(Aug. 7, 2020) – 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 have been nominated for this award because they routinely go above and beyond the call of duty.
Loretta Fitzgerald, RN, has been at Holton Community Hospital for 13 out of the 16 years she's worked in health care. She currently serves as safety officer, infection control, as well as employee health nurse, and is involved in regional and national efforts for her various roles. She demonstrates the ability to perform her duties with compassion, thoughtfulness and dedication. She has the adaptability to lead all levels of employees through rapid changes to ensure the safety of employees and the community. Loretta is deeply respected, valued and trusted by all within HCH. She is innovative, creative and is seen as a resource for community members, as well as hospital staff.
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Loretta developed a strong relationship with local public health authorities while participating regularly in community drills and local emergency management planning. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Loretta led the HCH health care team in setting up COVID-19 testing in a safe and private manner. Patients and visitors have and continue to be screened to make certain those at risk are managed safely while they receive care. She implemented a screening process for employees and monitored those who were quarantined. She also worked to set up intubation and triage rooms for ER patients. Once hospital restrictions were eased, Loretta oversaw the process of resuming surgical services, spending entire days in the surgery department monitoring staff to ensure personal protective equipment was used appropriately and with no breaches. She also has spent countless hours coming in early to meet with night shift nursing staff to ensure they have the information they need. Hospital CEO Carrie Saia stated, "I cannot imagine going through the last few months of this pandemic without Loretta in her role."
In addition to the strong relationship built with public health officials and her significant commitment to all, Loretta has benefited HCH through her representation in the community. Loretta has a strong passion for diversity and ensuring all community members have their needs met. For years, she's coached volleyball for local schools and has coordinated a sit and ski event for children with disabilities. Loretta is deeply valued by the entire community!
Loretta will be recognized with other Health Care Worker of the Year nominees during the KHA Virtual Convention, Oct. 21-23. The winners also will be recognized at their hospitals.