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For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Amanda Brasier, Self Regional
(864) 725-4218 office

Three Nurses Recognized As State's Best With Palmetto Gold Awards
Annual Scholarship Awarded To Self Regional Clinical Nurse Specialist

Palmetto Gold winners Angela Blackwell, Ivy Middleton and Sharon Walb are presented a special recognition certificate from Self Regional Healthcare President Jim Pfeiffer. 

(Greenwood, S.C., May 30, 2013) – Three of Self Regional Healthcare's registered nurses have been recognized as the best in the state with the Palmetto Gold Award for excellence in nursing, and another of Self Regional's nurses was awarded the organization's annual scholarship.

Nurse Director Angela Blackwell, MSN, RN, NEA-BC; Nurse Director Ivy Middleton, MSN, RN; and Director of Women's and Children's Services Sharon Walb, BSN, RN, RNC-OB; are among the prestigious group of 100 registered nurses designated as "golden" for exemplifying excellence in nursing practice and commitment to the profession.

There are 45,000 registered nurses in the state of South Carolina, and just 100 nurses per year receive the designation of Palmetto Gold.

The three Self Regional nurses were recognized with a special recognition ceremony in May at Self Regional's Support Services Center and presented with a token of the health system's appreciation by President & CEO Jim Pfeiffer and Nursing Director of Patient Care Services Carole Burgard.

"We have nominated some of our finest nurses for Palmetto Gold recognition for the past seven years, and are proud that this year's class of recipients puts us at 13 Palmetto Gold nurses from Self Regional," said Ms. Burgard. "We are all proud of their accomplishments and the leadership they provide this organization and the nursing community."

Since 2002, the Palmetto Gold Nurse Recognition and Scholarship Program has annually recognized registered nurses who have made significant achievements to the profession and their organizations. Proceeds from the Palmetto Gold Gala, which was held April 6 at the Columbia Convention Center, are donated to scholarships that support the Palmetto Gold Nursing Endowment.

This year's scholarship recipient, announced at the banquet, is Self Regional Clinical Nurse Specialist John Paguntalan, RN, MS, APRN-BC, CCRN-A. Mr. Paguntalan works with the Critical Care units at Self Regional Medical Center, and is working toward his PhD in Nursing.

Here is additional information about Self Regional's 2013 Palmetto Gold nurses:

Angela Blackwell
Ms. Blackwell oversees three critical care departments at Self Regional Medical Center, and was recognized for her leadership in decreasing the overall infection rate in those departments to well below the national average. She also facilitated a new Intensive Care Unit visitation policy that promotes family involvement at the bedside.

Ms. Blackwell also serves as a preceptor for the leadership students of three local nursing schools; Lander University, Clemson University, and Piedmont Technical College, and is a member of the clinical ladder program committee at Self Regional, which encourages nurses to pursue additional educational and training opportunities.

She was also the first person at Self Regional to reach the Certified Nurse Executive-Advanced level designation.

Ivy Middleton
Ms. Middleton was recognized for her leadership on behalf of Self Regional's Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Pediatric areas of the medical center. Under her direction, the NICU made improvements related to moderate sedation for pre-term infants, and began utilizing a waterless breast milk warming system. She implemented a Common Medication and Side Effect Patient Information sheet to help pediatric patients and a Pediatric Asthma Action Plan to prevent readmission of children with asthma to the hospital.

The units that Ms. Middleton supervised consistently achieved high employee satisfaction score over several years, and the NICU received the Latham Patient Satisfaction Award and a Reach for the Stars Award.

Sharon Walb
Ms. Walb has created a strong focus on improving the patient's experience, and her units have seen a dramatic increase in patient satisfaction scores, reaching the 99th percentile of Press Ganey ratings (up from the 56th percentile).

Ms. Walb is also a clinical mentor for nursing students from Lander University. She received a Silver Award from the South Carolina Breast Feeding Coalition for meeting initiatives toward a "Baby Friendly" facility and has worked with lactation consultants to increase the health system's rate of breastfeeding. She is also active with the March of Dimes, and serves as Self Regional's chairperson for the March for Babies.