Honoring the Best in Nursing

Compassion, determination, intellect. Kaiser Permanente nurses do a difficult job while delivering exceptional care to members during some of the most trying times of their lives. They lead, they innovate. And they do it every single day of the year.

Kaiser Permanente’s 24,000 Northern California nurses deliver care in hospitals and doctors’ offices, on the phone, and at members’ homes. They are clinicians. They are researchers, teachers, and scientists. Their care improves the health of our communities and our nation.

In honor of Nurses Week May 6-12, meet 13 Northern California nurse role models who exemplify the best in nursing at Kaiser Permanente.

> Tell us about the nurses in your life who inspire, innovate, and influence in their work.

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Regional Nurse Leader of the Year

Stacy Alves, RN

Clinical Education and Informatics | Director Clinical Education, Practice, and Informatics, South Sacramento Medical Center

A Kaiser Permanente nurse for 12 years, Stacy has a passion to
ensure all patients receive the very best care possible in all settings. Stacy enjoys the chance to bring a little bit of light into patients’ most vulnerable moments. She loves South Sacramento Medical Center because of the “amazing culture of leadership” that has inspired a common purpose of creating caring moments for patients and their families. Her role as Director of Clinical Education, Practice, and Informatics (DCEPI) is full of opportunities for seeking creative solutions, which, she said, is “right up my alley.”

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David Steiner, RN

Clinical Adult Services | Staff RN II, Santa Clara Medical Center

A registered nurse for 13 years, David has worked exclusively in critical care nursing, specializing in cardiovascular care. He is recognized as conscientious, compassionate, caring, and thorough, and a nurse who always puts the patient and family first. David enjoys working in an environment where he can improve a life over the course of a day, sometimes even over a few minutes. David believes it’s important to “bring your best every day and remember that your choices can change lives.”

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Rosa Magana, NP

Advanced Practice | NP II, San Leandro Medical Center

Currently a nurse practitioner in the Perioperative Medicine Department in San Leandro and Fremont, Rosa loves nursing for the opportunity to care for patients who are in a sometimes fragile state of health and to provide “excellent care, compassion, and hope.” Rosa takes pride in optimizing patient safety by “closely monitoring that their diabetes, heart, and lungs are stable for a safe and successful surgery.” Rosa has been engaged in a local community health fair since 2001, and has worked as a medical missionary in Mexico for more than 6 years.

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National Extraordinary Nurse Awardee

Catherine Jansen, RN, PhD

Oncology | Clinical Nurse Specialist, Oncology Infusion Cancer Center, San Francisco

Catherine is currently an oncology clinical nurse specialist at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco with 38 years of experience. She started her career as a staff nurse and later focused on chemotherapy-related cognitive changes in women with breast cancer for her PhD work. Catherine said she enjoys getting to know know patients, finding out what is important to them and developing their individualized plan of care. That includes providing support with an initial diagnosis, listening to their dreams and desires, and being there for patients during difficult times of treatment. She advises others to take time to mentor and encourage colleagues and find a specialty that inspires passion.

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Joseph Sapida, RN

Appointment and Advice Call Center | Staff RN II, Vallejo AACC

A telephone advice nurse since 2016, Joseph has been with Kaiser Permanente in various RN roles since 2001. Joseph received a DAISY Award for his excellent customer service with members while working as a medical center nurse. When caring for patients he includes the health care team by consulting with doctors or other departments as appropriate. He participates in several work groups, and provides honest and thoughtful feedback that allows his team to grow. He strives to always provide the best care possible to patients.

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Arzo Mehdavi, RN

Emergency Department | Staff RN III, Oakland Medical Center ER

A registered nurse since 2010, Arzo has worked for Kaiser Permanente since high school. She started as a summer intern in Fremont and continued as a department clerk through college and nursing school. Arzo is a member of the Sepsis and Stroke Committee, the Pediatric Ultrasound IV Placement Committee, and a great team player. She is known for her warm and helpful demeanor. Outside the hospital, she is a Hayward community services commissioner, a member of Hayward’s Anti-Discrimination Taskforce, and has spearheaded care and donation events for Northern California fire victims.

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National Extraordinary Nurse Awardee

Holly Champagne, RN

Clinical Education and Informatics | Clinical Nurse Specialist, Labor and Delivery, Kaiser Permanente Roseville

A nurse for 39 years, Holly currently finds her life’s passion in labor and delivery. She began as a nurse educator in home health and transitioned to a large clinical education department prior to her current role. Holly believes that through skilled assessment, observation, communication, anticipation, and caring, nurses can ultimately make the difference in a patient’s life and health. “From the first time I saw a baby being born, I knew that I wanted to be part of that world,” she said. “The privilege of being part of a women’s life during this wonderful (or sometimes terrible) aspect of her life is extraordinary.”

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Ruth Leong, RN

Perioperative Services | Staff Nurse II, Modesto Medical Center

According to her colleagues, Ruth always goes above and beyond exceptional care for her patients in the post-anesthesia care unit, and treats everyone the same. Working in perioperative services, she is able to care for patients across all acuity ranges with the same high level of care. A nurse for more than 30 years, she loves the satisfaction of helping others. “You get to meet different people from different walks of life despite them not being in the best of circumstances,” Ruth said, “and I always feel uplifted once I see my patients feeling better.”

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Miyuki Kiba, RN

Continuum | Home Health RN II, East Bay Home Health

As an experienced nurse in home health, Miyuki is accustomed to some of the most complex and challenging cases outside of our hospitals. Her co-workers note that she is always calm and takes time to really know her patients. Her previous career as a newspaper reporter in Japan inspired her to become a nurse. As a reporter, she wrote many stories on elderly people overcoming critical illnesses. Their life stories “were always touching, and I felt that I wanted to help more directly,” she said. What’s most rewarding about her job is seeing patients and their families recover from illnesses or wounds.

