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Meet Lisa Tran 2024 Extraordinary Nurse, Care Coordination

Lisa Tran, BSN, RN, a 6-year Kaiser Permanente employee, was initially hired as a patient care coordinator for continuum care on the skilled nursing facility (SNF) side. “Through the years, she has shown care and compassion for patients and colleagues. She has developed into a professional who goes above and beyond,” said her colleague Irene Morris, RN. Today, Tran is a Utilization Review Coordinator and the acting lead Quality Coordinator at the Martinez Skilled Nursing Department. Inspiration for Nursing “My dad passed away from a stroke when I was six months old, and I remember accompanying my mom to her doctor’s appointments as a child. His passing led me to want to know more about the human body, specifically, what happened and why it happened,” said Tran. “I’ve met with daughters whose fathers recently had a stroke, and in those moments, a part of me is still healing. I share how I can help the patient and their family have a positive outcome,” explains Tran. Leading with Purpose “While I juggle many responsibilities at work and in my personal life, I remind myself I can only accomplish so much, so I must learn to be patient and accept that change takes time,” said Tran. Early in her career, Tran focused on observing and learning from others. “I observed the best practices of my mentors and colleagues. I now feel a sense of confidence in my abilities and my contributions to my team,” said Tran. Delivering Care Excellence “Early in the pandemic, I asked my team if anyone wanted to be the point person for our 23 SNFs in the Diablo Service Area. Lisa volunteered as everyone feared the role of the “COVID Nurse.” She worked side-by-side with the local Contra Costa County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) Infection Control Team,” said Morris. She also visited the Diablo Service Area nursing homes, assessing their infection control practices and helping create the three major zones for COVID-19 isolation. “I look forward to making a difference in my patient’s lives,” said Tran.

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Vacaville trauma team achieves top quality rating

“It’s like opening a Christmas gift when the report comes out,” said Amy Brammer, MSN, RN, TCRN, TNS, CEN, CAISS, CSTR, NHDP‑BC, referring to the bi‑annual benchmark report on trauma centers from the American College of Surgeons which ranked Kaiser Permanente’s Vacaville Trauma Center at a green diamond level – the highest quality ranking from the organization for Risk‑Adjusted Major Hospital Events in the all patients cohort indicating Vacaville is in the top 10% of the 528 trauma centers benchmarked. “We work so hard, to see the results it’s exciting for us,” said Brammer, who serves as the Trauma Program Director. Kaiser Permanente Vacaville is the designated Level II trauma center for Solano County. “The Trauma Center is truly the whole hospital,” explained Brammer. “All our teams are involved and come together to move mountains to ensure our patients receive top notch care.” Describing the trauma response team akin to a NASCAR pit crew, where a team of multidisciplinary colleague’s race to the emergency department when they hear a trauma activation paged overhead. In 2023, they heard that call over 392 times, responding to patients with traumatic injuries ranging from car, bike and jet‑ski accidents to victims of violence, such as stabbings. The team’s clinical expertise extends into the community. For example, they hold Stop the Bleed trainings to educate first responders and other community members how to control emergency bleeding after an accident or assault. There is currently a KP regional initiative to get all KP medical centers Stop the Bleed. Stop the Bleed was among five projects the Vacaville team shared poster presentations on at the American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program Annual Conference. Other projects included mental health screenings of trauma patients, Teddy Bear Disaster Triage Training for local firefighters, performance improvement project on ICU bounce backs, and Trauma Resuscitation simulation training. “I am so proud of the team for their dedication to members and patients they treat in the facility, and the commitment to our communities they demonstrate through injury prevention, outreach and trauma education,” added Brammer.

