Two Valley View nurses win statewide honor |

Two Valley View nurses win statewide honor

Caitlin Causey
Post Independent Contributor
Pat Trauger, right, receives an award from the Colorado Hospital Association from Deb Willit, director of endoscopy.
Provided |

Valley View Hospital nurses Niki Arnhold and Pat Trauger have been named Colorado Health Care Stars, a distinction bestowed by the Colorado Hospital Association and American Sentinel University.

CHA, a Greenwood Village-based group representing more than 100 hospitals and health organizations from around the state, partnered with American Sentinel University to begin awarding the honor in February 2015 as a way to recognize “clinical professionals in Colorado who exceed expectations in the delivery of health care,” according to its website. Recipients must be nominated for consideration.

Arnhold, a registered nurse who has worked in the hospital’s Family Birthplace since 2009, also serves as a clinical supervisor and department educator.

“Labor and delivery has always been my passion since coming out of nursing school,” she said. “I work at the bedside taking care of patients, but in my additional roles I am also able to impact the facility from a nursing perspective and help influence better practices and advocate for better patient care.”

One of Arnhold’s significant recent contributions involved the introduction of nitrous oxide for patients seeking an alternative pain management option during labor. She attended conferences seeking further information, wrote up procedures, helped educate staff and discussed how the drug could be worked into the budget before it was officially introduced at the Family Birthplace about a year ago.

“I was really interested in the research coming out on nitrous oxide for laboring women,” Arnhold recalled. “I was able to help bring it here in a timely fashion, and it was a really rewarding project to bring on.”

This work bringing a new pain management option to Valley View was one contribution that Family Birthplace director Mic Zywiec highlighted in Arnhold’s nomination for the Colorado Health Care Star award.

“Niki does so much to benefit patients, providers and staff,” Zywiec recently said of Arnhold’s dedication to the nursing profession. “She’s a front line nurse, dedicated to patient care, and she brings that perspective to her role as a staff leader.”

Arnhold reported surprise when she was notified of being selected as a recipient.

“I had no idea this was coming when they offered me this award. I am so excited,” she said. “And very, very honored to be recognized.”

Trauger, the second award recipient, was equally surprised — especially because she has spent the past several months enjoying her recent retirement.

“I retired back in May 2016 after working as a nurse for 47 years,” she said. “At my retirement party last year I got a card saying that I had been nominated, but I didn’t expect to be advanced to the final rounds. So when I actually received the award I just felt so appreciated for what I did at Valley View for so many years.”

Although Trauger had previously worked as a nurse in a variety of different locations including Pennsylvania, New Mexico and abroad in Saint Lucia, she began her career locally in 1972. She remembers the days when the hospital was quite different from the larger, more advanced facility it is now.

“When I started, nurses there kind of worked everywhere — ICU, ER, OB,” she recalled. “I had an ER background, so mostly worked there, but also did some ICU. I was part of the team that opened the first intensive care unit in 1972.”

From 2001 until her retirement, Trauger worked in the endoscopy department and was nominated for her award by director Deb Willet.

“Pat has worked in every single department at Valley View Hospital,” Willet said. “Her broad knowledge and ongoing relationships have allowed endoscopy to coordinate with other departments to make patient transitions seamless.”

Trauger reflected upon her experiences at the hospital, and said that her recent recognition was a fulfilling cap on a lifetime of rewarding work.

“It just made me feel good,” she said. “I feel fortunate to have had such a good career as a nurse, and the thing I always loved most was just taking care of people. Watching Valley View change over the years was amazing, seeing it go from a small hospital to what it is today. I feel pretty proud to have been a small part of it.”

Arnhold and Trauger will be honored at an upcoming banquet in Greenwood Village on March 27, where award winners in attendance will be entered into a drawing to win a full tuition scholarship for an advanced health-care degree at American Sentinel University.

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