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More of the Great 100

A monthly update of 10 honorees.

Each month, ADVANCE introduces readers to 10 of the 2010 Great 100 Nurses of Dallas/Fort Worth. Be inspired by their stories and get to know the passion behind each individual's nursing career. To read more about the Great 100 Nurse program, click here, where you'll also find an audio interview with Sandi McDermott, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, president of the Dallas/Fort Worth Great 100 Nurses Inc, and a photo gallery of the 20th anniversary gala.

Dana Ermis, BSN, RN, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center
Dana Ermis worked in a customer-related field before becoming a nurse. While she enjoyed helping people, she felt something was missing. A background in microbiology, several close nursing friends and enjoyment of primetime healthcare-related television shows all contributed to her decision to become a nurse. A nurse for 5 years, Ermis now works as a staff nurse in the Methodist Mansfield emergency department. She noted the people she works with and the patients she takes care of are her inspiration. "I love being a nurse," Ermis said. "Nursing is the best career decision I ever made!"


Kathy Ford, RN, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen
A staff nurse in Texas Health Allen's Day Surgery with 30 years experience, Kathy Ford is known for her strong work ethic and compassionate care. She is a strong patient advocate who is active in community service. A servant leader, she consistently goes the extra mile to ensure an optimal workload for other staff members. Ford works hard to provide safe, quality care and to inspire her co-workers. Seeing the need for staff education on laryngospasms, she gathered information, enlisted anesthesia's help, developed an algorithm and presented the education. To her colleagues and patients, Ford exemplifies the competence, care and compassion of nursing.


Linda Fort, BSN, RN, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth
Linda Fort brings her 34 years in the nursing profession to bear as manager of medical telemetry at Texas Health Fort Worth. She was nominated to be a Great 100 Nurse because of her dedication, compassion and love for her calling. Fort is known for her ability to stay connected with patients and staff by interacting and being involved with all aspects of the patient's journey. She chose the nursing profession based on her desire to help people and works to show respect, integrity, compassion and excellence for patients, families and co-workers on a daily basis.


Lilly George, BSN, RN, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford
Lilly George has wanted to be a nurse since her mother was hospitalized with cancer when George was 16. Helping care for her mother inspired her toward the calling of nursing. With 36 years in the profession, George has worked in intensive care, hemodialysis, rehabilitation and med/surg. She is currently a staff nurse at Texas Health HEB, where she is known as a role model and humanitarian. Very active in her church and community, she believes in making a difference every day, and is always the first in her work group to help a colleague in need.


Michelle Gmaz, RN, CPAN, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest Fort Worth
Michelle Gmaz works as a staff nurse in Texas Health Southwest's postanesthesia care unit. A nurse for 20 years, she is known as a role model and leader. From knitting chemotherapy caps and lap blankets for patients to participating in church medical missionary trips, Gmaz sets an example of compassionate caregiving. She believes that to touch the life of someone at their most vulnerable time, show them kindness and care for them is a gift not to be taken lightly. Her style is to do her work quietly, care for her patients and continue her education.


Sue Goddard, MBA, BSN, RN, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano
A NICU nurse at Texas Health Plano, Sue Goddard was recently named one of the hospital's evidence-based practice fellows, a joint project with Texas Christian University. She is a preceptor for the NICU and has oriented several new graduate nurses. With 35 years in the profession, Goddard began her studies as a biology major. After following a nurse through her workday, she realized what a fascinating mix of art and science nursing is. Her intellect and compassion have complimented each other in vital projects such as improving the neonatal portion of the hospital's electronic health record.


Laura Johnson, RN, Baylor All Saints Medical Center
Laura Johnson was inspired to become a nurse by her aunt, who has been a nurse for more than 40 years. "The care and compassion she showed every day and her love for her profession drew me in," Johnson said. "It made me want to be like her." A nurse for 8 years, Johnson currently works as the night supervisor on a surgical unit. She loves the satisfaction she gets knowing every day she comes to work, she'll be part of team helping others during their time of need. "My job isn't always pretty," she said. "It isn't easy and can be stressful, but it is so worth it when I receive a simple thank you from a patient or family member that is not required nor expected. I tell them I am just doing my job and I mean it - but it makes my heart smile."


Tessy S. Mathew, RN, VA North Texas Health Care System
For Tessy Mathew, an assistant nurse manager at VA North Texas Health Care System, nursing is "one of the most rewarding and giving careers." Mathew, an RN for 11 years, enjoys the opportunity to work with all types of people in specialties ranging from bedside care to education to administration. Passionate about serving people, Mathew said she is honored and inspired by the veterans she cares for every day. "I hope my dedication is a small way to thank our brave men and women for all they have given to our country," she said.


Judith Messer, BSN, RNC-OB, Las Colinas Medical Center
Judith Messer didn't choose nursing - it chose her. "My mother and aunt were nurses, so I grew up seeing nursing from a very real perspective," Messer said. "I've never thought about being anything else." Now director of women's services at Las Colinas Medical Center, Messer has worn many hats in her career, including bedside nurse and clinical educator, and is now pursuing her MSN in administration. In 2008, the mother of three traveled to Houston with five other nurses to work as a relief nurse for Hurricane Ike. For her efforts, she received a Humanitarian of the Year award from Las Colinas. "I love being a nurse because it gives me the opportunity to be there for people at the best and the worst times of their lives," she said. "My internal spirit drives me to mentor and educate both patients and nurses alike."


Olha Prijic, BSN, RN-C, Baylor University Medical Center
When she was 6, Olha Prijic spent some time in the hospital for a tonsillectomy. The nurses let her help them with small chores and her desire to be a nurse was born. An RN for 26 years, Prijic began her career in her native Canada, moving to Baylor's NICU in 1991. Now she is the clinical manager of the New Family Center. "My responsibility as a leader is to act as an advocate and voice for nursing so we continuously provide safe, efficient, high-quality care and excellent customer service," she said. "My job is to coach and mentor my staff in developing and managing a culture of excellence on the unit."

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