The Sunflower Award

The significance of a sunflower is that it symbolizes warmth, happiness and longevity. The Sunflower Award is given to supporting team members at JPS who demonstrate exceptional direct impact to patient care.

The patient care support team members selected continuously strive to enhance the JPS culture by providing exceptional service and making JPS a great place to work. These team members exhibit compassion which makes lives better.

Blake Barnes, Biomed Technician


Blake Barnes Biomed Technician, Clinical Engineering

Blake has lived the JPS Rules of the Road for all of the 13 years he has worked here at JPS. He keeps patient care equipment in working order in Women’s Services, enabling us to care for our patients and promoting an atmosphere of healing for patients and their families.

He delivers exceptional service to five units, always promptly and remaining exceptionally well-organized. His storage room is filled with an endless assortment of reusable bits and pieces that he puts back into use when making repairs, exercising good stewardship by saving money.

Jakeyla Washington, Multiskilled Technician


Jakeyla Washington  Multiskilled Technician, 2 North Women’s

Jakeyla demonstrates the JPS Rules of the Road by always being engaged and willing to work to help others. At the beginning of each shift, she asks nurses if there are things she could do, like blood sugar checks and blood draws, to lighten their load while they are bedside reporting. She relieves the unit secretary while she goes to lunch. On a recent weekend and on her day off, she came in on a Saturday when we called for extra help. Jakeyla is a true team player.

Jakeyla shows great respect for our patients and their culture. Recently, a patient and her family were having a family prayer at the bedside. Jakeyla checked the patient’s past vital signs, which were normal, before deciding to return to the patient’s room later, after prayers, to check vitals. She demonstrates both respect and accountability.

Seemingly small things can make a big difference during a hospital stay, like fresh towels and a bath. Jakeyla always keeps our patients supplied with towels, gowns and other morning supplies so that they can bathe after giving birth. This makes our patients more comfortable and more engaged in their care.

Juan Sancen, Certified Medical Assistant


Juan Sancen  Certified Medical Assistant, Watauga Gertrude Tarpley Health Center

Juan always makes a good first impression. On the phone and in person, he greets every patient with AIDET (acknowledge, introduce, duration, explanation, thank you). When he knows a provider is behind schedule, he lets patients know and keeps them informed about their anticipated wait time. Juan knows his clinic’s patients and pays attention to every detail, ensuring patients get what they need from their appointments. Always a reliable patient advocate, he ensures each patient has the best possible experience.

When he found a patient in tears, distraught when she realized she had missed her appointment the previous day, Juan spoke with the provider and was able to get the patient seen that day. When the provider referred the patient to a specialist, Juan called to secure an appointment for her.

Juan always keeps his word. Patients say they trust him. When he says he’s going to call a patient with the answer to a question, he always follows through. He consistently exceeds patient expectations by paying close attention to detail and closing every gap.

Felicia Wilkinson


Felicia Wilkinson  Multiskilled Technician, P5 Surgery/Trauma Progressive Care

The word no isn’t in Felicia’s vocabulary. She treats every patient and family members as if they were family. She is an amazing mentor to new employees, and enjoys teaching them the JPS Rules of the Road, which she uses in her own life every day.

Felicia is always seeking out new learning opportunities, and was the first person on P5 to complete NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) training, which fits in with her plans to specialize in caring for the elderly after nursing school.

Felicia is always willing to lend a helping hand no matter what the situation. She is a strong team player, who cares not only for her own assigned patients but goes over the entire unit to make sure our patients’ needs are met. She is involved in both the Employee Engagement Committee and our Unit Based Council.

Sade McDade


Sade McDade  Multiskilled Technician, P5 Surgery/Trauma Progressive Care

The patient was an older gentleman who had refused all week to participate in activities of daily living — specifically, bathing and shaving. He was so grumpy with everyone who entered his room, people were generally trying to avoid him as much as possible so that he would not become agitated.

