Lantern Award Earned by USC-VHH Nurses

By Julia KOHUT

After all of the challenges and trials over the last several years, the Emergency Dept. nurses at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital were recently honored for their hard work with the Lantern Award. According to its website, the ENA (Emergency Nurses Assn.) Lantern Award recognizes emergency departments that demonstrate exceptional and innovative performance in leadership, practice, education, advocacy and research. This is the second consecutive time that the nurses of USC-VHH have received this award.

Much of the recognition was in response to efforts at USC-VHH by Jessica Thomas who, in 2018, was the clinical director of the Emergency Dept. She started the push to create an environment that prioritizes the innovation of emergency care as well as recognizing the team that helps make it happen. An example of these efforts is the care taken to keep a sterile environment. All rooms are negatively pressurized to ensure the air remains clean. Many of the ER nurses have also obtained their Certification for Emergency Nursing (CEN) and their Certification for Pediatric Emergency Nurse Specialization (CPEN).

The Emergency Dept.’s new clinical director is Raffi Boghossian and he continues Thomas’ efforts, as does the Emergency Dept.’s business operations manager Shannon Slater. Since 2018, USC-VHH has taken a proactive approach when patients first come into the hospital. For example, the staff works to make sure no one gets delayed unnecessarily in the waiting room. The hospital has several protocols in place that allow nurses, based on their training, to start the process of immediately overseeing the needs of a patient.

         Verdugo Hills Hospital doesn’t just look out for its patients, though; it also keeps watch over its team as well.

One of the nurses at USC-VHH is Emanouel Khodadadi who said that working there is “almost like being part of a family.” Whether it is offering counseling, providing food or bringing in help from different parts of the United States, the hospital supports its workers and the medical professionals serving the community.

Khodadadi has been in the medical field since 1998, and a registered nurse since 2010. He said since he started at USC-VHH in 2017, he has been able to work in and help the same community where he grew up. He said that he is “very fortunate to work in a place that is looking for innovative ways to change emergency medicine.”

With the efforts started by Thomas then continued by Boghossian and the rest of the team, they are able to “make sure people are people, not numbers.”

         Verdugo Hills Hospital has seen an influx in its daily patient count. Many of its patients have also not been into the facility since the beginning of 2020, putting hospital staff in a “catch up mode” in the wake of COVID-19. Despite this, the nurses and other medical professionals have been keeping up with the demand, providing necessary care for the community.