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Honoring Our Extraordinary Nurses

Our nurses deliver care in hospitals, emergency departments, doctors’ offices, on the phone, at members’ homes. And they do it 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with grace, compassion, and grit. Join us as we honor this year’s Kaiser Permanente Northern California award-winning nurses. Without a doubt, they are exceptional.

Click on a photo to read about the nurse honoree.

Shanthi Margoschis, RN
Debbie Reitter, RN
Kathleen Fineberg, RN, MSN, CNS
Miriam LaRosee-Dempler, RN
David Ainsworth, RN
Mindy L. Prestia, RN
Heather Welch, RN
Sandip Kaur, RN
Brandie Cherry, RN
Natalie Chaplin, CRNA
Mardy Polo, RN
Christopher Wilson, RN
Robyn Chatman-Bolds, NP
Kulwant Gill, NP
Mary Laudel Salvador, RN
Amber Wilbur-Allen, RN
Eric Washburn, RN, MSN, WOCN
Julie Chu, RN, MSN
Sheila Rowe, RN
Shannon Gamoras, RN
Amy Allison, RN
Josie Rafael, RN
Angelica Jimenez, RN
Angelica Sandoval Vasquez, RN
Ivan Correa Lopez, RN
Stella K. Chan, RN
Debra Klingenbeck, RN
Robyn Reince, RN
Faith Gutierrez, RN
Miriam Ignacz
Beverly Chaddock-Crumpton
Michael DePeralta
Wade Estes

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Nurse Leader of the Year

Shanthi Margoschis, RN

Chief Nurse Executive, San Jose Medical Center
According to one colleague, Shanthi is “an incredible nurse leader who brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and expertise to the organization.” Shanthi joined Kaiser Permanente San Jose in 2011. She became the Chief Nurse Executive in the Central Valley in 2016. In 2019, Shanthi joined the San Jose Medical Center as the Chief Nurse Executive, where she hired and trained a new leadership team and oversaw rapid improvement in performance outcomes. In 2020, she led nurses in the South Bay as it became the region’s epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Nurse Leader of the Year

Debbie Reitter, RN

Chief Nurse Executive, Roseville Medical Center
“Grace, precision, and fearlessness” are words used to describe Debbie Reitter, who is known for putting communications in place in order to clarify processes and keep the whole health care team aligned and informed. She also promotes patient advocacy and leads the Patient Care Experience. One colleague remembered how during a particularly difficult week during the pandemic, Debbie arrived multiple nights, rounding on every department in the hospital. She said, “Debbie is the kind of leader who leads the masses but never forgets the individual person under her leadership.”

The Permanente Medical Group Nurse Leader of the Year

Kathleen Fineberg, RN

Director of Nursing and Clinical Practice, Santa Clara Medical Center
A role model to nurse leaders everywhere, Kathleen is a source of nursing and clinical expertise in the midst of unprecedented challenges. Throughout the pandemic, she has worked to ensure safe care delivery practices for patients and staff. In addition to providing daily oversight of a large and complex medical center, she helped with the implementation of the drive-through flu vaccine clinic along with the COVID-19 vaccination sites and contributed to the Regional COVID-19 response playbooks, standing orders, and audit sheets. Kathleen always treats others with respect and compassion.

The Permanente Medical Group Nurse Leader of the Year

Miriam LaRosee-Dempler, RN

Director, Nursing and Clinical Practice, San Jose Medical Center
Colleagues describe Miriam as a “true hero,” whose leadership bolstered staff facing the most challenging health care crisis of our time. She helped lead and implement some of San Jose’s most important initiatives in 2020, including Northern California’s first Bamlanivimab clinic, the center’s COVID-19 clinic and drive-through testing, and the drive-through flu clinic. She also standardized workflows and safety practices in all areas, and then managed the expansion of the COVID-19 testing drive-through tent from 4 to 6 lanes, which allowed the site to serve up to 1,700 patients daily.

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Continuum Nurse Leader of the Year

David Ainsworth, RN

Regional Service Director, Home Health and Hospice, Oakland
With significant experience in hospice, David understands the importance of bereavement services, including groups that help the bereaved move through their grief. In order to reduce or eliminate the risk of contracting COVID-19 during the pandemic, he led a multidisciplinary team to create a regional virtual bereavement program. His work included research to understand what other agencies were doing as well as assessment of virtual platforms and tools. The program launched in August 2020 and continues with excellent attendance and feedback from both staff and bereaved attendees today.

