Tahoe Forest Hospital crowns Nurse of the Year | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Forest Hospital crowns Nurse of the Year

“The envelope please,” a Tahoe Forest Hospital nurse loudly announced on Thursday, as the room erupted with an impromptu drum roll and a roar of applause when Nurse of the Year Kim Thomas rose from her seat to receive the gold crown and sash.

The hospital selected Thomas Nurse of the Year for her commitment and dedication to patient care at Tahoe Forest for the last 15 years.

On hand to cheer the award recipient were her daughters and husband, Chuck Thomas, an assistant fire marshal with the Truckee Fire Protection District, who hid in the back of the room to surprise Thomas.

“She’s like my hero,” said her youngest daughter, 17-year-old Erica Tassone.

Caring, kind, and outgoing were the first three words Erica used to describe her mother.

Standing at the podium with tears in her eyes and clutching a bouquet of pink roses, Thomas said she’d never encountered such outstanding nursing care until she started working at Tahoe Forest. And nurses never work alone, she said in addressing the 26 nurse nominees, some sporting their scrubs, sitting in the audience.

Thomas has worked as a clinical nurse specialist for more than six years at the hospital and also divides her time between the emergency rooms at Tahoe Forest and Incline Village Community Hospital.

She is an Advanced Cardiac Life Support instructor, has helped with the hospital’s emergency disaster preparedness program, and participates on the Nursing Practice Council. The mother of three also initiated an effort last December to promote nursing research at the hospital, she said.

“She’s always positive and active in many departments,” said fellow nurse Ginny Murnane, a former Nurse of the Year who works at Incline Village Community Hospital. “She comes over whenever we need anything.”

While many nurses experience burn-out during some part of their career, Thomas said she loves what she does for a living and credits Tahoe Forest as the most positive place she’s ever worked.

On her days off, Thomas said she manages to squeeze in time to coach girls volleyball for Club Truckee and hike, bike and travel whenever she can.

And after completing 30 years in the nursing field, she said she’s “always excited to learn and do things and see new patients.”

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