Excellence in Dallas-Fort Worth Nursing Awards: The Finalists

These outstanding health care professionals were also in the running for the honor.

Kim Green

Kim Green is the nurse manager for postpartum and newborn nursery at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, and according to her co-workers, Green is always at the front of the pack when it comes to compassionate caregiving and lending a helping hand. Whether she is comforting a postpartum patient facing action by Child Protective Services or facilitating prescriptions for low-income patients, Green leads by example and encourages a positive attitude and optimistic outlook among her staff. Green has implemented several innovative programs at Methodist Dallas, including “Precious Moments” quiet time on her unit that allows patients and their families to rest for two-hour blocks during each shift without having to worry about nurse or physician interruptions. Green is also a passionate contributor to Hearts & Hammers and the March of Dimes, where she has served as chairperson of its advocacy committee.—Hilary Lau

Anne Tudhope

Anne Tudhope, director of nursing, women’s, and infants’ services at Parkland Health and Hospital System, has worked as a nurse with the largest Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and delivery service in North Texas since 1989. Not long after joining the program, Tudhope became the first nurse coordinator of the then-new resuscitation team that was assigned to labor and delivery and attended all at-risk deliveries, which total more than 300 per year. This practice and approach to neonatal resuscitation became the prototype for hospitals around the country and earned Tudhope a promotion to NICU manager. Her co-workers cite her passionate approach toward training new nurses and dedicated bedside manner as qualities that set Tudhope apart as an excellent nurse.—Hilary Lau

Farida Minner

Farida Minner, RN-NIC at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has made significant contributions to her tiny patients and the department—often times by starting small. She implemented the use of special baby-size laundry bags in the NICU to prevent her patients’ clothing from getting mixed up with hospital laundry. She’s made certain emergency drug procedures more visible and accessible to staff, saving precious seconds in emergency situations. She has also solved the problem of the noisy chore of emptying trash cans (which inevitably led to startled infants). Minner’s overall goal has been to improve and support a safe environment for staff and patients—no matter how small the change or the child. Outside of her professional duties, Minner volunteers with Meals on Wheels.—Hilary Lau

Lisa Leffingwell

Lisa Leffingwell is a dedicated nurse serving at Texas Health Resources’ neurosurgery department. Leffingwell maintains close and caring relationships with her patients. She never hesitates to console patients after a bad prognosis or jump up and down in celebration with them when the news is welcome. Even when it requires much of her time—as with an Alzheimer’s patient with whom Leffingwell sat for more than an hour when the patient was disoriented after surgery—she goes above and beyond her job description to ensure the highest possible quality of care. Leffingwell’s co-workers say she never stops learning, is constantly devoting her own time to cover short-staffing issues, and is always looking for ways to improve procedures. Her bedside manner is sensitive and unbiased, and she places much importance on treating her patients with respect and dignity.—Hilary Lau

Haley Hendon

Haley Hendon is a passionate and caring nurse at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center who is known for treating patients like family. Her compassion is not limited to her on-duty hours; she’s often checking on patients after a shift. Hendon serves on the hospital’s stroke committee. Hendon’s leadership qualities are evident in her mentoring of other nurses who shadow her in the emergency room. Outside of work, she volunteers to give flu shots to preschoolers and serves on first aid teams of many area marathons.—Hilary Lau

Stacey Castellanos
Acute Care

Stacey Castellanos is a nurse practitioner at Methodist Dallas Medical Center Brain and Spine Institute who has played an instrumental role in encouraging continuing education among those entering the nursing profession. Castellanos serves as the Neuro-Critical Care educator for the Methodist Health System’s internship program, has received her Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse designation, has passed the Critical Care Nursing Certification exam, completed her master’s of science degree in the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Texas Woman’s University, and served as an active member of Methodist Dallas’ stroke committee. She is a frequent guest speaker at UT-Arlington for Bachelor of Science in Nursing students and volunteers annually for Nursing Discovery Day and Earth Day celebrations. Castellanos is known for her fierce advocacy on behalf of her patients, whether it’s through rectifying incorrectly performed MRI procedures or working with other hospital departments to ensure care for patients without health insurance.—Hilary Lau

Stephanie Huckaby

If you want the latest research, ask Stephanie Huckaby, a director of nursing at UT Southwestern Medical Center. As a manager of the Women’s and Medical/Surgical Service Lines, Huckaby is a nurse leader responsible for culling and disseminating the latest nursing research in order to help improve patient outcomes. She plays an indispensable role in continuing education for about 400 nurses and medical workers by translating current research and evidence-based practice from academic journals for use in UT Southwestern’s hospital rooms. It goes without saying, then, that Huckaby’s guiding principle is excellence. She holds her unit (and herself) to exacting standards (incidentally, Huckaby secured her current position after reducing her department’s hospital-acquired infections below the national benchmark). This unwavering commitment to excellence is exemplified by her participation in various committees, including the Texas Nurses Association’s Practice Committee, which is shaping the future of nursing in the state. “I’m fortunate to be able to do what I do—to work with a variety of people and also to be involved with research,” Huckaby says. “It’s so rewarding to see the progress we make and to see our research to fruition, where it has the best results for our patients.”—Farraz Khan

Susan Cooper

It was in her 27th year as nurse that Susan Cooper published her first research article. The paper documented her team’s research, pertaining to unplanned perioperative hypothermia. But it was far from easy. “In the beginning, it was a little overwhelming,” Cooper says. “It probably took me about six months to feel like I knew the ins and outs of what I was doing.” After a long career serving as a charge nurse, Cooper changed gears in 2009. As the nurse manager for the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit at Texas Health Presbyterian in Dallas, she became more involved in management and research activities. She helped develop the hypothermia research projects, marshaling a team of nurses for data collection and then analyzing the results. She published her paper in 2012, and her project, “A Descriptive Study of Unplanned Perioperative Hypothermia,” received the first-place prize at the 2011 International Conference for PeriAnesthesia Nurses in Toronto, Canada. She also began work on assessing blanket warmer protocols (blanket warmers are a crucial tool in regulating a patient’s body temperature, helping avert the onset of hypothermia). Her conclusions challenged prevailing blanket warmer practices, prompting a change in blanket warmer policy at her hospital and across Texas Health’s system of hospitals. “It’s just nice to know that bedside nurses can make a difference in research and, ultimately, make a difference in patient care.”—Farraz Khan

Sheila Powell

In the Clinical Oncology Research Coordination department at the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas, Sheila Powell is the one who keeps patients smiling. As research supervisor, Powell plays an integral part in coordinating clinical trials for cancer patients; as the process unfolds, though, she also falls into her usual roles: those of counselor and companion. At a time of extreme distress, uncertainty, and even hopelessness, Powell brings “light” and “positive energy” to her patients’ lives, according to a colleague, guiding them through the trials, while offering a deeply human connection that is as much a part of her patients’ treatment. “I learned a long time ago that with cancer there comes a lot of sadness and negativity,” Powell says. “So I decided that I needed to help my patients focus on the positive things in their lives to give them hope in fighting their diseases.” Powell is where the promise and potential of cancer research intersects with the very real, very present suffering of real people. Offering a glimpse of a better day is how Powell is able to touch so many lives. “It feels so good to help my patients through their journey, to be able to give them strength and hope in whatever little way,” she says. “But, really, it’s my patients and their spirit that keep me going, too. They give me as much as I give them.”—Farraz Khan