankakee) Cherish Wood is a tremendous asset to our Assisted Living and Memory Care family as demonstrated by her loyalty, compassion, and unwavering commitment to our residents. Cherish is consistently recognized by our residents and their families for her kindness and delivery of individualized care. This year, Cherish was nominated for the Honor a Caregiver Program by one of Riverside Senior Life’s long term residents for her heart, integrity, and professionalism. Cherish is innovative, creative, and eager to expound on our team strengths and grow our opportunities. Throughout the past year, Cherish has submitted many ideas and feedback- most of which have resulted in extraordinary, high level resident-centered outcomes. Mandy Hale states “There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others”— Cherish is beautiful both inside and out and we feel Cherish deserves the Trailblazer Nomination for her momentous contributions this past year.

Patricia Visinaiz (Miller) Patty is an outstanding employee. She always has a kind word and a smile. She wants everyone to be pleased with their stay and goes above and beyond. She even came in on a holiday with a small token for every resident. 

Kristi Wakat (Home Health) I would like to recognize Kristi for her outstanding contribution to Riverside Home Health. She consistently reflects Riverside's code of behavior. She starts and ends each day with a smile, she never has a negative word for anyone, she is always willing to help out where needed. She consistently receives positive feedback from her patients and within the community. Her excellent professional skills can be seen in her patient outcomes and through her teachings at Total Joint University. Thank you to Kristi for your passion and dedication. 

Valerie Walters (Resolve) Val is the office manager at RRC. Many at Riverside will recognize her name because she has been with the company for a great many years. If RRC were a MASH unit, Val would be our "Radar". Val knows everybody and where to find most anything. She can get things fixed, ordered, delivered, removed and even cleaned and sometimes all in the same day! She supports both RRC programs in many ways that go beyond the "office manager" duties. She talks to parents having trouble understanding bills, teaches and reteaches staff members having difficulty with the computer system and makes Walmart runs for everything from ping pong balls to dog food! Thank you Val for keeping us organized, compliant, and continually moving forward. 

Brandi Watson (Housekeeping) Brandi Watson has been glowingly mentioned in Press Ganey survey comments by former patients as a great, cheerful, and compassionate cleaner and caregiver. She has been recognized numerous times through connection cards for her compassionate care.