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Lorna Connolly, RN

Maternal Child Health | Staff RN III, Oakland Medical Center

A labor and delivery nurse for 18 years, Lorna loves her job because she is able to have a positive impact on the care of new mothers at a very important time in their lives. Lorna began as a ward clerk and went on to become a surgical technician and then a registered nurse. Lorna always comes to work full of compassion for her patients and co-workers. She enjoys having a positive impact on the variety of patients who come from the culturally diverse East Bay region.

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Karen Carrillo, RN

Medical Offices & Outpatient Services | Staff RN IV, Gilroy MOB

With 33 years of service to Kaiser Permanente across multiple functional areas, Karen is dedicated to exceptional care delivery. She is compassionate and gives her absolute 100 percent. If the clinical team has a question, Karen is the first person to call, because she almost always knows the answer, and if she doesn’t, she works to find it right away. The non-clinical team also reaches out to Karen for guidance, especially when they have questions about clinical workflows. Karen exemplifies exceptional care for members with patience and compassion.

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Ruth Bella, RN

Care Coordination | PCCCM, Walnut Creek Medical Center

Ruth has been a nurse and patient care coordinator case
manager (PCCCM) for more than 10 years. She is compassionate, knowledgeable, and is a team player. She is described as “an amazing resource for newcomers.” In fact, she has oriented more than 40 new case managers in the department. Colleagues say she is the one who every team member and manager goes to for support and guidance, and is a person whom they can trust and rely on at all times.

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National Nurse Leader of the Year

Dorcas Walton, RN

The Permanente Medical Group | Nursing and Clinical Practice Regional Director, Northern California

Northern California regional director for nursing and clinical practice, Dorcas has more than 40 years of experience, with 29 at Kaiser Permanente in a variety of positions. She currently oversees clinical practice of over 10,000 nurses. Dorcas says she wanted to be a nurse since she was very young, and she still loves the work, notably “the human connections” and working to improve the lives of Kaiser Permanente patients and staff. Her influence is widespread, from helping open the intensive care unit at Santa Rosa Medical Center, to spending 7 months in Hawaii assisting Kaiser Permanente with resource management and hospital operations.

Who inspires you?

There are more than 24,000 nurses in Kaiser Permanente Northern California who provide skilled care to patients and members. Who among them is your own hero? Tell us how she or he inspires, innovates, or influences as a nurse.

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Guestbook entries

25 entries.
Angela Anderson wrote on May 14, 2019:
I would like to acknowledge and honor Amal Johnson, Infection Prevention RN, who just retired from the EBSA on 4/26/19. She split her time between Oakland and Richmond but was especially fond of Richmond. I've known Amal for many years as she worked at 4 different health systems, before arriving at KP. I was always amazed at how sincerely passionate she was about her work and caring about the patients. We were fortunate to have her at KP. I hope there will be another RN that can fill her shoes!
Ajarat Bada wrote on May 9, 2019:
I would like to acknowledge Mindy Prestia, RN Regional Quality Director for Home Health and Hospice. Many times, we focus on nurses who are giving care at the bedside or directly interacting with patients, which Mindy has done with much care and compassion for over 20 years. However, we forget those nurse advocates, people who work behind the scenes to ensure that the quality of services we provide our members is indeed top grade. Mindy cares that things are done right, all the time and at all times. She is concerned that the training and support we provide to our staff is the best out there so that they can in turn provide the best car to our members. I am happy to have joined Kaiser and worked under Mindy Prestia. She taught me the ultimate skills needed to succeed in any role; Integrity and Grit! I am inspired by her in many ways than one. Thank you Mindy for all you do for all of us 🙂
Linnea Williams wrote on May 9, 2019:
Our nurse, Gail, is incredible! She has so much energy and enthusiasm every day that I sometimes think that she was the Energizer bunny in another life. She has such overwhelming compassion for all of her patients that they often comment on how kind she is. And Gail generously shares her many years of wisdom with all. And her partner in care, Gaby, is amazing too! Our clinic is so fortunate to have these two nursing professionals on our team.
Jacqueline Takahashi wrote on May 8, 2019:
Jacquie is a phone advice nurse for Union City Home Health Care. She is very attentive to the needs of her patients and is an excellent communicator with staff! I would like to acknowledge a job well done!! Thank you! Charlotte Mann
Aisha Ervin wrote on May 8, 2019:
Lee Ann Wise is the most inspirational nurse I know. I have been a nurse for 14 years and have worked for a few organizations, and under multiple managers within those organizations. Never have I met someone so smart, empathetic, relatable to staff and patients alike, and overall concerned with not only the betterment of our patients, but also her staff and her community. Lee Ann expects nothing but hard work from her employees. But when you are down, she will help you realize you are down and insist that you take care of yourself. She will visit staff in the emergency department, if they have gotten hurt. She will always ask about families and children of those who work for her - making it a point to know everyone's names. She always provides updates on clinical performance and offers ways to make clinic efficiency better. There are so many things I can say about Lee Ann. But number one is that working for her has reinvigorated my nursing drive. For her I want to do better because she makes me better. She has inspired me to eventually go back to school for my master's degree, once time permits. She has inspired me to hold myself to a higher standard in nursing, motherhood, friendship, and overall womanhood. She makes me think out of the box when it comes to ways to increase clinic productivity and patient satisfaction - always putting the patient experience first. I am so grateful she came in to my life.