Nurse of Distinction and Hershey Kiss Award Named

Two members of Massena Memorial Hospital’s nursing staff were recognized at the organization kicked off for the 2015 National Hospital and Nurses Week.

Emily Ward received the Hershey Kiss Award and Aimee Raymonda was recognized as the Nurse of Distinction during a ceremony in the hospital’s cafeteria.

Interim Chief Nurse Executive Ralene North said both awards “are a great representation of what we are here at Massena Memorial Hospital.”

The Hershey Kiss Award was established many years ago “to recognize someone in Nursing Services that makes coming to work enjoyable for everyone, whether it’s making the workplace fun or just having a positive attitude,” Ms. North said.

“This person shows compassion and concern for others on a daily basis,” she said, noting the winner isn’t necessarily a nurse, but anyone who works in Nursing Services, including support staff.

Ms. North said the winner exemplifies what they want Massena Memorial Hospital to be - “a small-town community hospital taking care of our friends and neighbors and, if we can show that compassion on a daily basis, I think we’ve nailed it. That’s what our community wants.”

She said there were seven nominees this year, and Ms. Ward had received several nominations fro her peers. One of them noted, “She makes work so enjoyable with her sense of humor and always willing to jump in and help out. She’s very compassionate and always willing to listen to patients, their families, their co-workers and offer advice, education, a shoulder to cry on, whatever it takes.”

The Nurse of Distinction honor goes to a nurse “who shows a consistent concern for her patients, her in-patients, exhibits a willingness to work as a team member, demonstrates professional growth herself through education and the opportunity to advance the delivery of care, is reliable and exhibits a positive attitude,” Ms. North said.

Ms. Raymonda was one of four nominees submitted by peers.

“The person who was chosen had some great nomination letters,” she said.

One of them noted, “She is always the sweetest, not just to her patients, but all of us included.”

The nominator said that a patient had been overheard in the cafeteria ordering cupcakes for Ms. Raymonda’s birthday.

“This person’s disposition is calm and caring. She has a caring and compassionate attitude not only for her patients, but also for their families, visitors and co-workers. She always has a smile on her face, no matter what the situation. She’s willing to go to whatever area needed and does it without complaint and, by doing so, keeps her skills in all areas, making her a valuable MMH employee,” the nominator said of Ms. Raymonda.

Ms. North called Ms. Raymonda “a great inspiration to her peers. She’s knowledgeable, she’s skilled and she’s passionate.”

Chief Executive Officer Robert G. Wolleben said nurses were an integral part of the hospital’s success.

“The fact is, the core of what we do in a hospital is good Medicare care, and the core to good medical care is exceptional nursing care. No hospital can last long, no hospital can thrive, no hospital can meet the challenges of the future without dedicated, professional, high-quality nursing care, and that’s what we have here at Massena Memorial Hospital,” he said.

Other speakers commended everyone at the hospital for their work.

“The Board of Directors of Massena Memorial Hospital would like to express our appreciation for all our nurses, staff and administration do each day - provided an environment to which miracles can and do happen,” board of managers President Tina Buckley said.

“Each day people enter our facility for medical assistance and they are met by a team of individuals who are committed to improving the health of the individuals who live in our community. Thank you to each and every one who works here at MMH for all you do to make this community a healthier place,” she said, noting the compassion and commitment shown by hospital employees were what set Massena Memorial apart from their counterparts.

Mayor Timmy J. Currier said the employees were not only important to the hospital, but also to the community.

“Obviously we know that this facility and the staff here provide top-notch and quality health care to people, second to none, and that’s great. But the hospital’s also a cornerstone of our local economy. It’s vital to future growth here. Anyone who’s looking to do business here, anyone who’s looking to expand here, they’re looking for one of those four principles, which is quality health care,” Mr. Currier said.

“This hospital provides that and it gives us an opportunity for people like Joe (Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray) and I and other people who are doing things with economic development to talk greatly about this hospital,” he said. “It’s a real easy sell when we talk about the medical needs and what this hospital can provide, so we applaud that, too.”

Just as important, Mr. Currier said, the hospital’s employees were contributing members of the community.

“This hospital is far more than just quality health care. Your staff, your people are embedded in our communities. You own homes here, you spend money locally, you support our businesses, you’re members of our churches, you volunteer at so many organizations and groups throughout the year. The impact your staff has goes far beyond any of the medical services,” he said.

“So when I think of Massena Memorial Hospital, I think of the great health care that’s provided here and at your other facilities, but I also think of the support and the skilled people, the compassionate people and the kinds of things you do here to make sure that people are treated properly. So you’re a core piece of this community,” the mayor said.

Mr. Gray agreed that Massena Memorial Hospital and its employees were an important asset to the community.

“There are very few facilities in Massena more important than this hospital, he said.

He noted that the future of the hospital was looking more positive than it had been in the past.

“We’ve got some new leadership at the top. I think there’s a new sense of energy, a new sense of purpose I think on behalf of the hospital board. From the town council’s standpoint, we’re pleased with some of the changes that are happening. The most important thing in these changes, and some of them are difficult I’m sure, and some of them aren’t fun, but what they are intended to do as I’m sure Bob (Wolleben) has said many times is to ensure the future of this facility,” Mr. Gray said.

“Change is never easy. It’s sometimes not a lot of fun, but ultimately it’s necessary for improvement and strength and survival. I look forward to the future of Massena Memorial Hospital. Thanks to you all for the work you do on everyone’s behalf,” he said.

Mark P. Brouillette, senior director, ancillary services, said this was a week to celebrate employees.

“We are extremely proud of each member of our staff, and we recognize the important role they play in providing health care services to our patients and the communities they serve,” he said. “The employees of MMH truly provide compassionate patient care and are dedicated to their specific professions, allowing MMH to provide quality patient care in our unique, innovative approach.”

Mr. Brouillette said among their accomplishments over the past few months were improved customer service, greater financial viability and the successful completion of a Joint Commission Survey. He said they anticipate receiving a three-year unconditional accreditation.

“This accomplishment is to the credit of all hospital employees, medical staff and board of managers,” he said.

For the future, he said, they are conducting a facility planning study for the Emergency Department and Medical/Surgical Floor to improve satisfaction.

“The outcome of these facilities planning studies in conjunction with our hospital employees will continue to advance and position MMH’s ability to be the best health care facility in the north country,” Mr. Brouillette said. “It is our team of staff members, board of managers and medical providers that are the heart of our hospital and make the difference here at MMH.”

Mr. Wolleben, who took over as CEO in December, commended the physicians, nurses and staff “who wake up and come in and do the best job they can possibly do to make sure our friends, our community and our neighbors receive quality health care in the Seaway Valley.”

Monday’s ceremony, he said, was “one small way that we can recognize everyone’s efforts.”

“I want to applaud everyone certainly at Massena Memorial Hospital who makes this a great place for patients to receive care, for physicians to practice and for our employees to work,” Mr. Wolleben said.

He said the future of Massena Memorial Hospital looks bright.

“I can assure you we are here, we’re not going anywhere, and there’s a lot of people working hard to make that a reality, and that’s going to be the reality,” Mr. Wolleben said.

“We’re on a journey, and I wish I could tell you that I knew where the journey ends. But the reality is that we won’t know that for quite some time. Like all journeys, we started ours very optimistic, ended up with challenges and you eventually get to a place that’s better than where you started. I’m convinced that’s true here at Massena Memorial Hospital. Like most journeys, we will be successful,” he said.

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