Congratulations, Marnetta Fortner, RN 2017 Mercy Award Winner!

May 19, 2017

The 2017 LifePoint Health Mercy Award was given to Marnetta Fortner, RN, Clinical Resource Manager for the nightshift staff in the ICU. We all work alongside people that are selfless in their passion that goes far beyond their day-to-day job. Marnetta is one of those selfless team members that delivers high quality patient care and takes a leadership role in our community by reaching out to those who are most in need.

Chassidy Bibb, RN, director of critical care services nominated Marnetta because of the impressions she makes on patients, team members and the community.

Chassidy wrote about Marnetta:

Marnetta is also commonly known as “Momma Marnetta” by the nightshift staff in ICU. Her sweet voice and mannerisms deliver the toughest messages in a softer way for patients, families and staff. She maintains a calm demeanor which serves to keep the pulse of the unit “within normal limits” when things get stressed. Marnetta is able to look at a complex and potentially high stakes situation and break it down into manageable parts, giving that info to staff as they are able to receive it with the right messaging at the right time. She can come up with a plan independently and follow through with it, using creativity and finesse. This is never more true than when she deals with staffing and patient assignments, balancing both productivity and patient safety adeptly on a regular basis.

The first reason why I am nominating Marnetta is because of the impression she makes on patients. Although she is in a charge nurse role and rarely takes a patient team herself, her impact is still felt on the patients she interacts with. Recently a patient’s family loved her so much that they sought her out after the patient “stepped down” to the floor. Understandably sometimes the transition to the floor is difficult for ICU patients when they have been afforded a higher level of care. Marnetta physically went and checked on her patient to ensure he was receiving the care he needed and managed the floor nurses up to the family. The family subsequently sent flowers to Marnetta, thanking her for the excellent care she helped to facilitate and her role in the patient’s recovery.

The second reason, is her sweet spirit. Working in the ICU is hard. It is demoralizing at times and emotionally drains you. Other times the nurses are challenged, stretched to the limit and get to be a tiny part of amazing outcomes for patients and families. Whether good or bad, all of that comes at a price to the bedside nurse, as she may give and give of herself and experience little return, sometimes resulting in burnout and dissatisfaction. Marnetta has worked in the ICU for many years. She has experienced the good and the bad, but although she may be changed for it, her spirit is still sweet and compassionate. Although some nurses in her position are “hardened” by their experiences, she is not. Marnetta is flexible and open to change. She expresses her concerns diplomatically and in a professional manner. While some may experience her sweet exterior and believe she could be a pushover, she has a spine of steel and will advocate for what’s in her patient’s best interest at any given time. Her ethical sensibility and her compassion guides her and it rarely steers her wrong.

Marnetta’s commitment to making the community healthier was recently witnessed as she spearheaded a unit based practice council (UBPC) driven project to make care packages for the homeless. Oftentimes our UBPC projects and initiatives focus on our work as nurses and how to streamline that—how to make it easier or better, always keeping in mind improving patient outcomes. This project was unique in that it was not focused on nursing practice, but on the health of our community, which includes a large homeless population. Marnetta recognized that we have a large homeless population surrounding our hospital, literally behind and adjacent to our campus. Marnetta set her sights on creating small care packages using gallon Ziploc bags for this vulnerable population. The care packages contained toiletries, easily portable snacks and clean socks and underwear. Staff members on the nursing unit were asked to donate towards these care packages, bringing in small items. Maybe most notably, when it was time to disperse the care packages, Marnetta took them and volunteered her own time independently to hand them out. We all got a good laugh at her describing herself chasing one homeless man down the street to give him a care package. But in all seriousness, Marnetta embodies what it means to help create healthy communities by both representing what the spirit of nursing means and by living that example out in her own life.

Marnetta drives patient-centered care and works with the UBPC in Critical Care to help quality initiatives  improving care within the ICU, TCU and the organization. For example, recently she helped with creating end of life care signage to post on the doors of patients in the active dying process. As a result, that signage will be utilized throughout the hospital so that people approaching a room will understand and recognize that a patient is dying. This will ensure the patient and family are afforded the peace and dignity they deserve during the dying process.

Marnetta is also instrumental in the UBPC newsletter, she collects articles and submissions and formats them with pictures, events and photos and publishes it monthly to the unit. This is all done on her own time without complaint or requests for compensation. The initiatives driven in the UBPC promote quality patient-centered care and without the newsletter as a communication tool, many of those initiatives would not get “off the ground.”

In her role as CRN Marnetta leads briefs, debriefs and huddles on the nursing unit. She discusses challenges and concerns with each patient’s nurse each shift and gives a complete handoff to the oncoming CRN regarding the unit acuity, climate, staffing and other concerns. Marnetta audits bedside shift reports (BSSR) by nurses, “grading” those nurses on their proficiency level with bedside shift report and providing coaching as needed. BSSR is shown to be a patient and family satisfier as well as a quality driver, since the BSSR serves as a “double check” for many clinical items during handoff.

Marnetta serves as a Clinical Resource Nurse (CRN), an expert if you will-- for situations which need to be evaluated by a critical care prepared nurse, including, but not limited to: codes out on the medical-surgical floors, evaluation of patients with symptoms of decline and initiation and management of complex protocols and treatments. She also helps serve as a clinical resource for our own critical care staff, making staffing decisions based on patient census, acuity and productivity matrices. She is a wealth of clinical knowledge, sharing that with newer nurses in a non-judgmental manner, which makes it a non-threatening learning environment. All of these activities drive patient outcomes and quality care. Without nurses like Marnetta in these leadership roles, we would not be as successful at achievement of our mission and goals.

Marnetta inspires her colleagues by her commitment to her chosen profession. She is consistent, firm and fair with staff. She inspires her colleagues by her professional behavior, by her actions and her words. She inspires her colleagues with her work ethic, spending countless hours on projects and initiatives that are important to her on her own time. She inspires her colleagues by being a servant leader. She helps peer interview nurse candidates as they interview for critical care, carefully evaluating and matching both their goals and the unit needs to ensure that the nurses we hire are a good organizational fit. Lastly, she inspires her colleagues by being a champion for patients, for ensuring that they receive high quality, consistent, evidence based care in the ICU setting no matter what time of day or night they enter our doors.

In August, Marnetta will be recognized in Nashville along with the other LifePoint Health hospital Mercy Award winners. Her nomination will be considered along with the other 72 LifePoint Hospitals and she has a chance to win the companywide Mercy Award.

About the Mercy Award

The Mercy Award is named after LifePoint Health’s founding Chairman and CEO, Scott Mercy. It recognizes one employee from each LifePoint Health facility who best exemplifies the spirit and values upon which the company was founded. It is the highest honor a LifePoint Health employee can receive. The award is given to employees who:

Consistently goes beyond the call of duty in serving patients and the community

• Demonstrates a level of commitment and caring that transcends the everyday

• Respects others in everything they do, and            

• Inspires others with compassion, dedication and a merciful spirit