Florida’s Advocate for Long Term Care
Providers and the Elders They Serve

Nurses Receive Statewide Honors for Delivering Quality Care to Seniors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 30, 2013
Contact: Kristen Knapp, APR
(850) 701-3530 or kknapp@fhca.org

Florida Health Care Association Names its 2013 Long Term Care Excellence in Nursing Award Recipients

TALLAHASSEE, FL- On May 30, FHCA recognized its 2013 Long Term Care Excellence in Nursing Award recipients for making outstanding contributions when caring for Florida’s elderly and/or citizens with disabilities. Each individual was honored for his/her efforts to improve quality outcomes in nursing home resident care, for professional excellence and enthusiasm to promote long term care nursing as a specialty. The awards were presented during the FHCA 2013 Nurse Leadership Program at the Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach with over 200 long term care nurses and other health care professionals in attendance. Download photos of this year's award winners here. Recipients included:

• Nurse Administrator of the Year: Terry Karfonta, Morton Plant Rehabilitation Center (Belleair)
• RN of the Year: Marita Ulysse, Life Care Center of Sarasota
• LPN of the Year: David Wright, Ponce Therapy Care Center (St. Augustine)
• CNA of the Year: Latrina Clemons, Life Care Center of Sarasota

“These nurses are excellent examples of what a successful long term care nurse brings to the profession, with their unique characteristics, professionalism, dedication and expanded skill sets,” said FHCA President Scott Allen. “No other nurse practice setting has such diverse and comprehensive skills sets continually in play as that of long term care, and we are proud to recognize them as our state’s best.”

Nurse Administrator of the Year: Terry Karfonta, Morton Plant Rehabilitation Center (Belleair)
As Director of Patient Services for Morton Plant Rehabilitation Center, Karfonta oversees the clinical operations for the 120-bed skilled nursing facility. She supervises more than 140 team members, monitors care delivery and regulatory compliance and promotes ongoing quality improvement efforts.  Her leadership has helped the facility continue to see measurable improvements in patient outcomes, including its ability to remain restraint free and reduce patient falls, hospital readmissions and medication errors. Karfonta is a “hands-on” nursing leader with a proven track record of recruiting and retaining talented nursing staff through a positive work environment. She has consistently encouraged and mentored her staff to develop professionally, which is evidenced by the more than 60 staff members who have increased their level of professionalism and licensure under her leadership.

RN of the Year:  Marita Ulysse, Life Care Center of Sarasota
Ulysse is Lead Resident Care Specialist at Life Care Center of Sarasota, a 120-bed skilled nursing facility which holds a five star ranking from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Nursing Home Compare.  Ulysse was an integral part of the facility's achievement of the American Health Care Association's 2011 Silver National Quality Award and has assisted with its ability to meet the requirements to apply for the Gold Award over the last two years. In her role as Lead Resident Care Specialist, she oversees a department of three other MDS coordinators, whom she has trained and encouraged to reach the highest level of knowledge in their area of practice. Her supervisors recognize her for her unmatched desire and passion to excel in her area of practice in addition to the consistent support and appreciation she shows her team while holding them accountable.

LPN of the Year: David Wright, Ponce Therapy Care Center (St. Augustine)
Wright is LPN Supervisor of Ponce Therapy Care Center, a 120-bed skilled nursing facility in St. Augustine. Wright demonstrates exemplary leadership skills and commitment to long term care. He has a sincere desire to learn and often takes the knowledge and skills he gains and shares it with the facility's Certified Nursing Assistants to help enhance their skills. He is committed to the facility’s employees and is a mentor to many, known for an encouraging and positive attitude that regularly boosts employee morale.

CNA of the Year: Latrina Clemons, Life Care Center of Sarasota
Clemons is the Central Supply & CNA Staffing Coordinator at Life Care Center of Sarasota, a 120-bed skilled nursing facility which holds a five star ranking from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home Compare.  Her commitment to residents and staff is demonstrated through a spirit of mentorship, compassion and willingness to assist others. In addition to fulfilling her own responsibilities to a superior quality, Clemons is known to offer support to fellow nursing assistants, as well as other department heads, with their daily responsibilities. Clemons has been granted several promotions during her employment; yet, she continues to seek additional learning opportunities and is often the first to sign up for trainings so that she can excel in her job.

Florida Health Care Association’s Long Term Care Excellence in Nursing Awards focus on the individual contributions of a Nurse Administrator (Director of Nursing), Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse and Certified Nursing Assistant, who has each excelled in clinical practice, customer responsiveness, leadership and communication. Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants employed at FHCA member skilled nursing or assisted living facilities are eligible for these awards.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA HEALTH CARE ASSOCIATION
The Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) is a federation which serves nearly 1,000 members and represents over 500 long term care facilities that provide skilled nursing, post-acute and sub-acute care, short-term rehab, assisted living and other services to the frail elderly and individuals with disabilities in Florida. The mission of FHCA is to advance the quality of services, image, professional development and financial stability of its members. As Florida's first and largest advocacy organization for long term care providers and the elderly they serve, the Association has worked diligently since 1954 to assist its members with continuously improving quality of care and quality of life for the state’s growing elder care population. For more information about the Florida Health Care Association, visit http://www.fhca.org.

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