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Continuum Nurse Leader of the Year

Mindy L. Prestia, RN

Regional Quality Director, Home Health and Hospice, Oakland
In her role, Mindy coordinates Quality, Regulatory, Infection Prevention, and many other aspects of care, including serving as liaison between Kaiser Permanente and state and national Quality and Compliance. She is described as instrumental in creating a practice of safe patient and staff care during the pandemic. One colleague said, “At the start of the pandemic, through its various surges and with continuous evolution of information, Mindy has synthesized that information and translated it into standard work for our staff, enabling them to care for COVID patients safely in the home.”

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Emerging Nurse Leader of the Year

Heather Welch, RN

Service Unit Department Manager, Elder Care, Sacramento Medical Center
Described as an emerging leader, Heather graduates this summer with a master’s degree from the University of San Francisco. Respected for her work ethic, communications skills, responsiveness, integrity, and overall professionalism, Heather is also able to quickly analyze problems and guide others to solutions. She has served as a hospital patient care coordinator, transitions nurse, and elder care manager. As a manager she collaborates with staff with diverse backgrounds, excels at getting others’ input, and praises others for positive outcomes while also offering support when there are opportunities for improvement.

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Emerging Nurse Leader of the Year

Sandip Kaur, RN

Assistant Manager, Intensive Care Services, San Leandro Medical Center
Sandip started at Kaiser Permanente as a bedside nurse. She is described as “amazingly compassionate and caring to patients, families, and staff,” going above and beyond to obtain resources and facilitate excellent care for critically ill patients. Additionally, she is always available to provide guidance to fellow clinicians and helps juggle resources to care for all hospital patients, not just those in her unit. As one colleague said, “Kaiser Permanente is lucky to have such a compassionate leader who epitomizes caring science in every role she takes on.”

The Permanente Medical Group Emerging Leader of the Year

Brandie Cherry, RN

Director of Emergency Services, Emergency Department, Sacramento Medical Center
Brandie is passionate about leading a team and it always shows. An open and inclusive leader, she listens with genuine compassion and always looks out for the best interests of her patients and staff. She fosters growth in her employees and supports them through ongoing mentorship and personal development. Throughout the pandemic, Brandie has championed well-being at work through moments of meditation with staff, sharing positive messages in huddles, and helping staff to center their thoughts before shifts. With her open-door policy, she leads with professionalism, determination, and dedication.

The Permanente Medical Group Emerging Leader of the Year

Natalie Chaplin, CRNA

Assistant Chief, Anesthesiology, South Sacramento Medical Center
Natalie is a responsive, upbeat leader who advocates for her staff. When COVID-19 heightened risk in the field of health care, her team felt especially vulnerable. She worked many hours behind the scenes to ensure staff had proper equipment and felt safe managing patient airways. As part of the management team for Integrative Pain Management Services, she supports CRNAs to provide the highest level of care for in-house chronic pain patients. Natalie fosters her team’s well-being by organizing healthy activities, creating safe, comfortable spaces to decompress, and promoting healthy eating.

The Permanente Medical Group Extraordinary Nurse – AACC

Mardy Polo, RN

Staff Nurse II, Appointment and Advice Call Center, Vallejo
When asked to describe what makes Mardy special, one colleague said, “I was blown away by his level of professionalism and, more importantly, his humanity.” Mardy is known to reach above and beyond the call of duty and consistently exemplifies the power of kindness. He is inquisitive and open-minded. Mardy is committed to nurse and patient activism and strives to become a better nurse and leader. The colleague wrote, “I have no doubt the whole organization is better for his continued service to our patients and to our profession.”

The Permanente Medical Group Extraordinary Nurse – AACC

Christopher Wilson, RN

Staff Nurse II, Appointment and Advice Call Center, Sacramento
Christopher is a sought-after mentor, providing positive feedback and in-depth explanation of what it takes to excel in advice nursing. He is committed to the profession and frequently allows other nurses to listen in to his calls, so they can learn how to efficiently and safely care for members while adhering to AACC workflow and standard practices. In team meetings, he shares best practices with the group. Christopher’s peers aspire to be like him, he maintains a consistently positive attitude, and is a joy to be around.