Sade presented herself in this patient’s room with a huge smile on her face, greeted the patient and explained that the plan for the day was to get him cleaned up and shaved. He looked at her and said he ‘was not doing nothin’ today.’ She replied, ‘Oh yes, we are going to get you all fixed up so that you will feel better.’ He persisted with his protests, but this tech would not give up and an hour later was seen in the patient’s room giving him a shave. He needed someone to push him, and she earned his trust. He was cleaned up, felt better and made a friend.

The patient actually started smiling (but only at Sade.) His family was so happy. Sade could have walked away. Instead, she made this patient’s day.

Ebelyn Castro


Ebelyn Castro  Multiskilled Technician, P4 Cardio Progressive Care

Previously a tech, Ebelyn has stepped into the role of multiskilled supply technician on P4. She has given her position definition and purpose, harnessing her experience on the floor to create new efficiencies and elevate patient care. She draws on her experience to evaluate patient needs and order supplies accordingly. For example, when she became aware that a patient was experiencing contractures, she ordered splints to maintain proper positioning of his hands and wrists.

Ebelyn took on the task of improving supply scanning and, as a result, we have doubled our compliance. She also ensures that indwelling catheter kits have stickers placed on the outer packaging reminding staff to use our buddy system for insertion, leading to improved compliance with sterile catheter insertion and reducing the risk of catheter associated infection.

When the nursing staff needed to be checked off on the EKG machine, Ebelyn voluntarily changed her schedule for an entire week in order to be available to assist both the day and night shifts.


Randy Valdez, Tech


Randy Valdez  Tech, ICU

Randy comes to work every day with a smile and a pleasant disposition that never wavers, even in the most stressful situations. His sense of humor has brought a smile to many faces – fellow team members, visitors and patients. He seeks joy!

Randy serves as an equipment technician and multi-skilled technician, and is truly a life-saver in his vital role. He ensures that equipment and supplies are available and functioning properly, which has a direct impact on the quality of care provided in the ICU. He is always willing to go beyond his assigned duties, however, to help turn a patient, assist with a transport or help a patient walk. He makes lives better.

Yesterday brought an example of Randy’s dedication. The ICU uses a computerized monitoring system that indicates when it’s time to turn our patients, which is necessary to prevent pressure ulcers. When Randy noticed that we had patients “in the red,” indicating it was time to help them turn, he jumped in. He was serving as equipment technician that day, but he saw a need and took quick action.


Doris Burley


Doris Burley ​ Unit Clerk, P5 Surgery/Trauma Progressive Care

Doris Burley is working as a unit clerk, but she is also a tech and never hesitates to put her skills to work on behalf of our patients and her fellow team members. When we are short staffed, she performs all the important functions of the unit clerk while also stepping up to assist patients and support her team.

Recently, a patient needed to be transferred to the ICU. Our team leader was attempting to transfer the patient on her own, because the primary nurse was unable to assist. Doris jumped up and ran to help.

Doris is resourceful, knowledgeable, proactive, caring and compassionate. If she is passing by a room and notices that a patient needs something, she finds a way to meet that need on her own if possible and, if not, she seeks out help. She is a strong and determined advocate for our patients. When patients and visitors need directions, she takes the time to make sure they understand where they’re going and, when possible, escorts them to their destination.

She has also improved processes on our unit, taking the lead in creating a discharge checklist that helps ensure that equipment is not lost and that all required paperwork has been completed when discharge occurs.

Brenda Murkledove


Brenda Murkledove ​ Multiskilled Technician, IPA

Brenda exhibits all three JPS Rules of the Road — own it, seek joy, don’t be a jerk — each and every day while working with a unique and often challenging patient population that some find intimidating. She embraces the challenge and thrives. Her passion to assist, comfort and help the elderly, patients struggling with dementia and our Correctional Health patients only makes her smile shine brighter.

Brenda treats each patient as an extended family member. She assists the elderly with activities of daily living such as shaving and motivates them to get up and get moving, guiding them to well-lighted areas of our unit to help them orient to their surroundings. She engages patients in conversation with sensitivity to their comprehension level, adjusting as necessary, and comforts them with gentle touch. Her actions are heartfelt and true.

She promotes healing by taking ownership each day and making sure patients are well cared and feeling good about themselves and their surroundings.

