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Riverside Nurses Receive 40 Under 40 Awards from Virginia Nurses Association

October 24, 2018

Newport News, VA – Riverside Health System is pleased to announce that two of its nurses were recognized by the Virginia Nurses Association (VNA) in an annual awards series spotlighting 40 exceptional rising nursing leaders under age 40. Jessica Gourley, RN, of Riverside Regional Medical Center, received top honors by making the VNA’s 2018 “40 Under 40” awards list, while Riverside’s Mary Haigh, RN received an honorable mention.

The 40 Under 40 award winners were selected from a record number of nominees of Virginia’s outstanding young nurse leaders and were based on their achievements in professional practice, leadership, and positive promotion and advancement of the nursing profession beyond the practice setting.

“A well-respected nursing leader that has worked above and beyond her years in nursing to establish a culture of excellence and quality,” a Nurse Manager for Riverside Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Department wrote in her nomination for Gourley.

Gourley successfully implemented multiple positive action plans that boosted teamwork, patient safety and community involvement.

As part of one recent safety initiative, Gourley ordered yellow blankets to be given to patients designated as a high fall risk. This tactic, combined with a unique “banana bucks” team incentive program Gourley implemented to reward fall risk precautions and drive focus on patient safety, led to a 46 percent reduction in patient falls year over year.

In another initiative, Gourley implemented a plan to further boost efficiency and accuracy around point-of-care testing. The successful endeavor not only enhanced patient safety and satisfaction, it ultimately ended up saving the health system an estimated $24,000-$48,000 annually.

In addition to her passion for patient safety and quality, Gourley also works to promote community involvement and preparedness, engaging organizations such as the Boy Scouts to provide valuable education on responding to emergency situations.

On Mary Haigh’s award nomination, a colleague described her as “a respected and reliable nursing leader” who is “finding success through her perseverance and resilience.”

Haigh’s extensive emergency services background includes 11 years of EMS experience, and she continues to volunteer at least weekly for the Isle of Wight Volunteer Rescue Squad, where she earned the 2017 ALS Provider of the Year Award for her dedication, clinical expertise and leadership.

As the Emergency Department Nursing Educator, Haigh recently completed a total revision of the new graduate RN nursing orientation program, implementing an 18 to 20-week orientation which includes three to four weeks of RN Educator-driven intensive single patient-precepting, a week-long ED new graduate class that includes classroom and practical sessions and six shadow experiences.

Haigh has proven instrumental in her role addressing various compliance issues, having raised new-hire education compliance from 55 to 96 percent within her first year. With her EMS background and acute care clinical expertise, Haigh has proven to be a key member of Riverside’s nursing leadership team.

Gourley, Haigh and other award recipients will be recognized at the annual Virginia Nurses Foundation Gala on Sept. 22, 2018 at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa Short Pump in Richmond, Virginia.