Kathleen Wilson: Grand Junction’s own ‘Florence Nightingale’ | PostIndependent.com

Kathleen Wilson: Grand Junction’s own ‘Florence Nightingale’

Sharon Sullivan
Sharon Sullivan / Free Press
Staff Photo |

Patients at Community Hospital may be comforted to learn that registered nurse Kathleen Wilson was given the Nightingale Award for Excellence in Human Caring at a banquet last month in Westminster.

Out of 38 nominees from across the state, Wilson was one of six to win the honor which was named after Florence Nightingale, a 19th century nursing pioneer whose writings sparked worldwide health care reform. The award is given annually by the Colorado Nurses Foundation.

“I was really shocked; I am so honored,” Wilson said. “I work with some really great teams at Community Hospital and Marillac Clinic.”

At Community, Wilson is a clinical nurse specializing in vascular access and infusion therapy. She also volunteers every Tuesday at Marillac, a nonprofit medical clinic that serves the uninsured.

“That’s a special group that’s always doing more with less,” Wilson said. “I help out where needed and with miscellaneous special projects.”

During the May 11 banquet, attendees listened to the bios of all the nominees.

“It was so amazing to listen to all the stories of what nurses are accomplishing to improve patient care,” Wilson said.

Community Hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer Kristin Gundt said Wilson was a natural choice to receive the Nightingale honor.

“She knows all the details” in administering fluids in people’s veins, Gundt said. “It is her world to keep on top of that. The technology is always changing. We learn how to do it better, or deliver it more efficiently, or the products change.

“She expands her own knowledge, on her own.”

In addition to her job, Wilson is a member of the Infusion Nurses Society, a national organization, whose purpose is to promote quality care in infusion therapy, and offer research-based standards. Wilson also serves on both the editorial review board for the Journal of Infusion Nursing, and helps develop curricula and find faculty for the organization’s conferences.

Yet, “She never appears rundown; she’s always happy and she’s always there for her patients,” Gundt said.

Gundt served on the Nightingale committee that reviewed the nominee applications. She remembered overhearing nurses at another table reviewing what turned out to be Wilson’s application.

“One lady said ‘Wow’ — this is a Nightingale,’” Gundt said.

The Nightingale Award was founded in 1885 to honor Colorado nurses who best exemplify the philosophy and practice of Florence Nightingale. Nightingale and a team of nurses improved the unsanitary conditions at a British base hospital during the Crimean War, reducing the death count by two-thirds.

Wilson has been a nurse for 24 years, nine of those years at Community. She’s married and has two children.

Wilson was given a bronze statue of Nightingale giving comfort to a patient.

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