Three nurses at Memorial Regional Health nominated for prestigious Nightingale Award |

Three nurses at Memorial Regional Health nominated for prestigious Nightingale Award

Thanks to their standout work in the medical field, three Memorial Regional Health nurses earned Nightingale Award nominations.

Noreen Kearney Beckett MSN, RN; David Higgins RN, CEN, TCRN; and Annette Saylor ASN, RN, CRNFA, CNOR all earned nominations for the prestigious Nightingale Award. Beckett will head to the state level to compete for one of the six awards handed out by region.

The Nightingale Awards event was founded in 1985 to honor nurses who best exemplify the philosophy and practice of Florence Nightingale, a 19th century nursing pioneer, who epitomized the art of helping people toward their optimal health.

Registered nurses throughout the state are nominated in the fall of each year by solicitation from seven regions throughout the state (Central, Southeast, Southwest, San Luis Valley, Western, Centennial, Colorado Springs).  Each region hosts a local event for nominees in their area where six finalists (or Luminaries) are recognized.  Luminaries are then sent to the State Selection Committee for consideration for receipt of a Nightingale Award.  Six Nightingale Award Winners (state level) will be selected.

The Luminaries (regional level) and Nightingale Award winners (state level) will be from one of each of the following six categories/areas of recognition:

Category I: Nurses in Clinical Practice

  • Leadership
  • Advocacy
  • Innovation

Category II:  Administrators, Educators, Researchers, and Non-Traditional Practice Roles

  • Leadership
  • Advocacy
  • Innovation

While the Nightingale Awards ceremony was canceled due to the novel coronavirus, the local nurses deserve the recognition for their hard work in the medical field.


Beckett was nominated for the Nurse Administrator, Educator, Researcher, and/or nontraditional nurse practice – advocacy category.

Beckett is described as an advocate in nursing to the highest degree.  In addition to her work at Memorial Regional Health, Beckett is active in the community by leading the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program for Moffat County and is an active participant in the Moffat County Open Heart Advocates advocacy program, a free and confidential service for victims of crime, sexual assault and domestic violence.

Courtesy Photo

Additionally, her nursing experience and heart for the community led her to take a role in advocacy for teens.  Moffat County has the seventh-highest rate of teen pregnancy in Colorado.  Therefore, an inter-agency group was formed to assess and implement programs to make a difference.  Beckett leveraged her knowledge, leadership and community rapport to successfully launch the “Reducing the Risk” program.  Despite initial setbacks, Noreen was able to creatively recruit students to participate in the program during their lunch hour.  A group of 21 freshman signed up to attend.

As the 16-week course progressed, it was clear that the students were retaining what they learned and were more open about discussing topics around sex.  They learned to have an appreciation for their bodies and health, how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, and how to access health care resources in the community.  Beckett has made a palpable impression on the lives of these young people.


Higgins was nominated for the Nurse in Clinical Practice – Leadership category.

With his 24 years of experience, versatility, and work ethic, Higgins is known as an exemplary of his organization’s values among staff and patients alike.  He has succeeded in a myriad of roles, including interim manager and manager of the Emergency Department. 

Courtesy Photo

Higgins assumed the implicit leadership position for the Emergency Department staff at MRH during the rollout of the EPIC EMR in mid-2019, which was to improve staff coordination, billing procedures, and patient outcomes. 

While no switch of that magnitude can be seamless, Higgins guided the emergency team with unity, thus fostering a collective appreciation of how a consolidated EMR system can benefit all emergency and trauma patients. 

In a time of great uncertainty for frontier and rural America’s medical industry, MRH’s emergency department is excelling.  Patient outcomes continue to meet or exceed expectations due to Higgins’ leadership, according to MRH leadership, which has proven instrumental in furthering MRH’s emergency department team through such a challenging transition. 

His development of processes and workflows have influenced the organization’s ability to avoid system breakdowns, thus improving patient safety.


Saylor was nominated in the Nurse as Administrator, Educator, Researcher, and/or nontraditional nurse practice – leadership category.

Saylor has 25 years of nurse management experience, and extensive background in Electronic Medical Records, having published several articles in Outpatient Surgery Magazine, national conference speaking engagements, and receiving a leadership award on surgical information systems.

Craig Press File

The teams at MRH received support and direction during the adoption of a new electronic medical record transition in 2019.  Under Saylor’s leadership, MRH transitioned to EPIC aligning patient records. 

The transition to EPIC let MRH consolidate its different EMR systems for different services to ultimately improve patient outcomes.

“We couldn’t be more proud of the leadership and dedication that these nurses have for MRH,” said Amy Peck, Chief Nursing Officer at MRH. “They truly make MRH a better place.”

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