West Alabama-area Hospital Heroes honored for their service

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - The Alabama Hospital Association has honored five outstanding Hospital Heroes for their service in the West Alabama area.

The 10 year program seeks to highlight and honor health care employees across seven state regions. These employees have demonstrated exceptional dedication to their field and patients. The program culminates in February when up to 10 regional winners will be honored as state Hospital Heroes.

"These amazing individuals deserve to be called heroes, not only because they are an inspiration to their colleagues, but also because they have raised the bar in terms of what it means to provide exceptional patient care," J. Michael Horsley, FACHE, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, said in a press release.

The West Alabama honorees include:

Deborah Bambarger, administrative assistant, patient care services, Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital, Demopolis

Deborah Bambarger has worked in two separate divisions at Bryan Whitfield Memorial Hospital. For several years she served as administrative assistant for the hospital's home health agency. When her supervisor Cathy Hughes was promoted to division director of patient care services, she took Ms. Bambarger with her because she was so impressed by her performance. According to Ms. Hughes, "She always went out of her way to make the patients and families feel like they were very special when they called or visited the agency. She always looked for ways to meet the patient's needs and do so in a cost-effective way, and she brought those same traits to patient care services." Ms. Bambarger's co-workers often speak of how much they appreciate the time she takes to listen to the concerns of both patients and employees. They also admire her work ethic, which they say carries over to her personal life as well. Ms. Bambarger's three children were active in school, church and community activities, and she always supported their involvement while being involved in her own community activities as well. The respect she has earned over the years resulted in her peers recognizing her as the hospital's employee of the year for 2011.

Amanda House, RN, staff nurse/charge nurse, DCH Regional Medical Center, Tuscaloosa

Amanda House serves as a charge nurse in the cardiac telemetry unit at DCH Regional Medical Center, as well as a preceptor for new employees and for nursing students. She has been credited with having played an instrumental role in working with the Alabama Productivity Center to establish an improvement project for her unit. She is also actively involved with the hospital's Nursing Patient Satisfaction Team. Fellow employees say she is an advocate for both patients and employees. They have often commented about the way she promotes teamwork among staff members and how she is willing to do whatever is needed to provide a positive experience to patients. Candace Hagler, the nurse manager for Ms. House's unit recently said, "She would much rather not be the focus of attention but would rather go about her day making a difference one patient at a time. She doesn't really realize the impact that she has on others because this behavior is just natural for her." In addition to her contributions to the hospital, Ms. House is also actively involved in her community. She participates in her local PTA and teaches children's ministry at her church.

David Kendrick, project manager/analyst, materiel management department, DCH Regional Medical Center, Tuscaloosa

David Kendrick is the project manager and analyst for DCH Regional Medical Center's materiel management department, where he is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the materiel management information system and for assisting DCH's various customers with training and other assistance as needed. Although he is not directly involved in health care, his colleagues quickly point out that his services enable them to provide the best possible care to patients. "He is critical in our role to provide the right supply at the right time to the right place at the right cost," said materiel management department director Johnny Gilliland. "His works and actions are always focused on what is best for the patient and caregiver at the bedside." Mr. Kendrick's co-workers have expressed their appreciation on many occasions for his dedication to doing the best job possible for the hospital and its patients. One such example occurred earlier this year when he identified an opportunity to save DCH a significant amount of capital expense. He discussed the idea with staff despite knowing it would greatly impact his workload during a period of already stretched capacity. When asked how he would manage, he stated he would "…do whatever it takes to get the job done."

Tressie May, LPN, DCH Regional Medical Center, Tuscaloosa

Tressie May has been employed with DCH Regional Medical Center for 23 years. During that time she has served as a nurse in many capacities before coming to her current position in the cardiac intervention unit/acute cardiac care unit (CIU/ACCU). The CIU/ACCU is considered to be one of the more demanding areas to work in the hospital because it can be both stressful and fast paced. However, Ms. May "is the 'glue' that holds CIU together," according to CIU/ACCU nurse manager Carol Morris. She goes on to say that, "Tressie has the ability to perform her job on all levels while maintaining the hightest quality of patient care and service." Both patients and staff at DCH have often spoken of Ms. May's pleasant demeanor and her willingness to do whatever is needed to help. A patient recently wrote in a letter that, "She goes far beyond the call of duty with her professionalism, love and tender care." Ms. May's compassion extends beyond the hospital as well. She is active in her church and also participates in various fundraising efforts, including the annual American Heart Walk. Additionally, she and her husband participate in many motorcycle rides that raise funds for health-related causes.

Paula Stokes, CTRS, CPM, M.Ed, J.D., Associate Director, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Tuscaloosa

Paula Stokes serves as the Associate Director for the Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs Medical Center. In her position she is directly responsible for employee education services, engineering service, environmental management, resource management, health administration for veterans' access to care, human resources and a police force that provides critical services in a pyschiatric care facility. She also holds leadership roles on several hospital committees, some of which are forums that allow veterans to be directly involved in decisions about their care. Through her work in these areas, she has been credited with changing many processes impacting veterans based on their input. Ms. Stokes has also been recognized for her leadership in providing professional development opportunties to staff, having received certification as a Veterans Health Administration Mentor at the Fellow level. Ms. Stokes is known for her leadership in her community as well. Following the April 2011 tornadoes, she provided pro bono legal services to veterans and others affected. In addition, she established a disaster fund through the Tuscaloosa VA Credit Union for monetary donations, as well as a donation center for items such as linens, clothing and hygiene products. A colleague recently said of her, "…she always strives to be a resource for others and leads by example."

Copyright 2012 WBRC. All rights reserved. Biography information provided by Alabama Hospital Association.