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Patricia Quillen Presented with Southeastern Colorado AHEC Luminary Award

PCHC Nurse wearing a white lab coat

(August 31, 2020, Pueblo, CO) – A total of 21 nurses from southeastern Colorado were recognized for their extraordinary work and achievement in their field at the Southeastern Colorado Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Virtual Nightingale Nurse Recognition Event. Six nominees were presented the Southeastern Colorado AHEC Luminary Award and will go on to participate in the Colorado Nurses Foundation Virtual Nightingale Awards Gala on October 10, 2020.

Since the award program was initiated in 1986, more than 250 southeastern Colorado nurses have been nominated for the Southeastern Colorado AHEC Nurse Recognition Event. Nurses are nominated from the Southeastern Colorado AHEC 16-county region, Baca, Bent, Chaffee, Cheyenne, Crowley, Custer, Fremont, Huerfano, Kiowa, Lake, Las Animas, Otero, Park, Prowers, Pueblo, and Teller counties.

Patricia Quillen (Pueblo Community Health Center)

2020 is designated by WHO as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife and we would like to recognize a nurse midwife for her contributions. Pat has served as an advocate and role model for nurse midwives in Pueblo since late 1990’s when she was one of only 2. There are now 9 practicing here. Pat provides prenatal, natal and postnatal care to women seeking a non-medical approach to pregnancy and to those who might be dealing with financial constraints. She has delivered over 3000 babies and ascribes to the model’s philosophy to empower women and to engage them in their care. Women now have a choice of either traditional or midwifery care and a choice of which midwife best suits them, a model of care that is likely to grow as women become more aware of their birthing options. Pat’s promulgation of the nurse-midwife model demonstrates her advocacy for women babies and better outcomes.

Patricia Blanc (Parkview Medical Center)

When leadership and new hires at Parkview Medical Center both agreed that the “onboarding process” for new nursing hires needed to be revamped top to bottom, Patricia researched and developed a new hire education process based on the Benner theory of Novice to Expert. New hire skills labs were increased and monthly continuing education classes were instituted, pre and post evaluation tools were created, hands on time was monitored and mentors now stay in regular contact with the new hires. Positive outcomes included reduced staff turnover, increased leadership satisfaction with new hire nursing skills and increased confidence among new hires and patients that benefit from better nursing care. One might think that educating new hires is all work, but Patricia has come up with games modeled after Jeopardy and others that keep the students engaged.

Mary Nicks (Pueblo Community College)

Nurse Educator “extraordinaire”! Known as the nurse that student nurses follow, Mary serves as chair of nursing for multiple degree programs on campuses in Pueblo, Mancos and Fremont Counties. An accomplished nursing practitioner, Mary is a strong advocate for evidenced-based, best practice and she upholds the high standards and rigorous dedication that nursing demands. She brings this passion to her dealings with students, faculty and colleagues alike. Her goal is to graduate the best possible nurses who will deliver the best possible care. She says that the best thing is the morning after students take their state board examination and text her to say “I passed.” She has devoted he life to nursing education in Southern Colorado.

Judy Solano (Parkview Medical Center)

The pain and suffering that she saw in addicted populations led Judy to create the Southern Colorado Harm Reduction Association as a safe entry point for the substance addicted into a caring environment and a place that funnels them to treatment and other resources that will enable them to achieve wellness and to function in society. She works tirelessly to establish partnerships with social, law enforcement, health care and other organizations to create a network of multidisciplinary service providers dedicated to providing a broad range of health social and psychological services to those afflicted with addictions. Her efforts have resulted in the evolution of numerous programs, treatments and trainings to organizations and individuals throughout Southern Colorado.

Tiffany Maldonado (Parkview Medical Center)

Using input from a statewide network of experts created an “Inpatient stroke alert process” that improves patient safety and established a uniform neurological response protocol for patients exhibiting signs of stroke. All hospital staff received education in the symptoms and signs of impending stroke, types of treatment and when to call an impending stroke alert. The neurological intensive care nurses received training in how to respond to a stroke alert and the appropriate medications and treatments. The process resulted in a nearly 50 % reduction in unnecessary stroke alerts, fewer missed diagnoses, reduced diagnostic and treatment response time and improved patient outcomes. A true example of innovative thinking and ideas.

Olga V. Ramirez (Kindred At Home- Pueblo)

Care and compassion – words that describe who Olga is. She has opened her heart to those she sees as most in need and has created a “pantry” of health care, ostomy, wound care, and DME in her home. She has created a donation program – people give her unused supplies and she gives the supplies to patients in need. She sees giving these items away as a method to provide care and improve health to those without the resources to purchase them. She sees her efforts as having improved patient outcomes, decreased hospital admissions, and more positive environments for her patients and peers.

About PCHC

Pueblo Community Health Center’s mission has been the same since 1983: To provide primary health care to those in need. In 2021, over 22,000 patients received care at a PCHC facility. To learn more about PCHC and its Foundation, please visit and like or follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


Sommer Street, Director of Communications
Pueblo Community Health Center
(719) 543-8718 x 316