Skip to Main Content
Skip Navigation Links

Press Room & News Hospital News

Recognition of Nursing Excellence


Children's Hospital Central California recognized nurses who exemplify excellence in nursing during its annual Nurse of the Year Awards reception. These individuals are nominated by their peers and colleagues for their contributions to the practice of nursing. These nurses represent excellence in nursing and exemplify the Forces of Management.

Nurse of the Year
Clinical Practice 2008
Jim Brusenback, RN, BSN
Emergency Department

Jim has been a registered nurse in the Emergency Department (ED) since 1991. Functioning in a variety of roles within the ED including Clinical Educator, Supervisor and Charge Nurse, he has made significant contributions to patient care. Jim contributed to the design and development of the Emergency Department Tracker, online nursing documentation and computerized physician order entry (CPOE). He provided education and training for each of these projects. Jim's design and development processes are being utilized by other areas within the facility. His approach is very practical, centering on the patient and nursing work flows. He is open to input from all members of the team to continuously improve processes and outcomes for ED patients and families.

As co-chair of the Major Care Subgroup in the ED's Patient Throughput initiatives, Jim has facilitated many strategies and action plans that have resulted in significant decreases in throughput times and left without treatments (LWOTS). Patient LWOTs averaged 10.7% in 2006; Jim's leadership and performance improvement plans have contributed to LWOTS decreasing to 3.2% in 2007. His leadership has provided open dialogue, creative ideas and "thinking out of the box." Jim's leadership inspires and influences team work, accountability, competency among staff and physicians, and fosters trust.

Often serving as a mentor for new and experienced nurses, Jim is a continuing resource to all staff in the area of clinical practice, providing support as needed with high acuity patients. His knowledge, skills and leadership abilities has greatly impacted his department, his team and patient care.

Nurse of the Year
Clinical Education 2008
Deborah "Debbie" Hernandez, RN, BSN
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

An advocate for family-centered care, Debbie involves the parents in their child's care and teaching. She is compassionate about the quality of care provided by the entire team in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). As a role model to others she is sought out as a clinical expert in the PICU. Her exemplary assessment skills and foresight allows her to anticipate future needs of patients and families. She has perfected the art of imparting bedside application of didactic material. The staff seeks her out for counsel and guidance in critical thinking.

Debbie provides numerous educational offerings for staff. She is an instructor for PALS, Intermediate Core and Neurology/Neurosurgery courses. She developed an EKG class and teaches several times each year for various disciplines throughout the Hospital.

She participated in the development of the HEARTS program, a structured orientation process to develop staff in the care of critically ill pediatric post operative cardiac patients. Debbie is highly motivated to move herself, her team and her profession to a more collaborative, research based care delivery environment. She is a patient care expert, patient care advocate, a nurse educator and nurse advocate. Extremely knowledgeable in the critical care pediatric patient, Debbie shares her knowledge willingly and enthusiastically.

Nurse of the Year
Advanced Practice, 2008

Kamela Loo, RN, MSN, FNP-C, RNC
Neonatal Intensive Care

Kamela Loo is a Charge Nurse, Resource Nurse and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Transport nurse, and the Nurse Practitioner for the High Risk Infant Follow-up (HRIF) clinic. She provides clinical expertise and critical thinking skills to support the HRIF clinic where former preemies can often present with new problems and undiagnosed conditions. She has advanced and expert skill in PICC line placement, umbilical line placement and needle thoracentesis. She is consistently improving her knowledge base and is completing the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. These advanced skills have made her a "priceless" member of the neonatal team.

Skilled at interpersonal communication, Kamela's work in the HRIF clinic provides the perfect forum for education of parents and families. Her teaching skills are valuable for the staff in the NICU. She led the initiative to create and distribute a "Baby Steps" pocket resource guide for new staff orientees in the unit which enhanced the basic knowledge for staff. In collaboration with the Medical Director, she creates and presents case studies. She is an instructor for PALS, NRP and a competency validator for the extended practice aspects of care in the NICU for the Mortality and Morbidity Conference review. She is on the NICU Education Committee, developing instruction and orientation for new NICU nurses, and is co-chair of the NICU Orientation and Scheduling Councils, providing coaching and advisement.

Kamela is recognized as the senior Charge on the night shift. She is a mentor for new and junior nurses, supports leadership initiatives and strategic goals of the Hospital, and is a resource for all.

