By Linda Cruse, Kansas City Star

Local nurses are being recognized for making a difference in their patients' lives, their hospitals and their communities.

They are receiving awards for their quick thinking and fast actions, such as when a local nurse successfully delivered a baby in the hospital parking lot.

They are being honored for creating programs having an impact on the quality of healthcare, such as programs developed to educate new nurses.

One nurse was awarded a research grant to determine whether music can reduce or eliminate pain for patients undergoing joint replacements. Another is seeking creative ways to provide pain relief.

A local nurse is even using her experiences as a nurse to create a comedy act she has performed to raise money for charities. Listed below are some of the nurses making a difference in Kansas City. 

Cindie Bogard, MSN RN

Cindie Bogard, MSN, RN, and an educator for Belton Regional Medical Center, is responsible for orientation and educational programming for the hospital’s nursing staff and also facilitates CME programs for medical staff. Bogard developed a highly successful RN Residency Program to support new-graduate RNs in their transition to becoming a practicing RN. The program provides additional educational sessions for new RNs in their first year of practice, as well as mentoring and support. Each four-hour class includes time for dialogue based on reflective journaling; discussions involving real-life situations and what can be learned from them; and critical thinking exercises.

Bogard whose colleagues respect her wealth of knowledge, encourages the clinical staff to continually advance their knowledge and education. A staff nurse said, “Cindie has a wealth of knowledge and is always eager to share and teach. She has a teacher’s heart and demonstrates compassion and expertise in her interactions with staff and with patients.” Belton Regional Medical Center is part of HCA Midwest Health – Kansas City’s leading healthcare provider.

Kelli Carr, RN, BSN, BSEd, CEN

Kelli Carr, RN, BSN, BSEd, CEN, works in the Centerpoint Medical Center Emergency Department where she has been instrumental in organizing and facilitating the hospital’s speakers bureau in partnership with schools in the Independence and Blue Springs school districts.

She revamped the emergency department orientation and started a new graduate class; she also served as the lead to roll out the CPOE (Computerized Provider Order Entry) in the emergency department. In addition, Carr is involved in myriad of committees at the hospital, including EMS, cardiology, and education and is a member of the corporate Emergency Department Documentation Committee.

Carr is also active in the Emergency Nurse Association and coordinates the annual awards banquet. “Kelli is integral to our team,” Jacque Euriett, Director of CTMC Emergency Services, said. “When families need extra attention and care, she’s always there to explain what is going on, even in tense situations. She steps in to provide support, education and guidance to our entire staff.” Outside the hospital, Carr is active in her church and recently returned from a mission trip to an orphanage in Haiti. Centerpoint Medical Center is part of HCA Midwest Health – Kansas City’s leading healthcare provider. 

Kathy Gilbert, RN

Kathy Gilbert, RN has been with Lee’s Summit Medical Center since 1982. “I have never seen a nurse go as far above and beyond as Kathy does each day for her patients and coworkers,” Amber Boes, chief nursing officer, said. Patients use words like compassion, kindness, grace and tenderness in praising Gilbert’s clinical and care skills. According to Boes and her colleagues, “there is not an area in this hospital that Gilbert couldn’t jump in and help. A leader by example and deed, Gilbert emulates the true picture of the culture at Lee’s Summit Medical Center, where the patient always comes first.” Lee’s Summit Medical Center is part of HCA Midwest Health – Kansas City’s leading healthcare provider. 

Meredith Stockwell, RN

Meredith Stockwell, RN, Menorah Medical Center, is a role model for contemporary nursing. Her director, Annette Swanson, said Stockwell has earned a well-deserved reputation for leading by example. “I couldn’t ask for a more focused, inspirational, and motivational leader,” she said. “As a charge nurse, she is highly respected by staff, physicians, and patients. Although Meredith isn’t directly at the bedside, she develops a bond with patient and families like no other nurse I’ve seen. She truly is a rock star." 

Stockwell will be recognized during the upcoming Nurses Week celebration at MMC when she receives the Marilyn J. Jacobs Oncology Nursing Award. The highly coveted award is presented to a registered nurse who has demonstrated professional commitment to the improvement of patient care. Marilyn Jacobs was a cancer patient who received outstanding care by nursing staff and physicians. After her death, in appreciation for the special care received by Marilyn, the Jacobs family created the award for nurses involved in caring for oncology patients. Menorah Medical Center is part of HCA Midwest Health – Kansas City’s leading healthcare provider.

Stacy Brous, RN

Stacy Brous, RN has worked in the Mother-Baby unit at Overland Park Regional Medical Center for more than 18 years. Regarded as a collaborative interdisciplinary team player, Brous is viewed as a clinical expert who endeavors to ensure the unit policies are current and grounded in evidence-based practice.

She has championed the Safe Sleep initiative, the Newborn Hypoglycemia Protocol and quality initiative to improve exclusive breastfeeding in the hospital. She has promoted continuing education to her peers, encouraging their participation in monthly CEU offerings to continually improve their knowledge of material-child nursing.

“Stacy is a true nurturer of patients, their families and even her peers, and frequently orients new staff to the OPRMC Mother-Baby unit and shares her expertise with new nurses,” said Judy Hendrix, RN, BSN, MSN, RNC-OB, director of labor and delivery. “She is very detailed-oriented and alerts providers to any nuance of the patient’s condition that she is concerned about.” Brous was nominated for the 2015 National HCA Awards of Distinction Nursing Excellence Award. Overland Park Regional Medical Center is part of HCA Midwest Health – Kansas City’s leading healthcare provider.

Chrishaunda Bean, RN, BSN

Chrishaunda Bean, RN, BSN, works in the NICU at Research Medical Center. She was hired in 1998 as a respiratory therapist at Research, where she was assigned to work in the NICU. After discovering she wanted a more hands-on approach with the babies, Bean went to St. Luke’s College of Nursing. In 2006 she graduated with a BSN. She applied for the only NICU position that was open at Research and was hired; now Bean is a full-time night charge nurse. Always a team player, Bean serves on the NICU Practice Council, which she meets monthly to re-evaluate, modify or overhaul practices.

She was chose as Employee of the Month in December of 2010 because of participation in unit council precepts, her pride in the NICU unit, and selfless nature. “I wanted to become a NICU nurse because I knew I could make a difference,” Bean said. “It’s rewarding to watch the babies go home with their parents after I cared for them.” Research Medical Center is part of HCA Midwest Health – Kansas City’s leading healthcare provider. 

Shelah Erickson, RN

Shelah Erickson, RN, works nights as a staffing coordinator at Research Psychiatric Center. Erickson bears an uncanny resemblance to comedian Roseanne Barr. In fact, when Erickson isn’t working, she makes people laugh.

Nursing is Erickson’s passion, but so is being onstage. Since 1995, she has worked off hours in comedy clubs and performs at conventions. Erickson, a mother of eight, notes she has always been drawn to psychiatric nursing where she can make a difference, taking what she has learned in life to give back to patients and audiences. “It’s all about empowering others, understanding others where they are at,” Erickson said. “We have to not feel sorry for ourselves when great loss happens. You have to learn that from all bad things. Sometimes good things can happen.” Onstage her topics range from health, aging, raising children and living in the Midwest to life as a nurse. Erickson donates 90 percent of her performance earnings to various charities such as March of Dimes, American Heart Association or to homeless people. Research Psychiatric Center is part of HCA Midwest Health – Kansas City’s leading healthcare provider.