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Meet Extraordinary Nurse Benson Tran, 2024 TPMG Emerging Nurse Leader

Benson Tran, DNP, RN, NE-BC, CMSRN, joined Kaiser Permanente 7 years ago and is the Service Unit Department Manager for Adult and Family Medicine at the Petaluma Medical Office. The nursing field captivated his attention from an early age. Growing up, Tran overcame much adversity, which taught him the meaning of hard work. The passing of family members began his journey to search for answers in health care. Inspiration for Nursing “My nursing colleagues inspire me every day through their personal experiences, triumphs and struggles, abilities and limitations, and their strength and resilience,” said Tran. The birth of his son also reinvigorated a sense of inspiration, purpose, and patience. “As a father, I am committed to lifelong learning and believe that love, empathy, and education can coexist,” added Tran. Leading with Purpose “To be truly effective, I determine what those around me need so they have the tools to provide our patients with high-quality service. Leading with purpose is a collaborative effort, allowing for autonomy and dialogue,” mentioned Tran. He credits his purpose with taking care of the patients, but his role can only be successful with the support of his team. “It is important to foster a culture where everyone cares for one another to help overcome challenges.” Delivering Care Excellence “In January 2023, I transitioned to my current role as a Hypertension (HTN) Pharmacist, and Benson and I started working closely together,” said Shirley Heinemann, Ambulatory Care Pharmacist at the San Rafael Medical Center. That same year, the Petaluma facility ranked last regionally in the Crossing the Quality Chasm HTN metric at a rate of 73%. By December 2023, the Petaluma facility not only met the quality metric of 83% in HTN but increased the number of patients using the pharmacy by 30%, explained Heinemann. “Benson was an integral part of the facility’s turnaround,” said Heinemann. He worked with the HTN Pharmacy Service Department to review workflows, discussed the importance of blood pressure control in daily huddles, improved the environment for back-office blood pressure checks, and worked with Petaluma Adult Family Medicine to review physician performance regularly. “I would rank Benson among the top in his dedication, responsiveness, organization, and most of all, his personal touch to staff, colleagues, and patients,” stated Heinemann.

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Preventing patient falls: A collective effort at the Fresno Medical Center

At Kaiser Permanente, ensuring patient safety is at the heart of care. The Medical Surgical unit, 3 West, at the Fresno Medical Center has long recognized the serious implications of patient falls, which can lead to extended hospital stays, additional medical complications, and decreased patient satisfaction. In response, the dedicated nursing staff has continuously sought evidence‑based interventions to minimize these risks. “The Med‑Surg nursing staff and care team are dedicated to keeping our patients safe,” said Lindsey Halstead, MSN, RN, NE-BC, 3 West Nurse Manager at the time of the project. “They approached this work with intention and thoughtfulness knowing that it would take a team approach to make a difference in the department.” In early 2023, the Med‑Surg Falls Reduction Team, comprised of nurses, assistant nurse managers, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse managers, thoroughly reviewed fall data from 2022. Key areas for improvement were identified, particularly in the use of bed and chair alarms. It was discovered that these alarms were not always used effectively, leading to delays in responding to patients attempting to move unassisted. Based on a comprehensive literature review, several targeted interventions were implemented. One significant change was the accurate documentation of Fall Scale Scores for all patients, ensuring that high‑fall‑risk patients were BEST IN CLASS promptly identified. Emphasis was also placed on purposeful hourly rounding, which includes checking on patients regularly to address their needs and ensure their safety. Additionally, the approach to shift huddles was revamped, now including the Fall Scale Scores and room numbers of high‑fall‑risk patients in the staff assignment sheets. This change ensured that all team members were consistently aware of patients at risk, leading to more timely and effective interventions. “We are proud of the work the Fresno Med‑Surg Unit Council has done to ensure a safe environment for our members,” said Ann Bindra, DNP, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, CCRN-K, Magnet Program Director. “The Unit Council nurses make sure to keep the patient and family at the center of our nursing practice and the reduction of falls project is one such example. The team searched the literature and successfully implemented best practices which resulted in a reduction of total falls in the 3West unit over one year.” By March 2023, all Med‑Surg nurses had been successfully educated on these new practices, including in‑person training sessions on the updated chair alarm equipment, which proved to be more sensitive and effective. The commitment to these changes resulted in a significant decrease in the total fall rate per 1,000 patient days, dropping to an average of 1.24 over the remaining quarters of 2023. “This initiative demonstrates the power of collaboration and continuous improvement in providing the highest quality of care,” said Wendy Gospodnetich, MSN, RN, CNS, NE‑BC, Fresno Interim Chief Nurse Executive. “The team remains committed to patient safety, ensuring that every intervention is guided by the best available evidence and their shared commitment to nursing excellence.”

