Children's Hospital Colorado

Children’s Colorado Nurse’s Work in Suicide Prevention Honored With State’s Highest Industry Award

Children's Hospital Colorado | June 10, 2019

As part of its annual Nightingale Luminary Awards, The Colorado Nurses Foundation recognized 52 nurses from across Colorado for their impactful work in three areas: advocacy, innovation and leadership. Two of the nominees being recognized as finalists for this event were Children’s Hospital Colorado nurses. Amy Lewis, MS, RN, Director, Emergency Services, received the state’s highest honor and was ultimately named one of 12 Nightingale Luminaries this year for her work standardizing suicide screenings across Children’s Colorado’s emergency and urgent care departments.

"This recognition means so much to me," Lewis said. "I had the pleasure to lead a huge multidisciplinary team of nurses, providers, behavioral health clinicians, our regulatory team, Epic CAS experts, and more, who all worked together on the project for almost two years before we started the screenings."

Implementing system-wide suicide screening

With suicide as the leading cause of death for youth and young adults ages 10 to 24 in Colorado, Lewis implemented a system-wide, evidence-based screening tool called Ask Suicide Questions (ASQ) that systematically assesses every patient 10 and older, regardless of the reason for their visit.

"The award was incredibly timely with May being Mental Health Awareness month, as it provides an additional platform to talk about mental health and suicide," Lewis said. "Through this process, we've identified thousands of patients at risk for depression or suicide who were seeking care for a medical complaint, and have been able to intervene and provide support and resources in the moment to help the child and family."

More than 70,000 patients screened

More than 70,000 patients aged 12 and older have received screenings since ASQ’s implementation at Children’s Colorado’s emergency department on its Anschutz campus. Children’s Colorado began providing suicide screenings on an as-determined basis in 2012.

Cristi Wayne, BSN, RN, CPN, Clinical Nurse III, Neuroscience Institute, was also recognized for her work with the underserved and often stigmatized patient population impacted by psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (NES). Wayne developed and sustained this nursing-centered program within the Neuroscience Institute.

A testament to ongoing and pioneering work

“Children’s Colorado is dedicated to providing the best healthcare outcomes for children,” said Pat Givens, DHA, EdM, RN, Chief Nursing Officer at Children’s Colorado. “Recognitions like the Nightingale Luminary Awards are a testament to that ongoing work as we pioneer new, efficient ways to heal children and keep them healthy. A special congratulations to Children’s Colorado’s own Amy Lewis, 2019 Nightingale Luminary, for her timely and highly impactful work standardizing suicide prevention efforts.”

Colorado Nurses Foundation Nightingale Luminary Award nominees from Children’s Colorado:

  • Nightingale Luminary: Amy Lewis MS, RN, Director of Emergency Services,
    Emergency Department
  • Nightingale Luminary Award Finalist: Cristi Wayne BSN, RN, CPN, Clinical Nurse III, Neuroscience Institute
  • Susan Arato BSN, RNC-NIC, Clinical Nurse IV, NICU
  • Deb Bedard MS, RN, CCRN, Clinical Education Specialist, Heart Institute
  • Victoria Del Valle MSN, RNC-NIC, CNS, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Memorial NICU
  • Jennifer Engel MSN, RN, RPN, Clinical Manager, Neuroscience Institute
  • Heather Fitzgerald MS, RN, Director, Resiliency, Wellness and Ethics
  • Natalie France BSN, RN, CCRN, Critical Care Resource Nurse, Regional Float Team
  • Sparrow Helland BSN, RN, CPN, Clinical Nurse IV, Breathing Institute
  • Amy Hill BSN, RNC-NIC, Associate Clinical Manager, NICU
  • Stefanie Leonard MSN, RN, CNP-T, Nurse Coordinator, Neurology Complex Drugs Program, Neuroscience Institute
  • Michelle Mueller BSN, RNC-NIC, Associate Clinical Manager, NICU