Nurses at the Lake Chelan Community Hospital (LCCH) were recently honored for their professional accomplishments

Vernita Nolan received the Excellence in Health Care or Nursing Advocacy award from the Northwest Organization of Nurse Executives. This award was created in 2009 to recognize nurse leaders who make a significant impact.

Vernita has worked as a nurse for 31 years. She earned her Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) in 2014 while working full time and has served in a variety of direct care and nursing leadership roles. She is the nursing manager for the LCCH’s Sanctuary at the Lake, a dual-diagnosis substance abuse recovery / mental health unit, as well as the director of quality and patient safety at LCCH.

“Vernita’s professional reputation is one of solid integrity, authenticity and advocacy for patients, nurses and other caregivers,” said Carol Velasquez, LCCH CNO. “She shows tenacity and courage in the most challenging situations.”

Nurse Amy Fricke was also honored this spring with the 2016 North Central Washington Nurse of the Year Excellence in Management Award. Amy is a House Supervisor at LCCH, and her responsibilities include demonstrating clinical expertise across the entire hospital.
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Amy Fricke

She came to the Chelan hospital after being a NICU nurse, where she cared for premature newborns who were at high risk. At LCCH, she has worked hard to improve patient safety. One example of this is standardizing the pediatric emergency carts, so that emergency medications and supplies for the appropriate age and weight of a child can be readily identified.

“I have been a nurse for over 36 years, and in nursing leadership for the majority of that time,” said Velasquez. “I can sincerely say that Amy is one of the most outstanding nurses I’ve worked with, and she is an example of optimism for nursing’s future. I consider Amy’s ability to blend her stellar clinical skills with a healing presence to be what makes her stand out from the crowd.”

Velasquez also presented at the Back to the Future annual program for the Northwest Organization of Nurse Executives as part of their pre-conference event. She was published in their quarterly newsletter last winter, with an article about providing healthcare to the Lake Chelan Valley during the Chelan Complex Fire in 2015.

She described the challenges caregivers faced as roads closed, and the hospital lost main power, including the pumping station that pushes water to the facility. “Healthcare professionals are amazingly creative, flexible and resilient,” Velasquez wrote. “We continued to care for our community, our patients and for one another through an incredibly stressful situation.”