Tina Wilson Named 2016 HGH 'Nightingale Nurse of the Year'

A Humboldt County nurse, who co-workers say “goes above and beyond” in her role as a nursing leader, has been named the 2016 Humboldt General Hospital “Nightingale Nurse of the Year.”

Tina Wilson, RN, received the news at a special luncheon during National Nurses Week. Wilson was one of five nurses nominated for the honor, including Darlene Bryan, Candice Hotz, Victoria Lopez, and Ginger Tanner.

Florence Nightingale was a celebrated English nurse, writer and statistician who came to prominence for her pioneering work in nursing during the Crimean War where she tended to wounded soldiers. Nightingale was dubbed “The Lady with the Lamp” after her habit of making rounds at night.

Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment, in 1860, of her nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, the first secular nursing school in the world, now part of King's College London. The Nightingale Pledge taken by new nurses was named in her honor, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on her birthday.

Chief Nursing Officer Darlene Bryan said the HGH “Nightingale Nurse of the Year Award” was created to recognize nurses who, like Nightingale, go above and beyond in their duties, who go out of their way to provide exceptional care, who elevate themselves and their profession through education and knowledge, and who can innovate by coming up with new and better ideas.

“In short, we are looking for nurses who inspire, elevate, innovate and energize,” she said. “We are looking for our own ‘Lady with the Lamp’ at Humboldt General Hospital—someone who truly illuminates the art of nursing.”

Wilson’s nominators certainly felt she fit the description.

“Tina has gone above and beyond recently to get the flight program underway and to make it better for our staff; she cares about us personally and professionally,” said one nominator. “Because of Tina, I feel more comfortable in my roles as both an ER and a flight nurse.”

Another remarked on Wilson’s busy schedule as both the HGH nurse educator and the HGH AirOne chief flight nurse. “She does all this while maintaining a great and positive attitude, and she always has a smile on her face.”

Another added, “Tina shows up for work with a smile on her face and a refreshing relaxed nature that inspires everyone around her to relax and enjoy the shift.”

Nominators also painted a picture of a nurse focused on education—for herself and for others. “Tina is a great nurse and is willing to help educate anyone at any time,” said one nominator.

Another added, “Tina has been a large contributor to the strong foundation of nursing at HGH for two decades. Tina elevates nursing practice by continuously pushing others to advance themselves. Tina was one of only a handful of bachelors-prepared nurses within HGH for the past few decades; Tina always encourages others to seek educational opportunities.”

Wilson said she was deeply touched by the honor to represent Humboldt General Hospital as this year’s Nightingale nurse.

She told the group of luncheon-goers that when she started at HGH in 1996, there was no apprentice nurse program or preceptor program. “They just wanted to know how many IVs you had started,” she laughed.

Twenty years later, Wilson said the hospital’s focus on excellence in both education and patient care has made an astounding difference. “I am proud to work here,” she said.

HGH CEO/Administrator Jim Parrish said the Nightingale award is a landmark event in a nurse’s life, and also a fitting tribute to HGH’s nurses.

“I think our nursing staff does a great job for our hospital and our community,” he told the group of assembled nurses, “and Tina is representative of that. I have a great deal of respect for her. She is a tremendous ER nurse, OB nurse, chief flight nurse and nurse educator.”

Wilson was presented with a plaque and a beautiful bouquet of flowers. She also received a $3,000 stipend to participate in the educational opportunity of her choice.

This is the sixth year for the HGH Nightingale Nurse of the Year Award. Past recipients include Diane Nevis, LPN; Pam Ruark, RN; Robyn Dunckhorst RN; Michelle Chadwell, RN; and Bertha Higbee, RN.

A wall display in the HGH lobby area explains the award and honors past and present recipients.