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Nurses are honored for exceptional care

Recognizing outstanding nurses with awards for excellence

Where would this world be without nurses? Nurses are essential members of the caregiving team. They provide skilled, compassionate and life-changing care. So, it just makes sense that they should be recognized for their excellent work.

“The Augusta Health Foundation has provided considerable support for nurses over the years,” says Crystal Farmer, chief nursing officer. “This year, we asked the Foundation to provide five monetary rewards to recognize nurses for their excellent caregiving, professionalism, innovation and support.”

The Foundation, which has three specific funds dedicated to nursing education, was eager to help, according to Augusta Health Foundation Executive Director Tami Radecke.

“We were thrilled to be part of this,” she says. “We know how much nurses do at Augusta to care for our patients and even our employees. We are grateful for the opportunity to showcase their dedication and expertise with these awards.”

About the Awards

The 2019 Augusta Health Excellence in Nursing Awards were developed to recognize outstanding nurses whose contributions to nursing fulfill the goals, mission and vision of Augusta Health. To be eligible for one of the four awards — nurse of the year, nurse innovator, nurse leader and nurse support staff member —
nurses had to be employed at Augusta Health for at least one year.

Following nominations from their peers, the Nursing Shared Governance Council, chaired by Bethany Mohler, RN, reviewed the submissions and determined the awardees. “It was a tough decision,” says Farmer. “We had so many great recommendations from Augusta Health nurses.”

All recipients were taken by surprise and were honored to receive the awards, Farmer says, especially because they had been nominated by fellow nurses.

“To have been nominated by my peers for this award was incredibly rewarding and very special,” says Talisa Snow, clinical coordinator ICU, the co-winner of the Nurse Innovator of the Year Award. “All of the nurses who were nominated for the Nursing Excellence Awards are amazing, and to be chosen to receive this award out of this group makes it even more special for me.”

Meet the Recipients

Here are the winners of this year’s Augusta Health Excellence in Nursing Awards, along with the reasoning behind their nomination, according to their nominees.


Nurse of the Year: Sabine Dukes

Criteria: Exhibits a high level of professionalism, clinical expertise and excellence in patient care; fosters patient-centered care; leads by example and acts as a mentor and role model to other staff.

Why she was nominated: A prime example of excellence in caring, expertise and teamwork, Dukes is well known throughout the hospital for her commitment to exemplary nursing care, leadership and tenacious problem-solving abilities. As the Unit Council Chair of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, she provides seamless quality of care from lab to inpatient units. She’s a champion of quality improvement
and brings out the best in others.


Nurse Innovators of the Year: Talisa Snow and Tracy Sansossio

Criteria: This RN or LPN must have developed and “brought to life” an innovative idea to Augusta Health nursing, including formulation of a project and its implementation and evaluation.

Why they were nominated: Snow and Sansossio recognized that throughout Augusta, there was an issue with urinary tract infections when a urinary catheter was part of patient care. They brought a comprehensive unit-based safety program to the ICU, with such significant and beneficial results that it was implemented throughout the entire organization. Because of their teamwork and dedication, Augusta Health has become a safer place for patients.


Nurse Support Staff Member of the Year: Michael Schoeller

Criteria: This individual must be dependable, patient-focused and work well with the team while advocating for his or her patients. He or she must be invested in Augusta Health’s core values.

Why he was nominated: The mental health field can be challenging and frustrating, but Schoeller finds ways to connect with patients and make them feel at ease while under the stress of their hospitalization. As a trainer of new mental health team members, he’s thorough and consistent in his teaching while maintaining a positive spirit and keeping the whole team upbeat through every shift.


Nurse Leader of the Year: Renee Pullen

Criteria: This individual must be a registered nurse leader (charge nurse, clinical coordinator, nurse educator, director, etc.) who role models caring behavior, displays professionalism at all times and has a passion for nursing excellence.

Why she was nominated: As clinical coordinator of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program, Pullen has taken this area to new heights. Not only has she become a valuable resource for both patients and law enforcement, but she’s also a frequent speaker on topics related to sexual assault and domestic violence. Pullen is a leader in the field, but she always puts her nursing first, making sure patients feel supported and reassured during their care.

To learn more about the Augusta Health Foundation, visit augustahealth.com/foundation, call (540) 332-5174 or email ahfoundation@augustahealth.com.