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HopeWest is proud to recognize HopeWest RN, Catherine Plough, as one if the 29 Nightingale Award nominees in western Colorado. Catherine was nominated in the Nurse in Clinical Practice – Advocacy category and recognized this Saturday at the Western Slope Nightingale Banquet.

In Colorado’s nursing community, no honor is greater than the Nightingale Award given annually by the Colorado Nurses Foundation. As someone her peers thought deserving of this award, Catherine shares some insight into what she has learned thus far in her career.

Q: What inspired you to become a registered nurse?

A: I first became interested in the medical field when I was 9-years-old. I was hospitalized and remember the way the nurses cared for me. One night stood out to me specifically—I couldn’t sleep so I wandered out of my room and found the nurses. They invited me to play Scrabble. I’m not sure why that moment stuck with me? I think of that interaction and how they could calm me really inspired me to pursue this career. I was also really interested in science.

Q: How do you hope to make a difference in your patient’s lives?

A: I think treating every patient as an individual and making a connection with them is important. I try to meet them where they are, understanding what their goals are and creating a care plan from that point. I want my patients to know we are doing this together—that we are in this journey together.

I feel like I’ve found my niche at HopeWest and really love what I do in palliative care. I like being able to help people stay in their homes and meet their goals despite having a chronic illness. Allowing them to continue doing what they love is really rewarding.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge in your career?

A: I think coordination and keeping all parties on the same page will always be a challenge. I’ve learned how important communication is and some of the best ways to communicate, but without effective communication things can unravel.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your career?

A: I love getting to know my patients and learning what makes them tick. I remember one Alzheimer patient I went to visit in the hospital. When I walked in he was so happy and had the biggest smile. He said, “I know you, you’re the nurse that makes me laugh.” That moment was so affirming for me.

Q: How do you hope to support or inspire your colleagues? 

A: Sharing what I’ve learned with others and taking advantage of teaching opportunities when they present themselves.

Q: Being nominated for the Nightingale Award is a reminder of . . .

A: The honor I have to care for patients who let me in at such vulnerable and intimate times. It’s a reminder that it is my responsibility to be the best RN I can be—to be at the heart of nursing.

One nominee from each category will be selected as a Luminary Award recipient and advance to the state Nightingale event in Denver where the winner will be announced. Good luck Catherine!