The Permanente Medical Group Extraordinary Nurse – Advanced Practice

Robyn Chatman-Bolds, NP

Nurse Practitioner III, Pediatrics, Sacramento Medical Center
Described as a “moxie of her time,” Robyn is dedicated to making a difference in pediatrics practice and beyond. At work, she provides whole-hearted care to her patients, and precepts nurse practitioner students, encouraging them to never give up on their dreams. She is a tireless volunteer advocating for health and wellness in her community. As president of the Sacramento Black Nurses Association, she helps provide nursing scholarships and mentoring. Robyn is also a member of a medical mission team providing free medical care to impoverished children and families around the world.

The Permanente Medical Group Extraordinary Nurse – Advanced Practice

Kulwant Gill, NP

Nurse Practitioner III MMC, Pre-Op Services, San Leandro Medical Center
2014 Florence Nightingale Award winner Kulwant Gill is widely admired for her leadership and compassionate advocacy on behalf of her patients and colleagues. An innovator at heart, she is constantly looking for ways to improve nursing practice at Kaiser Permanente. She helped improve surgical outcomes and education as NP champion for the Enhanced Recovery after Surgery (ERAS) initiative, led workflow improvements in skilled nursing facilities, and increased access to perioperative appointments without increasing costs. Kulwant also mentors students from Sonoma State and East Bay Cal State University.

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Extraordinary Nurse – Care Coordination

Mary Laudel Salvador, RN

Patient Care Coordinator/Case Manager, Antioch Medical Center
A Med-Surg nurse since 2008, Mary recently changed career paths to her current role. But during the pandemic, she is doing double duty: Working as a patient care coordinator while also voluntarily returning to bedside nursing in the evening and on her days off to help out her old department. “I consider Mary a health care hero,” said one colleague, who further described Mary as a great collaborator, a team favorite, efficient, professional, honest, compassionate, and selfless, before adding, “Mary has a passion for nursing and health care overall.”

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Extraordinary Nurse – Care Coordination

Amber Wilbur-Allen, RN

Patient Care Coordinator/Case Manager, Fresno Medical Center
Amber is described as being dedicated to her craft, with high expectations for herself and others in order to deliver the highest level of care. “Amber is a quiet leader who each day consistently strives to address all of the needs of the patient on a daily basis,” said one colleague. Undeterred by complex situations or challenging conversations, Amber is described as a fierce patient advocate with integrity who engages the physician and care team effectively so that a patient’s transition throughout the hospital stay is as seamless as possible.

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Extraordinary Nurse – Continuum

Eric Washburn, RN

Home Health Nurse III, Roseville Medical Center
Passion, dedication, and kindness are only a few characteristics Eric brings to his role as a case manager in home health. His calm, pleasant demeanor adds to the outstanding care he delivers to every patient. Meeting the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic with grace and positivity, Eric, a wound specialist, traveled long distances out of his assigned area to treat patients with complex wounds, and volunteered for extra shifts. He also helped train new staff. His work has been described by his colleagues as epitomizing the meaning of exceptional care.

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Extraordinary Nurse – Continuum

Julie Chu, RN

Staff Nurse IV, Palliative Care, San Jose Medical Center
Throughout her 20-year Kaiser Permanente career, Julie has helped hundreds of patients. As one of the first nurses to become a certified Life Care Planning facilitator at the San Jose Medical Center, Julie’s early role in LCP contributed to establishing workflows in San Jose and informed the work as LCP spread in Northern California. Her work as a palliative care nurse has provided families with support at their most difficult times, including during the pandemic when Julie helped greatly expand access to Specialty Palliative Care for Spanish-speaking members.

The Permanente Medical Group Extraordinary Nurse – Emergency Department

Sheila Rowe, RN

Staff Charge Nurse, Emergency Department, Redwood City Medical Center
Sheila is as a highly effective charge nurse who oversees a team in the Emergency Department, helps make decisions, and directs patient care. She maintains a high quality of care in the department and provides the first level of feedback for nurses. She also mentors nurses to ensure they uphold Kaiser Permanente’s highest standards. Sheila understands department needs and her coworkers, and is able to motivate the group to reach its goals. An effective communicator, Sheila is adept at advocating for the needs of both nurses and patients.

