2017 Director of Nursing of the Year

Kari Gawrych, RN, RAC-CT is currently the director of nursing at Bright Gardens. Previously, Kari worked at Azria Heath Montclair, also in Omaha. During her time at Azria, Kari was instrumental in implementing electronic care plans, as well as improving the care planning process. She also incorporated nursing assessments into the electronic medical record. This helped to trigger care and documentation based on care issues that can be a correlation to illnesses or declines in residents. In her nomination of Kari, reimbursement manager Jeri Lewis, at Azria, wrote, “There aren’t a lot of awards to win that truly represent someone who takes on an almost impossible challenge to improve the care at a struggling SNF, but Kari has done just that. She inspires her staff, promotes from within, recruits the best of the best to come be part of this turnaround, and has an incredible way of making residents and family feel cared for in every moment no matter how chaotic it is around her.”

2017 Nursing Home Administrator of the Year

David Simha is the administrator of The Palm Gardens Center for Nursing and Rehabilitaion, a 240-bed skilled-nursing facility with a two-shift, daily adult day care program for the community, a 53-bed dedicated ventilator unit, and a dialysis center. With his open door policy, David encourages staff, residents, and patients to visit and voice their concerns. He seeks input from the entire team on important issues. When problems are identified, he encourages staff to do a QA and report back to the team. David is particularly knowledgeable and sensitive to residents’ care as related to their cultures. MDS coordinator, Yoge Pa-halan, who nominated David, wrote, “Mr. Simha is very kind, generous, and supportive. With him as an administrator, it makes my job as an MDS coordinator definitely easier.”

Cheryl M. Thomas Scholarship (provided with support from Cerner and the friends and family of Cheryl M. Thomas)

Stacey Poldervaart RN, RAC-CT, is the staff development coordinator at Friendship Haven. In her position, she is responsible for the onboarding and orientation of new team members as well as coordinating a skills fair. She works closely with the direct caregivers and their supervisors to ensure that quality care is provided in all areas of the campus. A strong supporter of person-directed care, Stacey feels that it is important to ensure team members understand that we are guests in our residents’ homes and that the art of compromise is necessary to find the balance between regulatory demands and the needs of the person. Stacey is pursuing an MSN in Nursing Education. Her goal is to assist others in the learning process, meeting them where they are at in their journey. She hopes to help long-term care build stronger relationships with local community colleges and to attract students to work in the long-term care field.

Note: The awards and scholarships above were previously awarded by our sister organization, the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordination.