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Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center

Frist Humanitarian Awards

The annual Frist Humanitarian Awards, EIRMC’s highest honor, recognizes five of our own for their exemplary caring spirits, not only here at EIRMC, but also in the community.

To be selected for this honor, each had to meet the following criteria:

  • Show remarkable concern for the welfare and happiness of patients.
  • Perform extraordinary acts of kindness.
  • Have a positive effect on others.
  • Demonstrate a level of commitment to community service.

To put is simply, they live the I am EIRMC values, even when they aren’t at the hospital. Our recipients this year are:

Sue Ann Summers works in our Wound Care department. Her colleagues describe her as “always willing to help someone in need. She goes the extra mile for them. She shows great compassion for patients and gets to know them personally.”

Once, a patient did not show up for his wound care appointment. Sue Ann knew that this was uncommon for this patient to miss his appointment, so she called his home and cell, both with no answer. Sue Ann was concerned enough to call the police and have them check his home. The police found the patient unresponsive with very low blood sugar. They were able to get him to the hospital and get his blood sugar back up to a safe level. Sue Ann saved his life because she followed her gut instinct that something wasn’t right.

Sue Ann’s generosity of spirit extends to the community, as well. She has served as a cub-scout leader in the community many times, as a merit badge counselor for the boy scouts and currently as a scout commissioner overseeing many packs of cub scouts in the Ammon area.

Sue Ann might say that these acts of service aren’t a big deal or that it’s just what you do. But truly they are examples of extraordinary acts of service!

As a Frist award nominee, EIRMC will make a donation in Sue Ann’s name to a charity of his choice, the Humanitarian Center.

Jim has been a volunteer at EIRMC for four years. Currently, he spends his time in Emergency Room where he makes rounds on patients and families. Jim offers warm blankets, drinks, snacks, and most importantly friendly conversation to help ease the pain and stress patients and families are under.

He is also a go-trainer trainer for new EIRMC volunteers, according to Marchelle, our Volunteer Manager. She says that Jim can also be counted on truly embody mission to improve the lives of those we touch. He’s also involved with many of our special events. Jim is the first to volunteer and the last to leave.

This story pretty much sums up the kind of guy that Jim is: One day at the end of his shift, Jim walked out to the visitor lot, and found a patient’s car in a foot of standing water. Jim simply rolled up his pants, trudged through the water, and pushed the patient’s car to dry land!

Outside of the hospital, Jim is a gem, too. He’s a volunteer at the Senior Center, helps elderly residents with home repairs they can’t do themselves, and assists downtown businesses with upkeep and repairs. His efforts haven’t gone unnoticed either. In 2012, Jim was honored by the Mayor as a community citizen who displayed outstanding dedication and service above and beyond the call of duty.

As you can see Jim is an incredible volunteer. He brightens our day in an instant, always smiling and offering kind words of encouragement. EIRMC is truly a better place because of the service Jim provides to our patients, families, and employees.

In his honor, EIRMC will make a charitable donation to the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center in Idaho Falls.

Dr. Aaron Gardner is our pediatric intensivist in the PICU, and has been absolutely essential in helping to build our children’s services program. He has been on Medical Staff here at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center since late 2014. In less than two years, he has become an absolutely invaluable member of our team.

Dr. Gardner is a tireless advocate for our pediatric services program, and he shares our goal to be a Children’s Hospital within a few years. We often hear feedback from parents who are stressed, worried, and scared about his incredible skill at healing. Just as often, though, we hear from family members about his compassion, his ability to put them at ease, his true spirit of caring.

Dr. Gardner has also led education efforts with EMT’s across our region on pediatric trauma. And he’s also been extremely active in helping parents know more about children’s health issues. Dr. Gardner has participated in a number of YouTube videos on topics such as RSV and family emergency preparedness, and is currently leading a concussion awareness program for both parents and coaches.

In addition to his work to elevate our pediatric services, Dr. Gardner has provided invaluable expertise to the hospital’s emergency preparedness efforts. His resume related to disaster preparedness is beyond compare, including serving as the Regional Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the National Disaster Medical System, as well as an instructor with FEMA’s Center for Disaster Preparedness and the Society of Critical Care Medicine.

Dr. Gardner is also founding member of the Mountain States Pediatric Disaster Coalition, with a mission to establish communication between healthcare facilities in the event of a large-scale disaster or public health emergency. As such, EIRMC has been named as a lead pediatric facility for five mountain states, including Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Colorado, and Montana.

There is no question that Dr. Aaron Gardner exemplifies the values represented by HCA’s Frist Award. He is a man of integrity, of commitment, and of compassion.

In his honor, EIRMC will make a charitable donation to the Boy Scouts of America.

This award is to a nurse who advances nursing practice by guiding or supporting career development for nurses and by advancing evidence-based nursing knowledge.

Here’s how Nicole was described:

  • Has raised the bar and demonstrates a desire to make the nurses in the ED more clinically sound.
  • Backs all of her clinical changes and education with the most current standard of practice.
  • Willing to share her vast knowledge with anyone who shows interest; she is engaging and sparks a deeper desire for us to want to learn more about the why of emergency nursing.

Many of Nicole’s efforts have greatly elevated the clinical expertise of our ER department. For example, she has been a strong advocate for our ER to earn certifications as Board Certified Emergency Nurses. Nicole has worked hard to bring the Emergency Nurse Pediatric Course to EIRMC, as well as creating a power pack residency program for new nurses.

Her colleagues say Nicole leads by example and that she asks nothing of them that she would not do herself.

EIRMC is fortunate to have Nicole amongst our ranks! She has selected the Idaho Falls Fraternal Order of Police as her charity of choice.

This award is for a nurse who demonstrates exceptional nursing knowledge and consistently applies both compassion and integrity. We heard from lots of people about Ruthan’s incredible giving and compassionate spirit. They used phrases like:

  • humble and modest
  • remarkable concern for her patients, and her coworkers
  • smile on her face and warmth in her eyes
  • defines the words charity and service
  • gives 110% to her patients and her coworkers

Ruthan’s colleagues says that she treats her patients like family and that she truly cares about their needs. One story that displays her beautiful spirit involved a family who had just experienced the loss of their child. Ruthan was the primary nurse. When the mom was ready to leave, Ruthan walked her out to car, and held the mom as she cried. Nothing out of the ordinary for Ruthan, but extraordinary for this mom to have someone care for her that way.

And Ruthan is a wonderful example for her ER colleagues, too. For the past two years, Ruthan has planned and carried out a Thanksgiving Dinner for the 80 people volunteers and people who serve our ER. She did this all on her own time and spent money of her own to ensure this dinner was special to all who attended.

In Ruthan’s honor, EIRMC will make a donation to the Suicide Prevention Action Network.

Each of these honorees were nominated by their peers, and then chosen by EIRMC’s Frist Committee from a large number of nominations.

This is not an easy award to win, but the qualities required for this award just seem to come naturally to this year’s recipients.