Aside from her involvement in several professional nursing organizations including the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN) and the Academy of Neonatal Nurses (ANN), she is active in the developing the new Central California Association of Neonatal Nurses (CCANN). She is dedicated to improving patient outcomes and advancing the knowledge of staff.

Nurse of the Year
Administration 2008

Donna Wyman, RN
Emergency Department

Donna has provided leadership and nursing care in a variety of settings during her 24 years of nursing experience. Practice settings have included newborn nursery, postpartum, adult medical-surgical and orthopedic settings, and pediatric outpatient and acute care settings. Donna began her career at Children's in 1999 as a House Manager, then moved into a Clinical Nurse role and in 2002 accepted the position of Supervisor for the Emergency Department (ED). Since her time in the ED, she has made significant contributions to the ED as well as the organization.

Donna has contributed to operational enhancements in the ED. As a member of an ED task force, she developed, planned and implemented a 5-tier triage process in 2005. Donna was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Electronic Documentation Management system in the Emergency department. She developed and implemented a respiratory hygiene program for patients and visitors in the ED waiting room.

Donna has contributed to nursing education as an instructor and lecturer for the Emergency Nurses Association's Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course and Trauma Nursing Core Course. In previous years, Donna has functioned as a clinical instructor for the Fresno City College Registered Nursing program. Donna has precepted and mentored numerous new grads and new hires to multiple care settings during her 24 years of nursing practice. She is passionate about the quality of care and ensures that every new nurse is fully prepared to provide excellent patient care.

Donna consistently demonstrates strong leadership abilities. She provided leadership, guidance and facilitation of the organizational strategic Patient Throughput initiative in collaboration with physician leadership. She led the Emergency department through several key Patient Throughput improvements which included process redesign. As a result of her leadership, the ED was able to make dramatic changes. By September 2006, the ED had decreased its patients that left without treatment (LWOTs) from 13% in 2005 to less than 6%. These efforts continued throughout 2007, ending the year with an LWOT average of 3.2%. The ED decreased the time a patient waits to see a physician in the ED from 108 minutes to 50 minutes. Donna served as mentor, coach and facilitator throughout this change process and her ability to create clear direction and goals facilitated the success of the team. Donna is providing strong leadership in the management of the 8-bed expansion. She supported and introduced evidence based practice to guide changes that led to the development of standardized procedures utilized in the Emergency Department.

Her professional involvement reaches beyond Children's Hospital. She is a member of several professional organizations including the Emergency Nurses Association, the Nursing Leadership Council of the Central San Joaquin Valley, the Association of California Nurse Leaders and Sigma Theta Tau International. She supports various charities by cycling. Donna is currently active as a coach in the Central Valley Cycling Charitable Association. She has raised funds for a variety of charities including the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Central California Blood Bank and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Friend of Nursing
Children's annually recognizes a Friend of Nursing. The Friend of Nursing is a non-nurse who has contributed and supported nurses in the provision of patient care and/or the development of processes to enhance the professional work environment for nursing.

Friend of Nursing 2008
Gregg Pullen, MT(ASCP)M, RM(NRM), CIC
Infection Prevention and Control

Gregg's influence is felt throughout the organization. He has assisted Children's through extensive process improvement changes to support organizational goals, to promote best practice within the hospital, and to achieve full compliance with regulatory and safety standards. Gregg is well respected for being highly accountable, creative and an effective leader of collaborative projects. Gregg presents a polished and professional demeanor under the most stressful of circumstances and his diplomacy is effective in supporting an environment of safety and change.

He is deeply respected by the entire multidisciplinary team, especially team members in nursing areas. Gregg has worked with many nursing/physician groups to clearly define the monitoring required to calculate rates of infection for high risk patients, developing strategies to decrease risk and prevent these infections.

He continually seeks ways to assist nursing in providing the safest venues for the care of patients. Gregg works tirelessly to help create and monitor isolation guidelines that protect patients, while helping nursing to understand and implement those guidelines.

He demonstrates an effective, thorough and timely approach when problem solving interdepartmental issues. He is a professional, respected source of information and action. In the words of a colleague, "Gregg makes sure he is available and encourages questions and discussions with bedside nurses and nursing leadership to make Children's a safe environment to deliver the best, evidence based care for our most precious patients – All of our Patients!" He seeks to improve healthcare within the organization, through involvement in professional organizations, by sharing best practices, and by providing community service. Gregg is recognized as a "friend of nursing."