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Emanuel honors standout nurses
Alex Florez
Alex Florez



Four nurses were honored by Emanuel Medical Center for their exceptional work during National Nurses Week.

Emanuel’s Nurse Excellence Awards were presented to:  Julie Riddick, a 35-year Emanuel employee in quality services, Hospice Director Laura Springston, and staff nurses Alex Florez and Arnold Gubagaras.  The awards are presented annually.

“As a group, our nurses are wonderfully caring human beings and outstanding health care professionals,” said Emanuel President and CEO John Sigsbury. “So to be singled out from that group truly says something about the quality of these four.”

As associate vice president for Quality Services, Riddick educates the whole hospital staff on Joint Commission standards, National Patient Safety Goals and new regulations.

“Julie is the main reason we do as well as we do with core measures,” said Emanuel Vice President of Patient Care Services Connie Fairchilds. “Julie maintains high standards and we, at Emanuel, are lucky to have her on our team.”

Springston is a 22-year nurse who has been at Emanuel for the past seven years and supervises Hospice of Emanuel.

“Laura is an excellent leader,” Fairchilds said. “Her department has been transformed under her leadership.  She is very knowledgeable of Hospice and has a great background of experience.  She expects excellence and is able to share her knowledge and experience in a clear and understandable way.”

Florez has been a nurse for six years, all with Emanuel, but makes as big an impact outside work as he does at the hospital.  He works in the Progressive Care Unit. 

“Alex has a prison ministry to which he donates a lot of his time and money,” Fairchilds said. “He also helps conduct depression groups and is very active in reaching out to the community with our church’s health ministry. Alex is a very humble individual and is never quick to seek praise or recognition.  When he receives great reviews from patients he has helped, he gives all glory to God.”

Gubagaras has been at Emanuel for nine years and works in medical oncology.

“Arnold has a passion for nursing and healthcare,” Fairchilds said. “He is always courteous and helpful to others.  He is respected by his peers and appreciated by his patients.  The combination of his ethical standards and vast experience enable him to be an excellent mentor to other employees and the nursing students that he trains.”

Then there’s that singing thing.

“Arnold loves to sing and makes his co-workers smile,” Fairchilds said. “It’s not uncommon for him to start singing when things get a little tough – he has a way of lightening the mood.  Everyone likes to work with him because he has such a positive attitude.”