Xusha Rodriguez


Xusha Rodriguez ​ Multiskilled Technician, Operating Room

Going to the Operating Room can be a frightening experience for anyone, but even more so for patients who don’t speak English. Xusha is always willing to be an advocate for our patients who speak Spanish, alleviating their fears. She stays by their side, and will even hum or sing, helping to put them at ease.

With her keen communication skills, Xusha sets the tone for the day. She lifts spirt of those who are down, provides encouragement for those who need a shoulder, and brings joy with her contagious spirit. She is a member of our Sunshine Committee and provides themes for monthly celebrations in her unit.

Xusha leads by example. In major trauma cases, she anticipates the need for supplies, blood products and equipment.


Says nurse Debra Stuart, “Xusha doesn’t just deserve a sunflower. She is a whole garden to us.”

Micah McNairn

Micah McNairn Behavioral Health Technician, Trinity Springs Pavilion

Micah has been caring for behavioral health patients at Trinity Spring Pavilion for 11 years. Armed with strong leadership skills and problem-solving abilities, Micah “owns it,” seeking out opportunities to assist patients and fellow team members, elevating the quality of care that JPS provides for the communities we serve.

Micah is a Code White leader and CPI instructor, training team members to respond to psychiatric emergencies. In addition to providing training, he conducts Code White Drills and is an active participant in TSP’s work group on safety, contributing to initiatives credited with reducing employee and patient injuries.

Micah also serves as a survey ambassador, ensuring strong participation in the annual Employee Engagement Survey at JPS, and is an active participant in TSP’s quarterly skills fairs.

He is usually assigned as the lead technician when he is on duty. “He has a great attitude,” says Debbie Sweat, executive director of Psychiatric Nursing, “and is always willing to go the extra mile to assist his team.”


Denise Mills


Denise Mills​ Multi Skilled Tech - 2 South

Denise creates an atmosphere of healing through her calm and compassionate nature; it’s just part of what she does, her nominator says. She’s been known to raise the spirits of her patients, especially when it comes to moving around. She guards patients from fall risks by involving the patient in their care and even others from the care team, if needed. She consistently seeks out ways she can do more for our patients and her own team. In a recent event for a new mother, she saw a need to bring in a crib for the newborn and notified the nurse to provide additional education on safe sleep for their baby.

Miriam Ortiz

Miriam Ortiz​ Nurse Assistant and Skilled Nursing Unit

When Miriam Ortiz first came to the United States, she couldn’t even speak English. She took classes to learn to speak the language and made her start as a housekeeper. In time, she learned English and took several classes to become a nursing tech. When she joined JPS in 2008 she was able to share her story with patients and others on her team about her early years in the U.S. and how she was able to move her family from a shelter into a home, secure a job and continue on a path to success.

Miriam delivers care in each interaction with patients and team members, alike. Her nominator says she demonstrates gratitude daily as she continues to advance her knowledge and skills. She is a Nurse Assistant and is taking classes to advance to progress to a Multi-Skilled Technician. “She is supportive to the organization and our patients by improving herself to be the best caregiver that she can possibly be,” says Jeannie Simpson, RN Clinical Manager.


Aleyda Guadamuz

Aleyda Guadamuz​ Multi Skilled Tech, House Operations

Aleyda Guadamuz's swift action and demonstrated responsibility for patient care awarded her the first-ever Sunflower Award. Recipients of The Sunflower Award receive a surprise patrol from leaders and colleagues including flowers, a framed certificate and pin.

She was nominated for her quick response when she was monitoring a patient on two separate occasions on TeleSitter. This is a device installed in patient rooms with a built-in video camera and microphone and speaker. These are monitored by team members like Aleyda. When she noticed something not quite right on the screen, she immediately alerted the nurse and helped prevent harm to the patients.

Aleyda is there not only for her patients but her co-workers, too. She is patient, yet firm and reinforced the importance of following appropriate policies and procedures when it comes to paperwork. Also, when a pregnant co-worker demonstrated early signs of labor, Aleyda did not hesitate to walk her to Labor and Delivery and provide support until family arrived.