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Friday, May 13, 2022 San Juan Regional Medical Center Chief Nursing Officer Retires, Award Created in Her Honor

Suzanne Smith, center, holding her award with San Juan Regional Medical Center nurse leaders

San Juan Regional Medical Center’s Chief Nursing Officer, Suzanne Smith, is retiring Friday, May 13 after 38 years of dedicated service to our community. Her legacy of compassionate care and responsive leadership have left a lasting mark on our caregivers, patients and community. To honor Suzanne’s many contributions over the years, San Juan Regional Medical Center has unveiled the Suzanne Smith Nursing Excellence Award. Suzanne became the first recipient of this prestigious award at Thursday night’s Hospital Week awards banquet. 

Throughout her career, Suzanne has been a role model for San Juan Regional Medical Center’s Core Values and Service Standards. She has excelled in all the nursing roles she’s held, as a pediatric nurse, unit manager, director and ultimately as Chief Nursing Officer. Quality improvement and mentorship have been important to her throughout her career which her peers and the hospital have benefitted from immensely.

Suzanne implemented historic changes to handle the COVID-19 pandemic, including an Alternate Model of Care to aid nursing staff. She demonstrates commitment to bettering the health and wellbeing of our patients and community through participation in numerous improvement efforts, including the creation of a free diabetes education program for community members and a Professional Resource Team of experienced nurses who work throughout the hospital to provide support to units during high census. She created additional communication pathways to make herself available to frontline nurses, rounding in all patient care areas and providing individual logistical and emotional support.

“Suzanne exemplifies Sacred Trust, doing the right thing for the patient no matter what. Her name is synonymous with Nursing Excellence,” said Cindy Baez, Director of Nursing. “The many contributions Suzanne has made to our community hospital will live on through the nurses who will go on providing the quality care that she has modeled; care that comes from the heart.”

Moving forward, the Suzanne Smith Nursing Excellence Award will be given out annually in Suzanne’s honor to recognize nurses in four separate categories: Early Career, Excellence in Nursing Practice, Emerging Nurse Leader, and Nurse Leader. We look forward to honoring nurses who follow in Suzanne’s footsteps and continue the important work of caring for our community members in their time of need.  

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