Stroke Care Staff Receives ‘Teams We Treasure’ Honor

When Unit 5-5 closed last February for remodeling, the team of 45 employees who take care of stroke patients was dispersed to multiple units throughout Memorial Hospital Central.

Though most stroke patients were cared for on Unit 7-5, there were days when stroke patients were being cared for throughout the hospital. Despite the challenges of matching a stroke patient with a nurse with expertise in caring for stroke patients, the team maintained its core-measure scores, an indicator of patient quality and safety. The staff was challenged to develop new skills and to adapt to varying work-flow processes.

Thus, the team from 5-5 has been honored with the ‘Teams We Treasure” Award from UCHealth. The team received a treasure chest full of goodies – high-end treats, superhero cups, scarves and bath and body products.

Teams We Treasure is a new UCHealth initiative aimed at recognizing teams that improve lives. The Celebrating U program recognizes individuals for their extraordinary contributions to UCHealth.

Laurie Smith, the clinical nurse manager for the team, nominated her team for the award. In the nomination, she attributed her team’s success to “hard work, attention to detail and strong commitment to our hospital. Each member of the 5-5 team has demonstrated their ability to be flexible and adaptable through this journey, proving they are a strong and resilient team.’’

During a recent celebration, Jeff Johnson, vice president of Human Resources, encouraged the team to share their tips of success with other teams. UCHealth is remodeling more than 200 private rooms at Memorial, and the project continues until mid-2017. The project represents a $22-million investment by UCHealth.

Smith said that even though the team was dispersed throughout the hospital, the team maintained a sense of cohesiveness. Nursing leaders held frequent team meetings, inviting people through email and text messaging.

“This team is really good about word-of-mouth communication. Usually, within 12 hours, if there’s anything that is happening, everybody seems to know,’’ Smith said. “Their connection with one another is strong, and they all talk.’’

On Oct. 2, nurses and clinicians will return to a gleaming, new 5-5.

“It looks really nice up there,’’ Smith said.

Stephanie Schlenger, Stroke Program Coordinator for Memorial, congratulated the team on maintaining core-measure scores and for the teamwork their unit showed in aligning stroke patients with nurses who have expertise in stroke care.

Leaders are encouraging employees at Memorial to nominate other teams for the award. Nominations may be sent to Robin Rogers, service excellence director, at

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