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Hospital presents first BEE, eighth DAISY awards

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry The pictorial wall inside the Warren General Hospital main entrance is one of several ways hospital personnel are being recognized for their service and excellence.

Being Exceptional Every day is a worthy goal.

Improvements to the physical plant at the hospital have been easy to see.

“We’ve really talked about the growth of the hospital,” Chief Nursing Officer Joe Akif said. “Warren General is not just about facilities. The other piece that we want to take a little opportunity to speak about is the investment in human capital.”

“We try to recognize and reward them in terms of their contributions not only to the hospital, but to Warren County,” Akif said. “We think they do a really good job.”

The hospital already has an award to recognize nurses – the DAISY Award program.

Photo submitted to Times Observer The winner of the first Warren General Hospital Being Exceptional Every day (BEE) Award is Alicyn Loney.

“In recognition of their tireless efforts in providing a healing environment, the nursing team has been a part of the nationally-recognized DAISY Award program,” Akif said. “Nursing is challenging right now. Across the region, most hospitals have a 12 to 15 percent vacancy rate. We hope that our nurses feel that they are supported and loved.”

Patients and families of patients nominate nurses. This week, emergency room nurse Ali Clark became the eighth Warren General nurse to receive a DAISY Award. The number of nominations continues to rise.

“Ali was nominated by a patient’s family member whom she cared for through Warren General Hospital’s emergency room department back in July 2021. The family member wrote, “On the scariest day of my life, I met Ali. I had brought my 15 month old son to the ER, he was unresponsive. I did not know what to do or what was going to happen next.”

“Ali quickly came to the waiting room and immediately took him back to a room,” the family member said. “She did a thorough assessment while explaining everything to me. She remained at my son’s side while several attempts to get an IV and continued to console my son until he was transferred. Ali brought a calming sense to the room and I am thankful for her compassion towards me and my son. She is an outstanding nurse who we were lucky to have during such a frightening time.”

“Congratulations Ali Clark, Warren General Hospital is honored to have an exceptional nurse like you, working here,” according to a hospital release.

Photo submitted to Times Observer The eighth Warren General Hospital DAISY Award winner is Ali Clark.

Nurses aren’t the only heroes in the hospital.

The new BEE Award at Warren General Hospital recognizes members of the staff who are not nurses.

“As a complimentary program to the DAISY Award, the BEE Award recognizes all non-nursing team members,” Akif said. “Just like in nature, bees are loyal, hardworking, and cannot exist without the daisy, as neither can the daisy exist without the bee.”

“It’s another way to recognize the caregivers,” Akif said.

Surgical Technician Alicyn Loney is the first winner of the Warren General Hospital BEE Award.

Loney was nominated by Kimberly Campbell RN, who wrote, “Alicyn Loney is the go to girl for surgical services for everything. All of the surgeons love working with her, she trains new OR techs and new nurses to the OR department.”

She is known for always being kind and caring to the patients and staff, according to a hospital release. She comes in to help even when she is scheduled off. Alicyn goes above and beyond to make sure the surgeons have what they need.

“She has literally held every position in the OR with the exception of Circulator, which needs to be a nurse,” Campbell said.

She makes the OR run with true efficiency and always has a positive attitude, according to the release. “On behalf of all of us at Warren General Hospital, we thank you, Alicyn Loney, for choosing Warren General Hospital as your employer and for the skill, care and compassion you give to our patients and coworkers every day. Congratulations!”

Each Honoree receives a certificate commending her or him for Being Exceptional Every day. Honorees also receive a BEE Award pin, a generous gift card at the hospital’s Window Box gift shop, four free lunches at the cafeteria, eight hour awards day off and a beautiful, very rare crystal called the Bumble Bee Jasper, found at Mount Papandayan in Indonesia.

“It is important our employees know their work is highly valued, and the BEE Program provides a way for us to do that,” CEO Rick Allen said.

“This past year has been more than the typical year of new challenges, with COVID and resources stretched in handling the unknown,” Akif said. “The resilience of the healthcare team has shone brightly as they provide care with a steady hand and remain committed to the needs of our community residents. We celebrate the tireless efforts that our friends, neighbors, and family bring for each other as healthcare providers.”

For the BEE, a panel of Warren General employees determines the award winners based on the hospital’s core values — compassion, accountability, collaboration, and respect.

Akif credited Penny Jensen and Dana Molek with getting the ball rolling. “They’ve done a very nice job of developing this program that really takes as its foundation the core values of the hospital,” he said.

“The core values themselves, those are relatively new to us, the tie-in with the BEE Award and the core values is a good representation of how we’re shifting that culture,” Executive Director of Operations Kathryn Carlson said. “We want people to represent the hospital according to the core values and we want to recognize them when they do.”

“That’s a huge step in the right direction,” Carlson said.

“Each nomination is anonymous, so the panel members cannot identify the nominee,” Akif said.

There were 15 nominations for the first BEE Award. “To get 15 right out of the gate… a lot of good people doing good things,” he said.

“Fifteen nominees out of the gate says that the staff is grabbing onto that,” Carlson said.

From those 15, the panel selected Alicyn Loney as the hospital’s first BEE Award winner.

“Both the BEE and the DAISY Award nomination forms are available on the Warren General website,” Carlson said.

The DAISY and the BEE aren’t the only ways hospital personnel are recognized.

“During the COVID outbreak, the hospital initiated capacity pay for employees to recognize their contributions in a challenging time,” Akif said. “For nursing departments handling increased COVID patients there was an hourly premium of ten dollars an hour above their normal pay.”

“Recognizing the team effort to caring for our patients, all employees working through the pandemic received some additional pay, but the direct nursing caregivers received the highest amount,” he said. “We currently are offering additional premium pay in a tiered approach for the nursing team due to the increased census at the hospital. This ranges up to a $5,000 premium every six weeks for picking up additional shifts to help their peers in patient care. This also is in addition to their regular pay. A similar tiered program is available to the non-clinical teams that are feeling the pressure of increase volume. Again, it is a coordinated and collaborative approach to assuring that our patients get the care they need.”

“We try and find more of the soft and hard ways to recognize people,” Akif said. “We do appreciate everything that they do. We appreciate the fact that they come to work every day and they’re willing to take care of us.”

Staff members are encouraged to submit Apprecio-grams. “That’s where peers identify peers’ good acts… living by those core values,” Akif said. “It really is trying to identify and take care of those who provide care every day.”

“These small notes and gestures leave a large impression on employees as they recognize each other and how they care for their patients and represent the core values of the hospital.”

“The pictorial wall in the main waiting room exhibits the many faces of Warren General and the specialty care area they work in every day,” Akif said. “People recognize us as neighbors, peers, people they go to church with. You’re not being taken care of by somebody that comes from outside the area. These are people that we know, support each other, and take care of each other.”

“People here could be working at Hopkins, they could work at Cleveland Clinic, they could work in Pittsburgh, but they opt to live in Warren. You’re getting the same level of care and the same dedication to care, but it’s local,” Akif said. “We want to make sure for the next several decades that there is healthcare in Warren County.”

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