Friday, May 5, 2023 San Juan Regional Medical Center Nurses Honored At New Mexico Nursing Excellence Awards

Victoria Atencio, left, and Maranda Herrera, right

As we prepare to kick off National Nurses Week May 6-12, San Juan Regional Medical Center would like to recognize two of our own amazing nurses. Victoria Atencio and Maranda Herrera were honored at the New Mexico Nursing Excellence Awards in Albuquerque in April. This annual gala recognizes excellence in nursing practice and honors nurses for the contributions they make to their organizations, communities and to our state. Atencio, a nurse in our Emergency Department, was nominated for and won the New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence’s Nightingale Award. The award exemplifies outstanding and caring leadership and professionalism as a beginning practitioner in the first 18 months as a Registered Nurse.

Photo By: Ray Mares

“We are thrilled to honor Victoria Atencio this year. This incredible nurse from San Juan Regional Medical Center is helping her community every single day,” said Robert Middleton, MSN, MBA, RN, CENP and President of the Board of Directors for the New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence. “The Nursing Excellence Awards were created by nurses for nurses, making this state-wide recognition especially meaningful and prestigious within the nursing profession.”

Atencio holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She started her career at San Juan Regional Medical Center in 2021, joining our team as an Emergency Department nurse. It was quickly evident that her understanding of complex critical care was above the curve for a nurse with her experience. She is always looking for new ideas to promote safe patient care, embracing training opportunities to enhance the care she provides to her patients. She is an advocate for health literacy, taking extra time and utilizing additional resources to ensure that her patients understand their diagnosis and care plan. In fact, she recently took care of a newly diagnosed diabetic child whose parents were scared, unsure and angry that this was happening to their child. Atencio dedicated herself to securing the parents’ trust to facilitate effective coping to care for their child.

“Victoria has a gentle kindness and positive energy that radiates throughout the Emergency Department,” said Herrera, who nominated Atencio. “Her quick wit and diversity build cohesiveness within the department. Not only is she hardworking and helpful, but she makes the day fun and rewarding.”  

“Victoria is a shining star and role model to her nursing profession. She aligns her principles of care to reflect the Core Values of our hospital. She understands that patients and families need active involvement in their care to truly heal,” said Kammie Monarch, Chief Nursing Officer. 

Atencio was nominated as Resident of the Month twice during her Nurse Residency program. She has become a coach and mentor to a new graduate nurse and a new international nurse and is working to become a Charge Nurse. 

Maranda Herrera presenting at the Vizient/AACN Nurse Residency Program Conference in New Orleans, LA

Herrera, Nurse Residency Coordinator and Vascular Access Coordinator, was nominated for a Nursing Excellence Award in the Education/Research/Academic category. Herrera has been a nurse for 22 years and has coached and mentored dozens of students, new graduate nurses and seasoned staff over the years. She has been integral in the establishment of San Juan Regional Medical Center’s Nursing Residency program and demonstrates our Core Value of Creative Vitality, infusing fun activities such as escape rooms and relay races into learning materials and concepts. Her love of learning is equally evident in her daily practice as a nurse. She has earned multiple certifications and speaks at conferences at both the local and national level and is continually looking for new ideas and innovations to bring back and share.    

“Maranda’s passion for learning is exemplified through the formation of a vascular access team. She sought out training and earned the ability to train others. Her success, enthusiasm, and positive attitude have resulted in the approval of a formalized vascular access team. This team will help not only our nurses in saving time with difficult IV sticks, but more importantly, save the patient from unneeded pain and anxiety,” said Patricia Maule, Clinical Scholar and Nurse Residency Program Director, in her nomination of Herrera.

San Juan Regional Medical Center celebrates Atencio, Herrera and all our esteemed nurses this Nurses Week. We encourage our community to thank a nurse they know for their hard work and dedication to our patients.

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