Winter Haven Hospital and Winter Haven Women’s Hospital Honor Nurses of Excellence

Nurses of Excellence recipients Alex Santos Lozado, Alyssa Davis, Cristina DeJesus and Selina Gamez were honored at a ceremony that also celebrated Nurses of the Year. They were joined by Winter Haven Hospitals Chief Medical Officer Dr. Arif Asif, BayCare Polk’s Chief Nursing Officer Kristen Smith and Winter Haven Hospitals President Tom Garthwaite.


WINTER HAVEN, FLA. — BayCare’s Winter Haven Hospital (WHH) and Winter Haven Women’s Hospital (WHWH) recently honored 39 exceptional nurses as part of their Nurses’ Week celebration. These Nurses of the Year were selected by their peers and represent patient care units & services across the two hospitals. The Professional Practice Council, comprised of staff nurses from both facilities, then selected four overall Nurses of Excellence. Nominations for these awards are based on how each nurse demonstrates and consistently reflects the BayCare values of trust, respect, dignity, responsibility, and excellence.     

The Winter Haven Hospital/Winter Haven Women’s Hospital 2024 Nurses of Excellence are:

Selina M. Gamez, BSN, RN, with theCardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU). She has worked at WHH for eight years. She began her nursing career in 2022. Selena states she chose the nursing profession because she is “passionate about helping others and impacting their lives.” She added, “My goal every night is to make sure I do everything I can to advocate and care for my patients.”  Selina’s teammates agree, stating they would entrust her with their own care as well as that of their families. They also said: “Selina is knowledgeable but also humble enough to accept ideas from others … Selina is ready to stand up with you if there are any problems with families or providers.  She treats everyone with respect and openness.”

Alex R. Santos Lozada, BSN, RN, with the Emergency Department (ED), He began his career in healthcare in 2005, graduating with an associate degree in physical therapy.  He then went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2016 from Ana G. Mendez University in Puerto Rico and joined the WHH team in July 2021.  When asked why he became a nurse, Alex states, “My grandmother was my inspiration to pursue a career in healthcare. I realized that as a registered nurse, I was going to be able to help patients more.”The 45 fellow team members who nominated Alex said of him: “Alex acts as a leader in the department and people know they can trust and rely on him … He works with integrity. … Alex consistently shows up to work with a positive attitude, willingness to help his teammates, and willingness to go above and beyond for the department.”

Alyssa Davis, RN, with theMedical Surgical Intensive Care Unit (MSICU). She began her nursing career in 2022 after graduating from Polk State College. While in nursing school, Alyssa joined WHH’s MSICU team as a nurse apprentice.  When asked why she pursued a career in nursing, Alyssa states, “The opportunity to constantly learn and grow within this field was a major factor in my decision to become a nurse.  … Each day presents new challenges and opportunities for personal and professional development, pushing me to be the best version of myself while also making a difference in the lives of others.”  Alyssa’s teammates say she is amazing with patients and staff– and can always be found walking around the unit to ask if any nurse needs help with anything. 

Cristina De Jesus, BSN, RN, Surgical Unit I (Swann 4). She began her nursing career in 1995, graduating from the University of Santo Tomas in Manilla, Philippines – Asia’s oldest university.  Cristina states it has been an “honor to work at Winter Haven Hospital since December 2004.”  When asked what motivated her to pursue a career in nursing, Cristina states, “Growing up, I always dreamed of becoming a doctor; however, since it was not financially feasible. The next move to get into the medical field was through the wonderful profession of nursing which turned out to be genuinely fulfilling, but also earns you a good seat in heaven.” 

Cristina is highly praised by her teammates, who said of her: “Christina is very knowledgeable and always there to support staff and patients.  She always has time to listen and never criticizes. … Christina is approachable and has outstanding leadership skills. She demonstrates high standards in all she does, even when under pressure. … Christina goes the extra mile for her patients and staff.  She always has a friendly smile and a warmness to all people she encounters.”

The 2024 Unit Nurses of the Year for Winter Haven Hospital and Winter Haven Women’s Hospital are:

Marisa Tolentino, Denise Jones, Catherine Kemp, Cory Harmon, Crystal Williams, Rosa Estrada, Luz Rivera, Kathleen Cloutier, Carson Wethy, Maria Cristina De Jesus, Jennea Dorman, Armi Apigo, Selina Gamez, Christina Hill, Alyssa Davis, Romeliz Latorre, Whitney Oliver, Marie Scearce, Stephanie Casanova, Guenevere Daniels, Renee Rattan, Chelsea Shirah, Kerline Denis-Delmas, Shannon Badnell, Imelda Azurin, Brooke Byrd, Sharon Lewis-Hughes, Rebecca Harris, Alex Santos Lozada, Mary Ross, Melissa Van Wie, Marie Massaro, JoJo Long, Judy Pittman, Lori Britto, Kaley Bird, Nehemie Jean-Mary, Sonahia Toro, and Karen Gonzalez.

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