(July 16, 2021) – KHA's Health Care Worker of the Year Award highlights hospital employees who have made a significant contribution to the betterment of their hospital. These individuals are nominated for this award because they routinely go above and beyond the call of duty.
Call it intuition or instinct, Jo Neill, a nurse for Coffey County Hospital in Burlington, possesses it all. Jo, an infusion therapy/infection control/employee health nurse, has been in health care for 43 years. Her patients have averted life-threatening issues because of her careful examinations. And most recently, CCH navigated the murky waters of the pandemic because of her thoughtful planning and communication.
When COVID-19 felt far removed from the Kansas borders, Jo prepared CCH for its inevitable arrival. She took 24-hour call rotations and became a public face for CCH, educating staff, patients and the community on infection precautions and guidelines. The safety of her colleagues and community became her focus and mission. As one CCH colleague summarized, "Jo Neill carried Coffey County Hospital on her back for a year."
Jo looks at and listens to patients, trusting her instincts when she senses something wrong. She correctly identified something amiss with a pregnant patient who was visiting for an unrelated matter. The patient appeared flush and registered high blood pressure. The patient was confirmed to be in pre-eclampsia, and tragedy was averted because Jo knew what to look for. When starting IV therapy with one of her regular infusion patients, she knew something wasn't right. They went to the ER and discovered he was septic. It's this attention to detail, which she calls "always looking and listening" that led to the effective treatment of these patients.
Jo has created a legacy of care. She has been nominated for Coffey Health System Health Care Worker of the Year multiple times because she has trained and educated generations of caregivers. She has donated her time and time skills to aid in disaster relief areas. Jo's compassion for her patients and commitment to her community is astounding. Her ability to "look and listen" has touched countless lives and set a high bar for professionals following in her footsteps.
The Kansas Hospital Association congratulates Jo on her nomination and thanks her for the contribution she makes to CCH. Jo will be recognized, along with other Health Care Worker of the Year nominees, during the KHA Awards Luncheon at the 2021 KHA Annual Convention, Thursday, Sept. 9, at the Hyatt Regency Wichita/Century II Convention Center in Wichita.