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Meet Mhagsy Celestino-Pingul 2024 Extraordinary Nurse, Clinical Adult Services

“Mhagsy is an outstanding leader,” said her colleague at the Antioch Medical Center, who nominated her for the Extraordinary Nurse honor. “She led the Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI) quality team in achieving success, reducing CAUTI rates in the Antioch Medical Center — making our medical center number one in Northern California.” Mhagsy Celestino-Pingul, MSN, RN, CCRN, RNM, was awarded the 2024 Extraordinary Nurse Award – Clinical Adult Services. She started at Kaiser Permanente in August 2019 as an Assistant Nurse Manager on the 4th floor Medical-Surgical Unit. Today, as a bedside Intensive Care Unit nurse at the Kaiser Permanente Antioch Medical Center, her primary focus is to advocate for and ensure the well-being of patients. Celestino-Pingul describes advocating as building a strong rapport with patients and their families, understanding their needs, going above and beyond, and approaching every situation with caring hands and a compassionate heart. Inspiration for Nursing   As her grandmother’s primary caregiver, Celestino-Pingul cared for her when she was sick. “I realized I needed more knowledge and experience to care for her. This inspired me to go into nursing,” said Celestino-Pingul. “My colleagues inspire me, and I’m always open to learning from them. I am also thankful to have a supportive manager, Ramat Momoh, MBA, MS, CCRN-K, HCM, who inspires me with her vision for our unit — providing exceptional care and being the voice of change and improvement.” Leading with Purpose Celestino-Pingul shares, “I lead with purpose by actively participating in committee projects, implementing evidence-based strategies, and advocating for positive change. By doing this, I can ensure that my unit delivers the care and solutions my patients deserve.” Delivering Care Excellence   In her nomination, Celestino-Pingul was recognized for her responsiveness during an emergency. “Mhagsy was floated to another department when she heard a scream in a patient’s room and ran in without hesitation. She found the patient unresponsive on the bathroom floor. She called a code and started compressions while instructing the primary nurse to bring a crash cart and updating the patient’s physician,” describes her colleague. The patient and her family were thankful for her quick action. “I feel proud to work with Mhagsy.”

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Meet Extraordinary Nurse Kristin Rowden, 2024 Care Coordination Nurse of the Year

“With exceptional clinical and communication skills, Kristin engages patients and families after being discharged to address their needs, avoiding readmissions and helping them feel comfortable after leaving the hospital,” said a Fresno Medical Center colleague who nominated Kristin for the award. Kristin Rowden, MSN, RN, PHN, joined Kaiser Permanente in September 2015. Today, as an on-site liaison for the Continuing Care Department in the Fresno service area, she helps improve care coordination, timely discharge, and repatriation of members admitted to non-Kaiser Permanente hospitals. From placing referrals to skilled nursing facilities, to ordering durable medical equipment, she does whatever is needed to ensure patients receive the appropriate care. “Kristin is an excellent resource to other liaisons, assisting with coordination cases with the goal that no patient falls through the cracks,” said her nominator. Inspiration for Nursing “I wanted to work in health care since I was 15, when I got a job at a doctor’s office,” Rowden said. “While in nursing school, I was a teacher’s aide, a mentor, and a Veteran’s Administration extern,” explains Rowden. “My passion for supporting and caring for others continues through my role at Kaiser Permanente.” Rowden shares how she was inspired by her colleague. “Recently, a colleague advocated for a member to go home for hospice care. With my colleague’s hard work, the member went home and later passed away surrounded by loved ones, the way the member wanted.” Leading with Purpose “I lead with purpose by focusing on the patient, listening to their concerns, and aligning my care with their goals,” said Rowden. “Kristin is a game-changer in ensuring our patients have timely discharges from our partner hospitals or can come back to us in Kaiser Permanente Fresno sooner,” said Dr. Kevin Martinez, assistant physician in chief at the Fresno Medical Center. Delivering Care Excellence Her approach is reinforced in her Extraordinary Nurse nomination where it’s described that after meeting with a patient and their family, who was overwhelmed and resistant to engaging, she stayed the course to coordinate their discharge. “Kristin remained calm, listened, and did not allow emotions to take over. After following through with the planned coordination, the family expressed appreciation for Kristin's professionalism and compassion despite heightened emotions,” said her colleague.

