Darlene Bryan Named 2019 'Nightingale Nurse of Year'

Darlene Bryan, RN, received double honors Friday, May 17, from her peers at Humboldt General Hospital.

Not only was the Chief Nursing Officer named the 2019 “Nightingale Nurse of the Year,” but Bryan also was honored for 35 years of service to HGH.

HGH Interim CEO Karen Cole told staff members gathered at an Employee Recognition Dinner that just like Florence Nightingale, Bryan has been a “lady with the lamp” to the residents of Humboldt County and to the staff of Humboldt General Hospital.

Bryan was chosen for the “Nightingale” honor following an online process that allowed staff members, community residents and former patients to weigh in on the decision.

The result was a welcome 39 nominations from 24 staff members, seven community members and eight patients that singled out 20 nursing professionals for their compassionate and quality nursing care.

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

Co-nominees, including Rita Clement, Robyn Dunckhorst, Cristal Espinoza, Candice Hotz, Kayhlin Sorenson, Ashley Stephen, Becky Tisue, Michel Carden, Jacqueline Dalley, Jennifer Fernandez, Tiffani Laird, Diane Nevis, Janet Sappington, Denice Bauer, Adriana Calderon, Shannon Leibfried, Tiffany Andersen and Monica Sartor, were each honored with flowers and copies of their individual nominations.

Bryan received nominations from staff and patients—all of whom painted a picture of a nurse who has not only forged her own brand of dedication, compassion and skill, but has shared and taught that to many others.

As one of her nominators wrote, “She hired every good nurse here . . . I was blessed to be trained by her and still today carry many of her tips into my daily care of patients.”

Others spoke of Bryan’s comforting influence. “Her calming presence in any stressful situation makes a huge difference in how patients feel.”

Still others noted Bryan’s high standards when it comes to patient care. “Darlene has worked tirelessly to break down barriers and elevate the practice of nursing at HGH for many decades.”

Bryan was fresh out of college when she was persuaded to come back to Winnemucca to join the nursing staff here. That was June 27, 1983, and over the following three and a half decades, Bryan has served in every patient department in the hospital, either as an early nurse, a supervisor or an administrator.

She was the interim administrator following the departure of Byron Quinton in October 2004; it was a role she repeated in 2016 with the departure of then-CEO Jim Parrish.

In her role as Chief Nursing Officer, Bryan helped oversee the expansion and remodel of all nursing departments over the last decade; she has also led out in elevating the structure, training and education of all nursing staff.

Bryan was also instrumental in instituting Humboldt General Hospital’s nurse education tuition program, which has allowed many nurses to reach bachelor and masters levels in nursing.

CEO Cole noted that Bryan’s career is exemplified in Florence Nightingale’s counsel: “Decide to make a difference.”

During the May 17 recognition dinner, she told Bryan: “You have made a difference. Since graduating as a nurse in 1983, you have taken very seriously the Florence Nightingale pledge. You have been committed to our organization, our staff and especially our patients. Thank you for being our Lady with the Lamp.”

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.

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.

This is the ninth 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; Rita Clement, RN; and, Kathryn Ourada, RN.

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

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