The Permanente Medical Group Extraordinary Nurse – Emergency Department

Shannon Gamoras, RN

Staff Nurse, Emergency Department, Vallejo Medical Center
During a difficult year in the Emergency Department with no visitors allowed, Shannon has gone out of her way to help patients and their families. With her helpful demeanor, she ensures the patient and family are updated on care and is quick to answer questions. She has a work ethic and personality that fit her job perfectly. As one colleague with 25 years of KP experience said: “She is the best RN we’ve had in the Emergency Department in all my years here. And she is loved by our team.”

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Extraordinary Nurse – Clinical Adult Services

Amy Allison, RN

Staff Nurse II, Intensive Care Unit, Vacaville Medical Center
“Amy is an absolute jewel in the crown of Kaiser Permanente, exhibiting what it means to truly be a nurse,” according to one colleague. In 2019, Amy’s compassion was exemplified when she led fundraising efforts to install a ramp at the home of a Kaiser Permanente staff member who suffered a stroke. Her leadership qualities shined during the COVID-19 surges guiding staff on how to care for COVID-19-positive patients. Her work is a part of the benchmark of care for highly acute patients at the Vacaville Medical Center.

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Extraordinary Nurse – Clinical Adult Services

Josie Rafael, RN

Staff Charge Nurse III, Medical/Surgical, Roseville Medical Center
Described by her peer as “a testament to what a true caring nurse is at the bedside,” Josie has been serving patients at Kaiser Permanente for 35 years with kindness and excellence. The expertise and knowledge she brings to her role as charge nurse allows her to effortlessly care for patients and families while managing multidisciplinary staff. A champion for patients, she serves on committees including Caring Experience and Transforming Care at the Bedside. She has committed her life and career to serving Kaiser Permanente members and families.

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Extraordinary Nurse – Maternal Child Health

Angelica Jimenez, RN

Staff Nurse III, Intensive Care Unit, Pediatrics, Oakland Medical Center
End-of-life care in pediatrics is among the most difficult duties in medicine, and Angelica is often chosen for this work because of her deep empathy for the pain and suffering of patients and their families. Throughout her 20 years with Kaiser Permanente, she has consistently delivered excellent care while demonstrating compassion and leadership. As part of her commitment to the care of children, she helped develop the Honor Walk program. This very special program recognizes pediatric patients who have chosen to donate their organs to save lives.

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Extraordinary Nurse – Maternal Child Health

Angelica Sandoval Vasquez, RN

Staff Nurse III, Labor and Delivery, Modesto Medical Center
According to one of her colleagues, “Angie is a wonderful nurse who gives all of herself to her patients in a very caring and warm-hearted way.” With a particular focus on mothers in Labor and Delivery, Angelica emotionally and physically supports her patients while acting as their advocate. She is also praised for building trust with them through extensive education. Angelica is known as highly motivated and hardworking, frequently taking extra shifts for colleagues who need a day off, as well as stepping up in emergency situations.

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Extraordinary Nurse – Perioperative Services

Ivan Correa Lopez, RN

Staff Nurse II, Operating Room, San Francisco Medical Center
As a nurse leader for the Robotics Program, Ivan always demonstrates the highest level of service possible in every aspect of his job, including organization, attention to detail, reliability, and exceptional competency in many surgical specialties. He has simplified workflows and improved accuracy within the program while every day inspiring his peers to be their best. A surgeon in his department said, “Our department would not be what it is without Ivan. He brings me peace of mind that enables me to perform the best possible surgery.”

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Extraordinary Nurse – Perioperative Services

Stella K. Chan, RN

Staff Nurse IV, PACU, Santa Clara Medical Center
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Stella was one of the first nurses in perioperative medicine to volunteer to fight the virus in the intensive care unit at the Santa Clara Medical Center. Although it had been years since she’d worked in the ICU, she seamlessly transitioned into the role. Sharing her experience and the increased demand inspired many other nurses to heed the call for help. Described as a “role model” who demonstrates “compassion and dedication to patients every day,” Colleagues say Stella’s actions honor the profession of nursing.