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Meet Extraordinary Nurse Erica Dixon, 2024 Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Emerging Nurse Leader of the Year

A nurse for 12 years, Erica Dixon, BSN, RN, joined Kaiser Permanente as a Nurse Manager in the Perioperative Department at the Fresno Medical Center in 2023, and is named a 2024 Emerging Nurse Leader of the Year. “Erica walked into a leadership void and a had monstrous learning curve.  Despite that, Erica found her bearings quickly and was up in running within the unit at an extraordinary pace,” said a colleague who nominated her for the Extraordinary Nurse Award. “She quickly learned the flow of her new unit and the individuals that made up her staff. “ Inspiration for Nursing Dixon shares the diversity of the profession is what inspired her to become a nurse. “There are so many different avenues you can take but at the end of the day you are still helping others,” she said. “Nurses can make a big difference in someone’s life.” Leading with Purpose “As a nurse leader, leading with purpose involves aligning your actions, decisions, and behaviors with your core values, vision, and mission,” she explained. She takes the time to reflect on her personal values, as well as the mission and vision of our Kaiser Permanente, and looks for ways to contribute to the broader goals of providing excellent patient care and fostering a positive environment for her team. While new in her role, her nominator shared “Erica picked up extra shifts to support her staff, our providers, and most importantly our members.  She did this while leading from the front with her staff.  This provided credibility to her relationships, built trust with those around her, and made an impact on our patients we serve.” “My purpose as a nurse leader deeply influences how I show up to work every day,” said Dixon. “It drives me to lead by example, demonstrating integrity, compassion, and resilience in my actions and decisions. I prioritize open communication, active listening, and transparency to foster trust and collaboration among team members.” Delivering Care Excellence Dixon strives to empower and inspire my team to deliver the highest quality of care while also prioritizing their well-being and professional development. “I make it a priority to stay informed about current healthcare trends, best practices, and innovations, so I can effectively guide my team and adapt to evolving challenges and opportunities,” she shared. Since joining Kaiser Permanente, Erica has been involved in the Nursing Unit Council and several department committees. “This has allowed Erica to influence her staff and nudge the practice in the unit to support innovation, excellence in patient care, as well as personal growth and development,” shared her colleague.

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Meet Extraordinary Nurse Julie Silveira, 2024 TPMG Emerging Nurse Leader of the Year

