A Humboldt County nurse, who co-workers say has dedicated her career to
providing exceptional care to patients, has retired—but not before
she was named the 2017 Humboldt General Hospital “Nightingale Nurse
of the Year.”
HGH Emergency Department Manager Rita Clement, RN, bid farewell to Humboldt
General Hospital on May 25 after 27 years of dedicated service.
She was honored at a short reception where co-workers shared their fond
memories and future wishes while enjoying cake and punch. Clement also
received a check representing $100 for every year served along with beautiful
flowers and a plaque.
But just a few weeks prior to that, Clement was also in the spotlight as
she was recognized as this year’s HGH “Nightingale Nurse of
Clement received the news at a special luncheon during National Nurses
Week. She was one of three nurses nominated for the honor, including Rachel
Anderson and Candice Hotz.
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.
HGH Interim Administrator and 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.”
Clement’s nominators certainly felt she fit the description.
“Rita has been a nursing leader and mentor. Through her leadership
she has elevated the Emergency Department and nursing staff to be capable
of rapidly, safely and competently managing the most extreme levels of
illness and injury,” said one co-worker.
The nominator also commented on Clement’s ability to energize her
staff through her easy and calm nature. “She may not realize how
energizing it is to be able to take your daily frustrations and burdens
to her and have her listen without judgment and give kind and caring advice.”
Another said, “Rita maintains a patient, professional attitude at
work and has always, always taken care of her patients with a kind heart.”
Nominators also painted a picture of a nurse focused on inspiring others—both
personally and professionally. “Rita has been part of my transition
to a manager role. I could not have done it without her. She is full of
energy, kind words, compassion and motivation.”
Clement, who said she does not consider herself an emotional person, was
visibly touched with the announcement of her award and her peers’
kind words. “
“To get this from peers and the people I work with,” she said,
wiping away tears, “well, I’m not an emotional person.”
Bryan said all three nurses qualify as Nightingales—as does the entire
nursing staff. “Everyone is deserving of this award,” she
said. “Nursing is a profession, not just a job, and the nurses here
treat it as a profession.”
Clement 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 seventh 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; Bertha Higbee, RN; and Tina Wilson, RN.
A wall display in the HGH lobby area explains the award and honors past
and present recipients.