Exceptional Nurses, Compassionate Care

July 01, 2012 | Melody Ayers

Living out Adventist Health's mission of sharing God's love through physical, mental and spiritual healing is a commitment that all hospital staff at Tillamook (Ore.) County General Hospital (TCGH) are charged with fulfilling. Because of the nature of their service, nurses are often the face of that mission to patients and their families.

Nurse Director Honored for Lifetime of Service

Estrella "Teya" Pillar, director of TCGH's obstetrics and surgical services departments, was recently honored with the Distinguished Career Award by the Northwest Organization of Nurse Executives.

As a forward-thinking nurse since 1969 and a TCGH employee since 1997, Pillar has blazed many trails toward excellence in patient care and safety. She was a member of the design teams for the electronic medical records programs implemented at TCGH and throughout Adventist Health. Through her participation with the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses, she helped develop the nationally recognized "time out" process that ensures the correct patient is about to undergo the correct procedure on the correct site.

Under her leadership, TCGH's surgical and obstetrics departments have maintained high-quality scores in key measurement areas. Pillar has also encouraged many colleagues to pursue advanced degrees and specialty certifications. This has resulted in higher levels of patient care as well as enhanced employee satisfaction.

"For me, nursing is a calling. My focus is always on the patient and their family who are looking to me for love, care and guidance," shares Pillar. "Nurses need to always seek the way of the Lord, to stay committed to this calling and to keep our hearts in the right place."

Pillar, who is known around the hospital as a "praying nurse," plans to retire in November and will be missed.

Transforming Care at the Bedside

Front-line nursing staff at TCGH are directly involved in an innovative, nationwide quality project, Aligning Forces for Quality Transforming Care at the Bedside (TCAB). The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Healthcare Systems has brought together several hospital teams from across Oregon to implement improvements in the quality and safety of patient care.

Nurses at patient bedsides often see ways in which they can help improve their patients' experiences as well as safety. Through the TCAB initiative, nurses are the ones to identify an issue and try solutions in small pilot projects to see the results. Successful projects are then replicated throughout the unit, across the hospital and to other hospitals in Oregon and the Adventist Health system.

Community Partnerships for Nursing

Since 1999, TCGH has partnered with Tillamook Bay Community College and Clatsop Community College to provide the clinical experience portion of the curriculum for 10 to 14 of the nursing program students annually. More than 30 Tillamook County graduates have become registered nurses through this program. A number of these graduates have continued to live in Tillamook County and are valued members of the nursing team at TCGH.