The Annual Nightingale Luminary and STAR Awards provides an opportunity to acknowledge the amazing nurses in our region whose hard work continues to improve health through advocacy, innovation, and leadership. We believe this recognition of nurses and the nursing profession is a critical component of attracting and retaining the best nurses in southwest Colorado.

Congratulations to our Nightingale Luminary Award Winners!

2022 Nightingale Luminary Award Winner for Nurse in Clinical Practice – Leadership Category

Jennifer Miller, Director of Administrative Operations, Colorado Addiction Treatment Services

Jennifer was nominated as the Director of Clinical and Administrative Operations for CATS, an Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) which provided medication assisted treatment (MAT), including methadone, for individuals suffering from Opioid Use Disorder. As SW Colorado struggles with the Opioid Epidemic, Jennifer’s leadership in providing consistent and high-quality care for community members struggling with substance use disorders is vital to the health of our region. Jennifer created innovative and efficient office practices to facilitate the delivery of services to patients.

She is dedicated to community awareness about both the opioid crisis and about the challenges of offering treatment in rural and underserved communities. She is passionate about serving vulnerable community members and about reducing barriers for treatment including addressing issues related to transportation, reimbursement, and the stigma surrounding addiction. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jennifer advocated for policy changes that would ensure that patients received the consistent treatment that was necessary for their success treatment. Not only did Jennifer run a high-functioning clinic, she also collaborated with area organizations and healthcare systems to provide comprehensive care. Her commitment to her patients and their families reveals her deep compassion for community members struggling with substance abuse disorder and her belief in effective and meaningful treatment programs. Thank you Jennifer for your dedication to addressing the Opioid epidemic in SW Colorado through your effective practice management, your community education, your advocacy for vulnerable populations, and your understanding of and commitment to the patients that you serve!

Nightingale Luminary Award Winner for Nurse in Clinical Practice – Leadership Category

Kathleen McInnis, Professional Education Manager, The Health Education and Resources Institute (THEARI)

Kathleen was nominated for her role in expanding access to quality nursing education for previously licensed nurses in rural and underserved communities. In her role as Professional Education Manager, Kathleen has developed Nurse Refresher education for students who are re-entering the nursing workforce. As COVID-19 has impacted the number of nurses in many communities in Colorado, Kathleen’s consistent and innovative advocacy for Refresher nurses has addressed staffing shortages by increasing access to this experienced nursing workforce. As many medical regulations and processes were modified to meet the unprecedented medical needs of the pandemic, Kathleen lobbied to include virtual simulation for re-licensure in a bid to facilitate the process and contribute nurses to clinical and hospital settings in need of care. Kathleen worked with nurses throughout the state to develop an online, virtually-simulated clinical experience that is rigorous, comprehensive, and replicable. Kathleen’s professionalism and dedication to high-quality nursing education has been evident as she studiously created and presented program evaluation data to support program efficacy. Perhaps most importantly, Kathleen expanded access to re-licensure for diverse nurses through out the state by reducing the costs of education and training and making virtual education available to the most rural regions in Colorado. Thank you Kathleen for your dedication to nursing education, and to making Nurse Refresher education accessible throughout Colorado!

Nightingale Luminary Award Winner for Nurse as Administrator, Educator, Researcher and/or Nontraditional Nurse Practice – Leadership Category

Marissa Maxwell- Kaime, Director of Public Health, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe

Ms. Maxwell-Kaime has long served as the Director of Public Health for the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, one of only two tribal communities in southwestern Colorado. She is responsible for tribal health and public health programming.

During the COVID pandemic, Ms. Maxwell-Kaime served as the principal public health consultant to the Ute Mountain Tribal Operations Team under the Incident Command Structure during the declared Public Health Emergency. In addition to leading the public health response in the community and advising tribal and federal officials, she took personal responsibility for patient-level contact tracing and care coordination. American Indian and Alaska Native communities suffer from health disparities across a wide spectrum of health conditions but are historically more affected by pandemic illness than any other racial or ethnic group. Ms. Maxwell-Kaime immediately recognized the risk to the Ute Mountain Tribal community and took the lead in establishing goals to mitigate the risk of SARS-COV2 in the tribal community, including public health protocols to promote appropriate social distancing, contact tracing and isolation, symptom-based and surveillance testing, and effective immunization. Her dedication to the community, strong collaborative relationships, and strong consistent leadership saved lives. Thank you Ms. Maxwell-Kaime for your service and your commitment to ensuring the health and wellness of community members during the COVID-19 pandemic through the use of effective public health interventions, education, and compassion.

Congratulations to our Southwestern Regional Nightingale Luminary Nominees

for Nurse in Clinical Practice – Leadership

Natasha Spencer, Clinical Coordinator RN, Mercy Regional Medical Center

Angela Peterson, Clinical Manager ICU/TCU, Mercy Regional Medical Center

Dixie Melton, CFNP, received the regional Southwestern Colorado Nightingale Luminary Award on Sept. 23, 2021 at the SWCAHEC Virtual Nightingale Nursing Award event. She was then chosen from among 60 Luminary recipients from across the state to receive a 2021 Colorado Nightingale Award as a Nurse in Clinical Practice in the area of Leadership. Congratulations to Dixie. Read the full article.

STAR Awards

SWCAHEC honors exceptional nurses in the Southwestern Colorado Region for the Rising and Shining STAR Awards. Nurses are nominated by their peers and the community.

Criteria for nominations include:

“SHINING STAR” is a Nurse Who…

• Has worked or is currently working with a valid Colorado RN license

• Has practiced 10 years plus and has demonstrated leadership skills

• Made an impact on the profession / and or on patients 

“RISING STAR” is a Nurse Who…

• Is currently working with a valid Colorado RN license

• Has practiced less than 10 years but who shows leadership and growth potential

• Has made an impact on the profession / and or on patients