UMMC's top nurse leader sets stellar patient care example
Published on Monday, December 7, 2020
By: Ruth Cummins, email@example.com
When the going gets rough, Kaye Flanagin leans in.
“Anyone in a leadership role has a challenge, but I like a challenge,” said Flanagin, nurse manager for the nursing service office and the nurse resource team at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Her tenacity, especially during a pandemic, is just one reason why Flanagin received the Medical Center’s 2020 DAISY Nurse Leader Award, which recognizes exemplary nurses as part of the national DAISY program. Established in 2000 by members of the family of the late Patrick Barnes, the California-based DAISY Foundation presents DAISY Awards to the unsung heroes of the profession.
Winners are nominated by anyone in their organization, plus patients or patient family members. About 1,700 health care facilities in all 50 states and in 11 other countries honor their nurses with the DAISY Award. The DAISY Committee at UMMC reviews nominations every two months and selects up to two winners each cycle who meet the criteria for going over and beyond the expectations of a nurse.
Beginning with last year’s inaugural winner, 4 Wiser nurse manager LeAnn Harcharik, the DAISY Nurse Leader Award will be presented annually so that nurses who make a difference in a leadership role can be recognized, said Patrice Donald, manager of clinical recruitment and retention in the Office of Nursing Quality and Development, which sponsors the local DAISY program.
Flanagin manages what’s better known as the adult nursing float pool. She assigns 100-plus employees, 70 of them nurses, to various areas of the medical-surgical floors in addition to the ICU Tower. “It’s kind of like herding squirrels,” she said. “This team covers call-ins and staffs the units that have critical staffing needs because of vacancies or employees out on leave.”
Her employees run the gamut from full-time to as needed. Nurses are assigned to areas in which their level of expertise lies.
“I’m responsible for making sure we have enough resources to cover other units that have less resources,” Flanagin said. That includes ancillary and office staffing.
Being a leader during COVID-19 is certainly a challenge, Flanagin said, but how to respond to it mirrors what she’d do in better times.
“In any situation, whether pandemic or not, being a leader is leading by example and being fair and consistent,” she said. “We have to hold each other accountable for great patient care, pandemic or not.”
Flanagin and her fellow nominees were honored Dec. 3 at a scaled-down, virtual campus ceremony.
“I am positive that any one of them are 100 percent deserving,” Harcharik said of the nominees. “Each one of them has great leadership abilities and a uniqueness that no one else has.
“I challenge you to continue to make a difference,” she said. “We are in trying times, and we need each other now more than ever.”
Flanagin began her tenure at UMMC in 1992 after graduating from the University of Mississippi School of Nursing. She left 13 years later for a nursing job that met her need at the time for family friendly hours, but returned to the Medical Center a decade later. “The minute I came back over here, I was home again,” she said.
Daughter Rebecca Rainey, 24, works for the UMMC pediatric float pool.
Just like Flanagin, UMMC’s nurses roll with the situation they face each workday, said Britt Crewse, chief executive officer of the Adult Hospitals.
“When I think of the team I see in front of me, I think of situational leadership,” he told the honorees. “You have to adapt to any situation – to patients, to visitors, to the situation in front of you. You have to weigh the variables.
“You are flexible, and I appreciate that more than anything. Thank you for what you do, every day, for our patients. Without the people in this room, we wouldn’t be a hospital.”
Flanagin is one of 23 nominees for this year’s award. The others: Alice Chaney Herndon, nurse manager, Mother-Baby Unit; Amanda Laura, nurse manager, University Physicians and Merit Madison; Amy Taylor, nurse educator, medical ICU; Andrew Jordan, nurse manager, post-anesthesia care unit; Anita Vanderford, associate director, ambulatory operations, Children’s Cancer Center; Ashley Moore, nurse manager, MICU; Becky Harrison, nurse educator, Newborn Center; Brandy Wilson, nurse manager, 2C and 4C; Brittany Adams, nurse educator, 2C: Calvin Ramsey, charge nurse, 3N;
Keith Hodges, clinical intelligence manager, Center for Informatics and Analytics; Kesha Prystupa, nurse manager, Pediatric Emergency Department; Kim Barrier, quality educator, Children’s Hospital; Kristin Kappler, director of quality and clinical support services, Children’s Hospital; Mary Lee Rodgers, nurse manager, ISC; Nikki Cohran, nurse manager, 3C and 5C; Nital Parrish, nurse manager, 2 Wiser; Shelly Craft, nurse manager, pediatric ICU; Sonja Huntley, nurse educator, Mother-Baby Unit; Tara McBride, nurse manager, NICU; Thomas Griffith, shift supervisor, pediatric ED; and Yolanda Moore, nurse manager, Women’s Urgent Care.