“Julie is hardworking, always puts her staff and patients first, and is a great advocate for all,” said a Central Valley colleague who nominated her for the award. “She is approachable, and always follows through with situations that require her assistance.” Julie Silveira, BSN, RN, was named a 2024 TPMG Emerging Nurse Leader of the Year.  She is the Service Unit Manager for the Central Valley Medical Specialties and Oncology and Infusion Services and has been with Kaiser Permanente for 19 years. Inspiration for Nursing Silveira’s mother was a nurse whose journey inspired her to follow her footsteps. “She showed me that despite disadvantages you may be dealing with if you have determination, a desire to help and to make a difference you can build a very purposeful, fulfilling, and successful career,” shared Silveira. “When I was growing up, I was always in awe at how many people would just come up to her to thank her for having taken care of them.  They remembered her and what she did, and it showed me that she made a difference for people, and I knew that was what I wanted to do too.” Silveira is also inspired today by her team and their relentless dedication to their patients. “At any given time, someone on the team may be struggling with a personal issue and they still manage to give themselves 100% to their patients.  It’s remarkable and that selflessness is truly what inspires me,” she said. Leading with Purpose Her nominator shares, “Julie was instrumental in driving excellent outcomes on organizational goals. She leads by example with her passion, compassion, diligence, and perseverance to care for all our patients and support her growing team of 51 direct reports.” Silveira focuses on showing and reminding her teams that they work they do is meaningful. “I like to recognize individuals, share patient stories of thanks, encourage others to recognize their colleagues and in general create a culture of gratitude and helping,” she said.   “The work we do can be very “heavy” emotionally and I believe that recognizing and acknowledging that aspect of it is important so when I can I try to create space for my teams to incorporate a little fun into their day-to-day routines and enjoy their work lives with each other. “ Delivering Care Excellence In the nomination, Silveira was recognized for her collaboration and teamwork with Central Valley colleagues to improve patient care and outcomes by ensuring members receive timely care in the high-volume department she oversees. “Ultimately, I want to make what our patients are going through easier regardless of what that may be,” said Silveira. “I want to unburden them as much as possible and make them feel safe and well cared for.”

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Mother and daughter make nursing a family affair

Nursing is truly a family calling for mother and daughter registered nurses Trudy and Tatiana Gastrock, both of whom work at the San Francisco Medical Center, Trudy in labor and delivery and Tatiana in chemotherapy-infusion. Not only was Tatiana born at the San Francisco Medical Center in the same department where Trudy now works, but Trudy’s parents were also in nursing, providing care to elderly patients at another local hospital. Trudy, who has worked at the San Francisco Medical Center for 21 years, knew from a young age that she wanted to be a nurse, and specifically in labor and delivery. “Seeing what my parents did, I wanted to care for patients at the other end of life,” she said. She completed her education while raising Tatiana, who was born when she was 19. During those years, she and her husband would tag team caring for Tatiana, allowing Trudy to attend nursing school during the day and work as a student nurse in the evening. Tatiana was four when Trudy graduated and immediately took a position in the cardiac procedure unit. She moved on to med tele and stroke and step down at 1 North before training to become a labor and delivery nurse. Tatiana, who has worked at the San Francisco Medical Center for two years, was also drawn to nursing from an early age. “I grew up going to appointments with my mom and doing internships and volunteering in the hospital,” she said. Trudy admits she originally guided Tatiana towards labor and delivery, arranging for her to shadow in her department and in postpartum care and NICU during high school. However, Tatiana knew she had another calling. “I was originally interested in pediatric oncology, but after I took this job, I realized I wanted to work with adults.” Attending school in Hawaii, where the family has relatives, Tatiana did her clinical training at Kaiser Permanente Hawaii. Inspired by how much her mother enjoyed working in San Francisco, Tatiana always intended to follow in her footsteps. However, she did not tell her parents her plans when she applied for her first job. “I wanted to keep it to myself until I was absolutely sure I got it,” she said. When she did get the job, her mother told her that it was the same clinic where Tatiana’s grandfather went for cancer treatments. The two frequently coordinate their schedules to eat lunch together, with Trudy often bringing home-cooked leftovers to share. “I think it’s a special bond she and I share together, both working at Kaiser,” said Tatiana. “My mom set me up with the best education I could ask for and the best hospital I could work for. We’re both really happy here and we get to spend quality time together at home and at work.” As San Francisco natives, both Gastrocks have had many experiences caring for friends, family members, and neighbors. “I’ve seen so many people we know come through here to deliver babies,” said Trudy. “My…

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