5 nurses making headlines on and off the job

Here are five nurses who have made headlines for their leadership efforts on and off the job since mid-August:

Editor's note: This list will be updated every few weeks.

September-Nov. 29

Nurse practitioners Kelly Goebel, APRN, BSN program director at Florida Gulf Coast University, and Brenda Hage, PhD, APRN, director of the school of nursing, were flying home from a nursing conference Oct. 31 when a passenger began experiencing symptoms of a stroke 30 minutes before landing. The nurses stepped in to stabilize the patient until the flight landed and handed the patient off to paramedics, according to a report from NBC affiliate WBBH.

Over the summer, Leigh Ann Sondrup, RN, a nurse at Phoenix-based Valleywise Health, was driving home when she jumped into action to help save the driver of a cement truck who was trapped inside after an accident. She used a bystander's belt as a tourniquet to stop blood loss and stayed with the driver until emergency crews arrived. On Oct. 18, the Phoenix Fire Department honored Ms. Sondrup for her life-saving actions, CBS affiliate KTVK reported. 

Phil McAlister, RN, a nurse at HonorHealth in Phoenix, and his wife pulled over to help a woman involved in a multi-car crash they witnessed in September, according to KTVK. The woman asked for the couple's help to find her dog, who was with her at the time of the accident and was thrown out of his carrier. The couple stayed with the woman until she was transferred to a hospital and took the dog to the veterinarian. They were both treated and recovered. 

Carlene Stevens, RN, retired Nov. 14 after 43 years as an ICU nurse at Northern Light Mercy Hospital in Portland, Maine, NBC affiliate WCSH reported.

Aug. 15- Sept. 11 

Mackenzie Beach, RN, a cardiology nurse at UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pa., donated part of her liver to save the life of a 20-month-old toddler with a rare genetic disorder called Alagille Syndrome, GGood Morning America reported Sept. 4. The two underwent the transplant operations in June. 

In August, Gary Krause, RN, took life-saving action to help his friend, John Sickler, who is also a registered nurse, when he started choking while visiting the zoo with their children, the Racine County Eye reported. 

After more than 33 years in the same unit, Agnes Reyes, RN, retired from Chesapeake (Va.) Regional Medical Center, NBC reported on the Today show in August. 

Twilight Cofield, APRN, a nurse practitioner who has worked at Boston-based Massachusetts General Hospital for more than 20 years, witnessed a car crash in August and stepped in to wait with the passengers until medical help arrived. The couple asked Ms. Cofield to make sure their dog, who was in the back seat of the car at the time of the accident, was okay, and she transported the dog to the vet, the Cape Cod Times reported. 

Erin Davis, RN, a nurse at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill, Va., witnessed a vehicle rollover accident in August. She pulled over to help the family members, who fortunately were not seriously injured, out of the car and connected them to medical help. 

July 22-Aug. 8 

Sarah Jastrzembski, a registered nurse in New Jersey, was awarded by the local community for life-saving measures she took to save a long-term care facility resident from choking while assigned to the Woodridge (N.J.) Health Department's new mobile unit, according to a local report

Debbie Kenzler, RN, retired from Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital - St. Joseph Campus in Milwaukee after 45 years at the hospital, Spectrum News 1 reported Aug. 8. 

In late July, Leigh Ann Sondrup, RN, a nurse at Phoenix-based Valleywise Health, was driving home when she jumped into action to help save the driver of a cement truck who was trapped inside after an accident, 

Margie Ybarra, BSN, RN, a nurse at Texas Health Hospital Rockwall, is retiring after 50 years as a nurse, according to Blue Ribbon News. 

June 2-July 16

Four emergency room nurses at based Piedmont Columbus (Ga.) Regional Northside — Ema Zeitlin; Becky Sergent-Riggs; Sydney Kock and Micah Muessig-Montebell — assisted people at a local breakfast cafe after an SUV crashed through the building, CBS affiliate WRBL reported July 16. 

Marilyn Nydam, RN, a maternity nurse at Milford (Mass.) Regional Medical Center, recently marked 50 years at the hospital, making her its longest-serving employee, The Milford Daily News reported July 18. 

Katheryn Bailey, RN, a nurse in the Dayton, Ohio area, helped stabilize a passenger experiencing chest pains on a recent flight. When his condition worsened, Ms. Bailey used a defibrillator and helped paramedics transport the man to a hospital after the flight made an emergency landing, according to a July 13 report from CBS affiliate WHIO-TV.

Emily Hippler, RN, an emergency room nurse at Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas, stepped in to help a family deliver a baby in the hospital parking lot July 19, NBC affiliate KBMT reported. 