The Permanente Medical Group Extraordinary Nurse – Ambulatory/Medical Offices

Debra Klingenbeck, RN

Retired Staff Nurse II, Oncology, Walnut Creek Medical Center
On April 1, Debra retired after 32 years working as a nurse at Kaiser Permanente. But not before colleagues praised her dedication as an “outstanding chemotherapy nurse willing to go above and beyond to provide timely, safe, competent care to our patients.” Debra is celebrated as an educator, patient advocate, and team player. She supported overall department goals and mentored new staff by sharing her wealth of knowledge and expertise. She is described as someone who “added to the exceptional caring culture that we foster in our department.”

The Permanente Medical Group Extraordinary Nurse – Ambulatory/Medical Offices

Robyn Reince, RN

Staff Nurse IV, Neurology Department, San Leandro Medical Center
Colleagues say Robyn is the backbone of the Neurology Department where she has worked for 32 years. From serving as a nerve conduction studies technologist to managing laboratory testing for multiple sclerosis and neuro-muscular patients, she can do it all. She has volunteered her time for the past 15 years, organizing and co-hosting the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) support group and performs Botox injections for migraine patients. “I have never met another nurse in my career who has Robyn’s skill, will, and personality, and I dread the day she retires,” said one colleague.

The Permanente Medical Group Extraordinary Nurse – Ambulatory/Medical Offices

Faith Gutierrez, RN

Service Unit Director, San Mateo Medical Offices
Faith is a natural leader and uses her fantastic communication and organization skills to lead, according to a co-worker. Colleagues say she is always open to new ideas and is not afraid to admit she can do things differently. She takes constructive feedback and uses it to better the work environment. Faith led a team in setting up a COVID-19 treatment tent and vaccine clinic. She spent hours to make them run smoothly. She is always calm and professional and knows how to offer solutions to difficult situations.

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Friend of Nursing – Direct Care Partner

Miriam Ignacz

Department Secretary, Intensive Care Unit, South Sacramento Medical Center
“Miriam is the heartbeat of our ICU,” said Department Manager Anna Mulessa. “She works tirelessly to make sure we all have what we need. She is our go-to person if we don’t know the answer. She’s just amazing.” Anna said Miriam is proactive, self-directed, and always willing to do more. She recently arranged a wedding for a trauma patient in the ICU, decorated the room, and brought flowers. She is always the first to volunteer for projects or team building exercises, and is dedicated to staff, patients, and families.

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Friend of Nursing – Direct Care Partner

Beverly Chaddock-Crumpton

Surgery Scheduler, Perioperative Services, San Rafael Medical Center
A 40-year KP employee, Beverly “Is the heart of gold that keeps the surgeons, patients, and operations running smoothly,” one colleague said. “It’s all for the patients,” is her motto as she expertly coordinates, rearranges, and foresees unplanned events. Recently a patient with a broken femur needed emergency surgery and a COVID-19 test. Beverly arranged for the patient to wait in a room rather than the car for the test results. She also made sure the patient and her family were comfortable before the operation. Beverly’s kindness undoubtably aids healing.

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Friend of Nursing – Interprofessional Colleague

Michael de Peralta

Respiratory Care Practitioner, Respiratory Care Services, Oakland Medical Center
Michael sets the standard for all respiratory therapists, colleagues say. Most of his shifts in the last year were with COVID-19 patients in the Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Department. His passion for respiratory care translates to thorough, superb, and compassionate care. “Michael is really good in an emergency situation, and he understands teamwork,” said Leah Hileman, Respiratory Care assistant manager. “He’s able to optimize care and makes innovative suggestions. He’s also comfortable talking to doctors, and they trust him, because he knows what he is doing.”

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Friend of Nursing – Interprofessional Colleague

Wade Estes

Chaplain, Patient Care Services, Fresno Medical Center
Wade brings a calm and nurturing nature to his work. He has built a trusting rapport with nurses, staff, and patients. One of his well-known practices is the Blessing of the Hands, which lifts spirits and elevates care. He regularly works with employees as they deal with loss and grief. He is trusted to offer support for nurses and others who have lost patients, family, friends, and co-workers to COVID-19 over the last year. His work in organizing memorial services for those who were lost during the pandemic has been incalculable.

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