Monday, June 17, 2024 Jun 17, 2024
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Excellence in Dallas-Fort Worth Nursing Awards: The Finalists

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

John Eads
Emergency Medicine

John Eads never planned on watching Twilight, but when a nervous teenage patient landed in his care with alarming symptoms, he wanted to do everything in his power to make her feel at ease. The symptoms indicated Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, and Eads took it upon himself to spend time with the 15-year-old watching her favorite movie so her parents could have much-needed quiet time. Eads, a clinical charge nurse at Children’s Medical Center at Legacy, is known among co-workers for his extreme dedication to anyone that walks through the emergency room doors, on both a medical and personal level. His fellow nurses laud his ability to create an enjoyable working environment and his constant concern for patients’ well-being. Between serving those in his care and exceeding expectations, Eads is studying for his master’s of business in health care management at Dallas Baptist University.—Caitlin Adams

Sherry Garner-Sutton
Emergency Medicine

Emergency rooms are known to be mass chaos, but co-workers credit Sherry Garner-Sutton for being the calm amidst the storm; so it’s no wonder the Baylor alum was selected by her peers as the Emergency Department Nurse of the Year for 2012. “Nursing is not just a career, but a calling,” she says. Garner-Sutton, Emergency Department clinical supervisor at Baylor University Medical Center, goes above and beyond a nurse’s call of duty. She treats each patient as if he is one of her own. One supervisor recalls a time she took a deceased patient’s young children under her wing, and treated the three youngsters to the hospital cafe to help in their time of need. But that’s all in a day’s work for Garner-Sutton. She also leads the pediatric committee, an organization she formed to improve pediatric care. Around Baylor, she is credited with obtaining supplies necessary for children’s medical care, and working with a local artist to bring some color to the walls of a treatment room.—Caitlin Adams

Sharon Smith
General Practice

One of the hardest things for a mother is to see her child in pain and not know how to assuage it. Sharon Smith was once in this position. Thanks to the passionate care of her nurses, Smith walked away with a healthy child and a desire to bring that care to others. “I was so impressed with the compassionate care that they showed me,” Smith says. “I wanted to be the type of nurse that goes above and beyond to make sure all the patients’ needs are met.” As a staff nurse at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, Smith reigns over a 36-bed unit, and each person in her care feels like the center of attention. One patient wrote that she is a “credit to all nurses.” Her compassion for others is just as visible when she’s off the clock, volunteering for Random Acts of Kindness, and mentoring underprivileged young women. —Caitlin Adams and Jacie Scott

Clare Card
General Practice

A burn patient’s immersion back into his former life can be tough, but the transition is much easier with Clare Card’s determination and compassion. Card has been a staple at Parkland Hospital since 1996, and the registered nurse is on her way to a leadership role in her unit, largely due to her investment in patients’ lives, both within the hospital’s four walls, and once they check out. Card worked to initiate a school re-entry program for children who suffer from burn injuries, and her work has helped countless patients by working with teachers and students to ease burn victims’ transitions back into their normal routine. But when schools go on break, Card still works around the clock. She is arts and crafts director at Camp I-Thonka-Chi, an annual camp for burned children, and has lobbied for the “fire-safe cigarette” that extinguishes itself and minimizes the risk of fire.—Caitlin Adams

Shelly Wooten
General Practice

When a car accident left one of Shelly Wooten’s patients without legs, Wooten took it upon herself to help the patient’s children come to terms with the cards they had been dealt. Wooten secured tickets for the family to attend the Shriner Circus, a priceless opportunity that allowed the children to see that a physical limitation does not hinder their parents’ quality of life. “I thought it would do the kids some good to have some bonding time with their mom and see her happy,” says Wooten, a registered nurse at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “The smile on her face when she came back to thank me the next week melted my heart.” Exceeding expectations isn’t uncommon for Wooten. Her outstanding service in neurological rehabilitation made her the recipient of the 2011 Meritorious Award, a coveted recognition for those who display a dedication to problem solving, attitude, compassion, and teamwork.—Caitlin Adams and Jacie Scott