Lynne Yaggy, MSN, RN, chief nursing officer at Cox Medical Center Branson (Mo.) and vice president of clinical services for Springfield, Mo.-based CoxHealth, retired July 1 after 42 years in the healthcare industry.

Lisa Surratt, RN, a nurse in the intensive care unit at Quincy, Ill.-based Blessing Hospital, retired June 1 after 44 years.

Nurse couple Emily Raines, RN, and her boyfriend, Daniel Shifflett, were on their way home from vacation when a flight attendant called for any medical professionals to come to the front of the aircraft. The couple responded and found a man with a bluish-purple face near the front of the plane. The couple began compressions and were able to get the man's heartbeat back. 

April 20-May 22

Stacey Mazzurco, BSN, RN, a nurse of 37 years at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, helped respond to a woman who was having a stroke at a resort in Mexico while on vacation last summer, NBC affiliate WKYC reported May 22. The woman's family nominated Ms. Mazzurco for a Daisy Award for her involvement, which she received

Rashon Jefferson, a licensed practical nurse who works as a clinical informaticist at Children's Healthcare Atlanta, helped care for another passenger who passed out on a flight in May, NBC affiliate WXIA-TV reported May 18. 

Sydni Smith, RN, an emergency department nurse at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Mich., stepped in to help a family deliver a baby who arrived earlier than planned in the facility's parking lot May 2, according to a report from local CBS affiliate WLNS. The couple had planned for their daughter to be born at the hospital later that day, but there was little time left when they pulled into the parking lot. 

A nurse at Portland, Ore.-based Randall Children's Hospital, Iris Bargar, RN, retired after 56 years, FOX affiliate KPTV reported in April. 20 

The American Organization for Nursing Leadership awarded Sharon Pappas, PhD, RN, chief nurse executive of Atlanta-based Emory Healthcare, the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award.

March 5-April 10

A Cincinnati Children's nurse, Abby Hess, DNP, designed a video game to reduce preoperative anxiety among pediatric patients. The game allows patients to move cartoon animals on a tablet through breathing as they fall asleep before surgery. 

Several people, including Madison Johnston, BSN, were recognized for stepping in to help a woman who was choking at a local Pennsylvania restaurant, CBS News Pittsburgh reported April 5. 

After retiring in 2019, Gwen Williams, RN, returned to mentor new nurses in the emergency department at Rochester General Hospital in New York, NBC affiliate WHEC TV reported March 29. 

Retired nurses Linda Pegg and Becky Meadows are among those volunteering with an organization in Missouri that supports refugees acclimate to life in the U.S., according to a report from the Springfield News-leader.

Ericka Huseth, LPN, a nurse with Duluth, Minn.-based Essentia Health, performed CPR on a man who collapsed in church. The individual regained consciousness after Ms. Huseth started chest compressions. 

Stephanee Beggs, BSN, RN, has made $2 million in three years selling her study guides for the National Council Licensure Examination. 

The American Nurses Association named two nurses as recipients of its 2023 Innovation Awards on March 8. Kevin Lee Smith, DNP, a nurse practitioner, received the individual nurse award for creating The Good Clinic — a Minnesota-based primary care model led by nurse practitioners. The nurse-led team award went to Roxanne McMurray, DNP, APRN, who led the development of the Distal Pharyngeal Airway, or the McMurray Enhanced Airway.

Feb. 12-16

Newport News, Va.-based Riverside Health System has started a biweekly podcast that will touch on various health-related topics and be hosted by its chief nursing officer, Frankye Myers, RN, MSN. 

Ashley Eastman, RN, BSN, leans on personal experience to help patients navigate cardiac issues as a nurse at Norton Children's Heart Institute in Louisville, Ky. Ms. Eastman was born with a bicuspid aortic valve and has undergone two heart surgeries, Spectrum News 1 reported Feb. 14. 

Nurses at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth Mass., including critical care nurse Michelle Peterson, RN, have made a tradition of printing out patients' final heartbeat and sharing it with family and loved ones, The Patriot Ledger reported Feb. 15. 

The St. Luke's Nurses Honor Guard recently celebrated the life of Frances Kryzan,RN, who served as a nurse for more than 30 years, WFMZ-TV reported Feb. 12. Ms. Kryzan died at the age of 83 and spent much of her career at Sacred Heart Hospital in Allentown, Pa.

Kayla Teneyck, RN, has made a career out of building bridges, Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Sanford Health wrote in a Feb. 15 news release. In addition to the metaphorical bridges she builds helping patients navigate cancer diagnoses, she has helped build physical bridges as a 20+ year veteran of the National Guard. 

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