A longtime Humboldt County nurse has been named the first ever "Nightingale Nurse of the Year" by Humboldt General Hospital.
Supervisors and co-workers of Diane Nevis, LPN, say the award couldn't have been bestowed on a more deserving and honorable nurse.
"Diane really establishes the benchmark for this award," said HGH Chief Nursing Officer Darlene Bryan. "She epitomizes all that we look for in an outstanding nursing professional."
The Ely native has worked at Humboldt General Hospital for more than 24 years. She also spent five years working at the hospital in Elko and at physician offices. While she has been a familiar face in departments all over the hospital, she is now most closely associated with Humboldt General Hospital's long-term care facility, Harmony Manor.
"I enjoy my residents and co-workers," said Nevis. "This is my second family."
In fact, Nevis said that's what prompted her to become a nurse. "I enjoy caring for people."
Nevis said she was overjoyed to learn she had been chosen as the "Nurse of the Year."
"It was such an honor to be nominated with the other nurses," she said, "but to win was amazing." Nevis said when she was a young nurse, she met a wonderful co-worker who taught her a great deal. "I just wanted to be one-tenth like her," she said. "Now this means my nursing career has come full circle; this means my wish came true."
Skilled Nursing Facility Nurse Manager Robin Gillis said employees embarking on nursing careers can look to Nevis as an example of the type of nurse they can aspire to be.
"Diane energizes the staff by truly hustling all the time, getting right in there and doing CNA work if that is what a resident needs. She is always teaching directly or just by example and has taken many a CNA under her wing, believing that everyone deserves a chance, and almost single handedly she has nurtured what otherwise may have been a marginal employee into someone who exels and loves what they do. She does this by conveying, in real time, the rewards of the profession; she's really a natural mentor."
Gillis said from a professional standpoint, Nevis is equally committed. "She has an excellent knowledge base with regard to the unique focus of being a long-term care nurse. She is always taking classes to ensure she not only keeps up with the changes, but for a greater understanding of geriatrics. She brings back creative suggestions that we have incorporated into our various processes."
Gillis said her department has incorporated best practices in the admission process, wound care and behavioral interventions as a result of Nevis' contributions.
Nevis also volunteered to be the department nurse preceptor and is now on her third orientation of new nurses to the unit.
Even Nevis acknowledges she has an insatiable drive to keep learning and growing. When asked what her future holds, she readily answers: "I want to learn more about long-term care, how to continue to be a better nurse and continue to be a mentor to other nurses and hospital staff."
Gillis isn't a bit surprised by Nevis' aspirations. "She always says 'We'll do whatever it takes to get it done,'" said Gillis, "and she proves this statement correct by unfailingly giving all of herself to the better of the residents, her co-workers and the organization as a whole."
Gillis told of a recent conversation she had regarding employees' pay stubs and how to understand them. "Diane said she never even looks at hers and really doesn't even know what she was making for a wage," related Gillis. "I was rather incredulous at this but she said, 'I look forward so much to coming here I guess the paycheck is just a bonus.'"
Gillis continued, "She inspires all of us that work around her by interacting with the residents in a truly human heart-to-heart way and establishing trusting relationships with the residents that they truly appreciate."
Gillis said if Nevis takes time off, Harmony Manor's residents always ask when she will be back. "Diane calls Harmony Manor her 'second home,' not because she will work extra shifts voluntarily but because she has created such caring relationships with the residents and with her co-workers."
While Nevis enjoys NASCAR, walking and spending time with her family, she agreed that Harmony Manor is her "second home." She said she was with her family when she learned of her award for "Nurse of the Year." She was with her "second family" however when she learned of a family tragedy. "My HGH family was there for me," she said.
Gillis said that's one of the things that inspired her to nominate Nevis for the award. "I am so inspired by Diane's resiliency and unfailing positive attitude," she said. "She did suffer a tragedy this past year, but she faces [adversity] with the perspective that she will take whatever is positive in that day, focus on that and keep moving forward."