Kristine Powell
Emergency Medicine

Powell instantly developed a passion for emergency medicine at the
start of her career, and that passion shows in every avenue of her work.
“I have the most passion for coordinating operations so that they are
as efficient and effective as possible,” Powell says. “It’s twofold. You
want to make the experience for the employees as ideal as possible and
the experience for the patients as optimum as possible.” As director of
emergency services at Baylor University Medical Center, Powell ensures
just that. She is responsible for an emergency department with more than
106,000 annual visits, and she oversees a staff of more than 200. But
her labors don’t end when she exits the hospital. Powell has worked with
the DFW Hospital Council and North Central Texas Trauma Regional
Advisory Council to reduce ambulance diversions in the region, and she
chairs the Baylor Health Care System Emergency Department Council. It’s
no wonder one co-worker called Powell a “visionary with boundless
energy.” —Caitlin Adams and Jacie Scott

Michelle Smith

Medical Center’s kids are in good hands with Michelle Smith. A veteran
RN on the pediatric/neonatal transport team, Smith is the “go-to” nurse
for stabilizing and transporting children and infants. With 20 years of
pediatric ICU patients behind her, she is widely regarded among her
colleagues as an expert in her field. It’s no surprise, then, that Smith
also has been instrumental in educating a new generation of nurses
about best practices in caring for critically ill children. Above all,
though, is Smith’s passion for her patients. Not long ago, a Children’s
team received word of the imminent birth of a 24-week premature baby. It
was Smith’s day off, but her team knew she was the right woman for the
job. A short phone call later, Smith was on her way to the hospital,
eager to do what she does best. “Honestly, I can’t imagine doing
anything else,” Smith says. “When I meet my patients, it’s early on in
the process—children are just learning that they’re sick. As one of the
first people they meet, I have a chance to make a difference, to set the
tone, and to help them stay positive.”—Farraz Khan

Chris Angeletti

You can’t imagine
a silver lining to open-heart surgery on your 15-month-old baby. But
for one Dallas family, hope came in the form of Chris Angeletti, an
“angel in scrubs.” Angeletti is an RN at Children’s Medical Center,
where he specializes in the care of children with heart defects,
particularly those who require surgery. The case of Baby Shayna—the
15-month-old—exemplifies Angeletti’s manner: nursing a child back to
both health and happiness. After Baby Shayna’s difficult surgery,
Angeletti lifted her spirits by regaling her with fantastical stories
and amusing her with delightfully wacky songs. “You have to find a way
to connect with these children and, also, with their families,”
Angeletti says. “It’s a tough situation, but these kinds of things help
to bring some normalcy. It’s just important that the kids know that they
can count on me.” At the same time, Angeletti took scrupulous care that
Baby Shayna’s physical health recuperated as quickly as possible,
checking in around the clock—even after-hours—to confirm that his
colleagues were giving her the care she needed. “What keeps me going is
the end of the story. Sometimes these kids are there for more than a
year, and to get to see them recovering is like the happy ending in a
fairy tale.” Baby Shayna got her happy ending—she’s out of the hospital,
but still greets Angeletti with a big hug every time she sees
him.—Farraz Khan



Lauren Evans is a nurse’s nurse. Though she’s among the newest nurses
on our list of nominees—Evans began her career in 2008—she’s quickly
made her mark through compassionate, considered patient care;
sharp-minded and proactive problem-solving; and inspiring leadership.
Less than five years in, and Evans is already “one of the best,”
according to a colleague. “Being a nurse is incredibly rewarding, though
for some the rewards might not be obvious,” Evans says. “That’s why you
have to love being a nurse—it’s what keeps me excited and motivated
day-in and day-out.” Over her three years with the Center for Pediatric
Urology at Children’s Medical Center, she has become the point person
for her team, collaborating with physicians to develop effective patient
treatment plans, proposing and helping implement ideas for improved
operations and care system-wide, and forging a strong camaraderie among
her teammates. She’s admired and respected by superiors and peers alike
for her motivation, collegiality, and creativity.—Farraz Khan