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KH nurse receives Palmetto Gold Award

Posted: March 21, 2014 2:41 p.m.
Updated: March 24, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Gina Allen, a registered nurse in KershawHealth’s oncology department, has been named one of 100 nurses from across South Carolina to receive the 2014 Palmetto Gold Award. A coalition of nurses created the award in 2002 to showcase nursing’s valuable contributions to patient care and to support scholarships for students enrolled in South Carolina registered nurse programs.

“We are extremely proud of Gina for this outstanding accomplishment,” KershawHealth Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Gloria Keeffe, RN, said. “It is a tribute to her patient care dedication and her willingness to be a leader in our efforts to improve documentation and quality of care. Her patients and coworkers will echo just how much she deserves this award.”

Each year, more than 1,000 nurses from across the state are nominated for the award. Only those nurses who best exemplify the award’s criteria and who display characteristics that go beyond the call of duty will be selected. The four criteria recipients must exhibit are:

• Promotes and advances the profession of nursing in a positive way in the practice setting or in the community.

• Displays caring and commitment to patients, families and colleagues.

• Demonstrates leadership and assists others to grow and develop.

• Contributions made to overall outcomes in the practice area/settings.

“It is amazing to get this award,” Allen said with visible excitement. “I’m honored to be joining such a talented group of nurses -- both here at KershawHealth and across South Carolina.”

A resident of Heath Springs, Allen graduated from USC Lancaster, and began working at KershawHealth in 1998 in the Intensive Care Unit.

“The ICU was my first love,” Allen said. “It was a challenge, but you got to see people get a lot better, and that was wonderful. I was really making a difference in people’s lives. I could have stayed there forever.”

While she has worked at other hospitals along the way, Allen always maintained ties with KershawHealth, working nights or weekends as needed.

“I’ve always loved this hospital and everyone here, so it was important to me to keep my foot in the door,” she said.

By the time she started working at KershawHealth, Allen had already battled and survived Hodgkins lymphoma. While working in the ICU, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and once again endured a devastating diagnosis and stressful treatments. With such a history, although it seems only logical she would become a certified oncology nurse that path wasn’t really her plan.

“The job in oncology sort of fell into my lap. My first thought was ‘I’ve been through this and I don’t want to do it to other people,’” she said with a chuckle.

But, she admits it soon became apparent that she knew what patients were going through and what they needed better than almost anyone. Today, her goal is to help oncology patients through the process and give back the expertise, care, and compassion she received during her own treatments.

Gina has found her perfect niche, oncology manager Joan Flynn, RN, noted.

“Because of her background, Gina has a wonderful relationship with our patients. She has been a huge asset to our department,” Flynn said.

Allen joins a distinguished group of KershawHealth nurses who have received the Palmetto Gold Award in past years. They include Paula Guild (2002), Stacy Collier (2006), Becky Yarborough (2006), Gayle Breon (2008), Lee Hunter (2010) and Mary Young (2011).

The award will be presented to Allen at the annual Palmetto Gold gala on April 12 in Columbia.

(This information provided by KershawHealth.)

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