RUMFORD – The Central Maine Medical Family has developed a new program – GEMS – to recognize clinical staff, including nurses and respiratory therapists, for excellence in five areas: clinical excellence, customer service, education and research, leadership and community service. The ultimate goal of the program is to demonstrate commitment to excellence in patient care throughout the system.

GEMS stands for Growth, Enthusiasm, Motivation and Spirit. GEMS recognizes staff at three levels of achievement: Sapphire, Ruby and Diamond. In order to keep standards high, staff members are awarded GEMS status for two years, after which they must re-apply for their current level or a higher level.

Managers and other administrators are not eligible for the program. The initial program is limited to respiratory therapists and nurses, but other specialties are expected to develop their own programs, based on this model.

Staff members apply to the GEMS program by meeting a required number criteria and submitting proof of certifications, education and leadership, as well as their managers’ co-signature on special forms.

At each hospital, Bridgton Hospital, Central Maine Medical Center and Rumford Hospital, an interdisciplinary review committee comprised of both clinical and non-clinical people was established to review the applications, making certain the staff members met all the criteria.

The staff members were selected for GEMS in this first round of what will become biannual call for applications.

Kim Akers, RN, has been named to the Ruby level. A Rumford Hospital nurse since 1996, Akers has been a preceptor, training new nurses, in the maternity and day surgery units.

Although she works primarily in day surgery now, she has maintained her neonatal resuscitation certification and frequently fills in the Special Delivery Family Birthing Center. Akers is also certified in basic life support, pediatric advanced life support and advanced cardiovascular life support. She is involved in the Relay For Life and has been a childbirth educator at Rumford Hospital.

Marie Charleston, RN, who has been a registered nurse at Rumford Hospital for 24 years, has attained the Ruby level.

She is the unit co-coordinator for day surgery and the post-anesthesia care unit. She is certified in advanced cardiac life support. In 1995 she was selected to start up the diabetes education program at Rumford Hospital, and she managed the program for three years.

She is a member of the National Association of Operating Room Nurses and was a voting delegate to its 2004 convention. Charleston goes into the Virginia School annually to educate fourth-graders about diabetes, and she has been involved in the local Diabetes Initiative Project with older students.

Karen Cole, RN, CEN, unit coordinator of the Rumford Hospital Emergency Department, has been designated at Diamond level. Certified in emergency nursing, she has worked at the hospital for 22 years.

She is certified in pediatric advanced life support, basic life support and advanced cardiac life support. She has taught courses for Med-Care ambulance service on such subjects as obstetrical emergencies, dialysis shunts and new drugs. She recently joined the board of Tri-County EMS. In the community, Cole has been an active 4-H leader for 15 years.

Michelle Gilbert, RNC, is a certified obstetrical nurse, who has attained the Diamond level. She has been a preceptor for 16 of the more than 19 years she has worked at Rumford Hospital. Her first preceptee was Joette Carlton, who is now the Birthing Center nurse manager.

Gilbert is certified in advanced life support in obstetrics and advanced cardiac life support. She has also completed studies in basic arrhythmia and perinatal practice. Gilbert is Rumford Hospital’s instructor in neo-natal resuscitation. She has been active with Mountain Valley High School sports programs and with Rumford area dance recitals, supporting her children’s activities.

Sylvia Goodman, RN, a nurse for 34 years, has attained the Diamond level. With Rumford Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for 13 years, she is also a CPR and basic life support instructor and is certified in advanced cardiac life support.

She has been a preceptor for nursing students from the Central Maine Medical Center School of Nursing and has done many in-services for her fellow nurses at Rumford. Goodman is also a Trauma Nursing Core Course instructor and one of the hospital’s two liaisons for tissue and organ donation.

Deborah Gorham, RN, Rumford Hospital’s cardiac rehabilitation nurse, has been awarded the Diamond level. She has spent 24 of her total 30 years of nursing at Rumford Hospital.

Gorham developed the cardiac rehabilitation program, Life Strides, and has led the program since its inception in 2000. She was named Maine’s Cardiac Nurse of the Year in 2003 by the American Heart Association and has been an active member of that association’s Maine 2005 Scientific Session’s Planning Committee over the past year.

Gorham is active with her daughter’s Girl Scout troop, assisting them with health-related badges and camping trips. She is a member of the Development and Public Relations Committee of St. Anthanasius St. John School and is a past president and current board member of the River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition.

Wendy Hebert, BSN, Diamond level, is the clinical coordinator of the Special Delivery Family Birthing Center at Rumford Hospital. She is also cross-trained to work in the Emergency and Intensive Care units and as a relief nursing supervisor.

She developed and instituted the pre-natal visit program, which brings pregnant women into the Birthing Center to become acquainted with the staff and to help the nurses assess the family’s needs.

Hebert has provided many staff in service trainings, taught pre-natal classes and done emergency medical technician training in birthing issues.

Lisa Hodgkins, OCN, oncology certified nurse, has achieved the Diamond level. A Rumford Hospital nurse for 10 years, she helped establish and is the coordinator of the hospital’s Oncology Unit, which has tripled the number of patients served since its inception in 1997.

Hodgkins developed the unit’s policies and procedures and has been a preceptor and mentor for nurses training in oncology. Prior to establishing the oncology unit, she worked in the medical/surgical unit, as an infection control nurse and as a diabetes educator.

Heather Kellogg, RN, has been awarded the Ruby level. A nurse at Rumford Hospital for more than seven years, she has worked on med/surg, in the ER and in the operating room.

Although her primary schedule is with the OR, she continues to cover emergencies and shifts in the ER. She recently completed her first preceptorship with a nursing student and is working toward a certificate in perioperative nursing.

Kellogg is involved in the March of Dimes WalkAmerica and organized and co-taught a community course in ATV safety.

Pamela Poisson, RN, CEN, a Diamond, has 24 years of nursing experience and has worked in Rumford Hospital’s Emergency Department since 1997.

She is a certified emergency nurse through the national Emergency Nurses Association, of which she is a member. She is chairwoman of Maine ENA’s Governmental Affairs Committee.

Poisson is a certified pediatric advanced life support provider and an advanced burn life support provider. Poisson is the only Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner at Rumford Hospital and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to examine sexual assault cases.

She has preceptored nurses and emergency medical technicians in the ER. She works with community relations to exhibit at the annual Health Expo at the Auburn Mall. Poisson is a member of the Elks Emblem Club, the American Legion Auxiliary and the World War I Auxiliary in Farmington, where she lives.

Timia Seager, RN, a Rumford Hospital Emergency Department nurse for two and a half years, has been named to the Sapphire level. She is certified in pediatric advanced life support, basic life support and advanced cardiac life support. She has recently been a preceptor to nurses training in the Emergency Department and is an instructor in the Trauma Nursing Core Course.

In addition to the 11 nurses, 22 staff members were awarded GEMS certification at CMMC and a nurse and a respiratory therapist were honored at Bridgton Hospital.


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