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Friday, May 10, 2024 San Juan Regional Medical Center Nurses Honored with Suzanne Smith Nursing Excellence Awards

From left: Raychel Stiegelmeyer, Kati Goldsmith, Nerrisa Morales, Allison Herrera

San Juan Regional Medical Center congratulates our 2024  

Suzanne Smith Nursing Excellence Award honorees. The awards are named for former Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) Suzanne Smith in recognition of her many contributions over her 38-year nursing career at San Juan Regional Medical Center.

The awards recognize nurses in four separate categories: Early Career, Excellence in Nursing, Emerging Nurse Leader, and Nurse Leader. This year’s honorees are:

Early Career- Kati Goldsmith

Kati is pictured with CEO Jason Rounds, Former CNO Suzanne Smith, and Associate CNO Cindy Baez

Kati is a nurse on the Medical Unit who provides exceptional patient care with strong problem-solving skills and a focus on patient advocacy. She prioritizes transparency in care, which helps her to build trust and foster collaboration and positive outcomes with patients. When caring for a patient who complained of muscle pain, Kati advocated for her patient to get more pain medication. After monitoring the patient closely, she became concerned that an underlying issue might be causing the pain. She requested further assessment and the patient was diagnosed with a STEMI (a severe type of heart attack) and received proper interventions, thanks to her diligent efforts.

“Kati sets a great example of professionalism by adhering to high standards of care for herself and others. Her enthusiasm for learning and growth as a nurse inspires those around her,” said Susan Price, Nursing Professional Development.  

Kati has taken on multiple mentoring roles in her unit including preceptor, clinical coach and Charge Nurse. Her colleagues highly regard her for her advocacy for teamwork. 

Excellence in Nursing- Nerrisa Morales

Nerrisa is part of our Nursing Professional Development team who shows a remarkable commitment to nurturing the growth and progress of the nurses under her guidance. She engages nurse learners with hands-on competency training and simulations and is instrumental in facilitating Nurse Residency Program activities.

“By adopting innovative techniques, offering individualized support and displaying a genuine enthusiasm for the nursing field, she has consistently motivated and enabled the nurses to perform exceptionally well in their roles. As a result, patient care at San Juan Regional Medical Center has improved significantly,” said Maranda Herrera, Nursing Professional Development and last year’s Excellence in Nursing recipient. 

Nerrisa is board-certified in Vascular Access and helps patients and nurses obtain critical access in acute situations. She is an exemplary team player and a patient and kind individual with an enthusiasm for quality care and education. 

Emerging Nurse Leader- Raychel Stiegelmeyer

Raychel is a nurse on the Medical and Behavioral Health Units who demonstrates outstanding delivery of patient care that results in many positive patient outcomes. In addition to attending to each patient’s medical needs, she provides holistic care to address their psychological, emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing. She demonstrates positive role model behaviors by becoming a successful coach to novice nurses, being a mentor and preceptor to nursing students, and orienting nurses to the Charge Nurse role. 

“Within one year of graduation from nursing school she assumed the role of Charge Nurse. Her calm demeanor and positive attitude permeate throughout the unit when she functions in this role,” said her manager Vickie Bessey. “Simply by the way Raychel leads and interacts with members of her team she facilitates cohesiveness and accountability.” 

Raychel has a passion for caring with patients with mental health issues and incorporates mental health care into her practice. She is working to further advance her knowledge and career as a future psychiatric nurse practitioner. 

Nurse Leader- Allison Herrera

Allison is the Assistant Manager on the Medical Unit who demonstrates visionary and innovative leadership in multiple ways. She developed a memory keepsake for families of patients who are receiving end-of-life care. She provides learning modules to encourage and assist staff in obtaining certification and helped recreate a Unit Council to improve team morale and unity and obtain input for areas of improvement. 

“This nurse deeply recognizes the value of each of her staff members and advocates for them. When necessary, she works at the bedside to provide needed patient care, and other nursing leaders often go to her for assistance or advice,” said Medical Unit Manager Vickie Bessey.  

Early in her nursing career, Allison was a recipient of the New Mexico Nursing Excellence Awards’ Nightingale Award for exemplifying outstanding, caring leadership. Those traits have continued throughout her career. 

Congratulations to our 2024 recipients of the Suzanne Smith Nursing Excellence Awards. Each of you has made a lasting impression on your peers, patients, their families and the communities we are privileged to serve. Thank you for continuing the important work of providing personalized care for our community members in their time of need.

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