A Tribute to Our Local Nurses

Celebrating National Nurses Week by Highlighting the Great Work of our Area Nurses

Bartow Regional Medical Center
Elaine Bernard was named Bartow Regional Medical Center’s 2018 Nurse of Excellence. She is flanked by Misty Holland, Director of Patient Services at BRMC, and Carol Koeppel-Olson, the Chief Nursing Officer for the Polk Region. Elaine said she became a nurse because she wanted to have a great impact in helping others by working at the bedside with patients and families. She attended college in New Jersey, where she earned her bachelor’s degree. She has been a team member at BRMC for 1 1⁄2 years. Her colleagues say that Elaine is “seasoned, competent, respected, trusted, kind, and above all else, a team player.”

Associates in Dermatology

Natalie Jenkins, ARNP-C,

“I care a lot about my team and my patients that are like a second family to me. I enjoy listening to the story of their lives; especially about the adventures of my elderly patients to understand better what might have lead to the sun damage and skin cancers they have. This is also why I am very dedicated to skin cancer prevention and warning the younger patients about the dangers of sun exposure. It makes my day when I see a significant improvement in any of my patient’s dermatological condition or when I find a type of skin cancer in time to treat it. I truly love what I do! I guess that is why so many patients have been my patients in Davenport for over 15 years! I truly feel honored that my long-time patients continue to trust me to provide their care.”  

Natalie Jenkins has been with Associates in Dermatology for over 15 years and specializes in skin diseases and conditions of skin, hair, and nails. She received her Master of Science degree in Nursing from Florida Atlantic University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing as well. She is a member of the Dermatology Nurses Association and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. 

Winter Haven Hospital
Winter Haven Hospital Nurses of the Year: From left, Jessica Sheppard, Julie Earp and Juliann Bourne were named Nurses of the Year along with Edgar Yuhmo who is pictured with Winter Haven Hospital President Steve Nierman, Edgar, Chief Nursing Officer Carol Koeppel-Olsen, and Polk Physician Advisor Dr. Hasseb Rahman.

Chapter’s Health

Jimmy Bun

Jimmy Bun first became interested in nursing around the time that his grandmother passed. It was experiencing that trying time that made him want to find a way to help others who, like his grandmother, are ill and suffering. To ensure that nursing was indeed the right path for him to take to achieve his goal of helping others, Jimmy first worked as an ER volunteer for Winter Haven Hospital. While working as an ER volunteer, Jimmy concluded that nursing was a great fit for him. After coming to this conclusion, Jimmy studied at the Rose Training Institute, where he received his CNA license. Shortly after becoming a licensed CNA, Jimmy went on and studied at the Travis Career Center, where he became a licensed LPN. After about 6 years of being a LPN, Jimmy officially became a RN by graduating from South Florida State College’s RN program. This July will officially make 3 years since the day he first became a RN. You can currently find Jimmy working as a RN at Good Shepherd Hospice and helping people who, like his once dying grandmother, are in their last stage of life. When asked what he finds most rewarding about his job as a hospice RN, Jimmy stated, “knowing that at the end of the day, I’ve made a difference in the patients and the patients’ families’ lives during a sensitive time.” Jimmy’s advice for people who are currently aspiring to be a nurse is to make sure that nursing is indeed your calling, have a compassionate heart, and be willing to help others. Jimmy also advises aspiring nurses to make sure that they take the necessary time out to take care of themselves once they join the profession.

Deborah Lemon

Deborah Lemon wanted to become a nurse because she wanted to find a way to help people like her father, who was a minister, did. Because she was not good at speaking and thus did not feel comfortable becoming a minister or missionary, Deborah decided the best alternative way to help others was through healthcare and, in particular, nursing. Once she made the decision to become a nurse, Deborah attended and graduated from Polk State College’s RN program. As a RN, Deborah has worked with patients in the first stage of their lives as a delivery nurse, the last stage of their lives as a hospice nurse, and everything in between. Deborah currently works at Good Shepherd Hospice as an RN. When asked what she finds most rewarding about her current job, Deborah stated, “the recognition by the patients’ families, and the times when a patient looks at you and says that they appreciate you so much. To make them feel better about themselves, makes me feel really good and like I’m making a difference.” Deborah’s advice for an aspiring nurse is to go into an area of nursing that best suits you.

Family Elder Law

Jean Mass, 2018 Caregiver of the Year

“Some people are natural born caregivers. I think that perhaps I fall under that heading. My caregiving career started with the birth of my first child. Donna, now 52, was born with Spinal Meningitis and has had multiple surgeries which left her brain damaged and dependent on me. In later years my husband was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia and Alzheimer’s dementia. At that time I tried to focus on learning about the disease, working with Lewy Body dementia organization and The Alzheimer’s Association. While attending a grief support group after my husband’s death, I met four wonderful ladies that I became close friends with. Ellen McKissock, Charlie Stroup, Ellen Spindler and Joanne Daggett. One day at a grief support meeting we were discussing the lack of support and respite care for caregivers and their loved ones. From that meeting came the “God Wink” of starting a day care program to benefit caregivers and help relieve some of their stress. Little did we know that this program would benefit the clients as much as the caregivers. In May 2012, Change of Pace, an adult day care center for dementia patients opened its doors. We started with two days a week, and quickly had to change to three days, and now we are open five days a week, 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Being a caregiver has afforded me many blessings in my life. I have met many wonderful people along the way. People who have shared their life with me and I am able to share my life with them. Also to serve and help many folks who do not know where to turn in their time of distress.”

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