Kathryn Ourada Named 2018 "Nightingale Nurse of the Year"

Kathryn Ourada, RN, has been named the 2018 “Nightingale Nurse of the Year” at Humboldt General Hospital following an online nomination process that allowed staff members, community residents and former patients to weigh in on the decision.

The result was a welcome 59 nominations from 33 staff members, 19 community members and seven patients that singled out 18 nursing professionals for their compassionate and quality nursing care.

Thursday, May 17, the nominees gathered for a special recognition dinner in the hospital’s Sarah Winnemucca Conference Room where Ourada was named the 2018 “Nightingale.”

Chief Nursing Officer Darlene Bryan presented Ourada with a plaque memorializing the honor, a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a stethoscope specially engraved with Ourada’s name and “Nurse of the Year” designation, a one-year pass allowing Ourada to park anywhere she wishes on the HGH campus, and a gift of 40 vacation hours from nursing leaders.

Co-nominees, including Becky Tisue, Kayhlin Sorenson, Janet Sappington, Jennifer Fernandez, Robin Gillis, Candice Hotz, Alicia Leon, Jacqueline Dalley, Hannah Kohler, Angela Street, Darlene Bryan, Bertha Higbee, Tina Wilson, Robyn Dunckhorst, Wayne Farley, Shannon Albisu and Rachel Anderson, were each honored individually with a plant, a gift card from the hospital’s CaféRX, and copies of their individual nominations.

Bryan noted that Ourada received nominations from staff, community members and patients—all of which painted a picture of a nurse who is truly compassionate, helpful, kind and friendly.

In fact, Bryan referenced remarks she made earlier in the week to new nurse graduates from Great Basin College where she outlined three tiers for success in the nursing profession.

“And Kat has met those,” she said. “She has made a difference for patients, for co-workers and in her own life,” said Bryan, “and we are proud to name her as this year’s ‘Nightingale Nurse of the Year.’”

Ourada’s 13 nominators certainly felt the honor was well-deserved too.

One nominator highlighted Ourada’s “excellent and amazing skills, especially as an OB nurse”; Ourada is also an infusion nurse. “She has amazing knowledge to assist both doctor and patients for successful outcomes—nothing rattles her!”

Another nominator noted how Ourada continues to work toward evidence-based care, both individually as well as department-wide. She said that Ourada has “come to the rescue in OB on many occasions during busy times” and is the go-to nurse when a preterm or sick infant must be stabilized prior to transport. Not only that, but Ourada has become one of the main staff to orient new RNs to the OB unit. “Her years of experience and willingness to share her knowledge with others has been invaluable . . .”

Another nominator highlighted Ourada’s eagerness to volunteer for outreach events for the community with such a willing attitude, while another shared Ourada’s special ability to comfort patients “in ways that medicine can’t” with warm blankets, snacks, hugs, hand holding, and even special gifts for longtime infusion patients. The nominator said Ourada’s kindness extends to co-workers as well, offering help wherever needed. “I personally am prouder and stronger with her by my side.”

Nominators shared that Ourada is the first person to arrive at a code blue event to render her expert help with life-saving chest compressions, while another nominator shared how willing Ourada is to share the “little tricks of the nursing trade” with new graduates.

Another expressed how special it was when Ourada, as an infusion nurse, would sit with her homebound mother to chat during the woman’s procedures. “It meant the world to her.” A fellow nurse told of Ourada’s kindness to another infusion patient, whose husband passed away just hours before her appointment. “Kat and others were able to comfort her, listen to her and support her.” Ourada and another nurse even attended funeral services for the man where the patient proudly introduced the women as “my nurses.”

Others spoke of the special care that Ourada provided during their birthing experiences. As one nominator wrote: “We felt as though we were being cared for by a family member.” Another shared that Ourada “radiates kindness and compassion: two nursing skills which simply cannot be taught in a classroom.”

Another nominator shared just two words—“She’s awesome”—while a fellow nurse noted that “just as Florence Nightingale stood steadfast amongst her critics, so too has Kat Ourada. She emulates gratitude and courage and I am proud to call her my friend.”

Ourada, who has worked at Humboldt General Hospital for 23 years, said she was overwhelmed by the honor, not only because the award represents the deep feelings she has for patients and co-workers, but also because she has so much respect for her co-nominees’ professional capabilities and personal sensitivities. “It was really shocking,” she said.

Also for Ourada, the award represents a very special connection with her mother, Laura Jean Gibson, who passed away in 2013. Gibson was a beloved nurse at Humboldt General from the 1970s to the 1990s, serving in nearly capacity hospital-wide including a time as Director of Nurses.

“I was overwhelmed by what people said about me,” said Ourada of the nomination process. “It was so nice; nobody will ever know what it means.”

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.

Bryan said the HGH “Nightingale Nurse of the Year Award” was created to recognize nurses who, like Nightingale, go above and beyond, especially in their care of patients.

“We are looking for our own ‘Lady with the Lamp’ at Humboldt General Hospital—someone who truly illuminates the art of nursing.”

This is the eighth 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; Tina Wilson, RN; and Rita Clement, RN.

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