Published on May 15, 2017

Parkview Medical Center's Rhonda Lewis earns statewide Nightingale honor

(Pueblo, CO) – Parkview Medical Center is proud to announce that Rhonda Lewis, RN, BSN, CDE; the director of the Diabetes Care Center and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, was honored by the Colorado Nurses Foundation with a Nightingale Award.

Lewis was one of 12 nurses from throughout the state to receive the honor at a gala over the weekend.

“It felt amazing to be in the company of so many nurses who do such amazing things,” Lewis said. “To think I was there and got this award, I was just stunned.”

Lewis has worked as a nurse since 1981 and has been with Parkview Medical Center since 2000.

“Rhonda is an example of our staff of dedicated and selfless professionals who are committed to providing extraordinary care to our patients,” said Parkview Medical Center President and CEO Mike Baxter. “Parkview is very proud of Rhonda’s achievement and the work done by our entire nursing team.”

Much of Lewis’ career has revolved around educating new nurses and the public.

At Parkview, she has served as a diabetes care educator, developing community education strategies along with educating patients both newly diagnosed and with long-term diabetes.

As director of the Diabetes Care Center, Lewis leads a team in developing, implementing and evaluating a comprehensive diabetes education program for the community, as well as managing the operation of the department and maintaining its accreditation.

“I couldn’t have done this without all of the people I work with and all of the patients we see,” Lewis said.

Prior to her work at Parkview, Lewis was an instructor and lab coordinator with Pueblo Community College and worked as a childbirth educator and diabetes nurse educator at other facilities.

She received her associate’s degree in nursing from the University of Southern Colorado (now Colorado State University-Pueblo) in 1981. She completed her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Regis University in 1990, graduating Magna Cum Laude.

Lewis said she came to nursing through pragmatism; looking for a degree that would ensure employment, but her passion for nursing developed rapidly.

“I quickly found out that this quote from Vincent Van Gogh was appropriate: ‘Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck. Your profession is what you were put on Earth to do with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling,’” she said. “I love nursing because I have the opportunity to help people. I also love nursing because there are so many different types of nursing that the opportunities are limitless.”

This is not the first Nightingale award for the Lewis family. Rhonda’s husband, Larry, received a Nightingale award in 1997 for his work establishing a pediatric hospice.

“He was just confident I was going to be honored,” she said. “He’s my biggest fan.”

Lewis earned a nomination to the statewide award by being named a luminary at the regional Nightingale awards ceremony in March.

There were 57 luminaries at the statewide awards Saturday, including Jan Philson, a Parkview Mobile Nurse.

Philson helped rebrand the mobile nurses in 2010. Now she’s part of a team that’s become a mainstay in the community by combining fun, accessible messages with critical information about health care and disease prevention.

Prior to her tenure as mobile nurse, Philson worked in various nursing positions in the Denver metro area. She moved to Pueblo in 1986 and worked from 1986 to 1989 for Parkview Medical Center on the hold bed unit, an extension of the emergency room.

She’s done hospice nursing, agency nursing and worked as an independent contractor providing immunizations and health screenings to state and national agencies.

She came back to Parkview in 2010 as a mobile nurse.

She’s also served as an instructor in nursing and in the fitness center at Pueblo Community College.

Philson has been a nurse for 37 years, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Bradley University in Peoria, Ill.

About Parkview Medical Center

Founded in 1923, Parkview Health System in Pueblo, Colorado, offers general acute healthcare and health specialty services. As a private, non-profit organization, Parkview is licensed for 350 beds and provides a full range of healthcare services including a verified Level III Trauma Center along with exceptional comprehensive cardiac and orthopedic care. Parkview Health System is the leader in all service lines in our service area. As a vital healthcare source, Parkview’s service area includes Pueblo County and 14 surrounding counties, which together represent 370,000 total lives.

Parkview Health System is the largest non-government, nonprofit, private sector employer in Pueblo County with approximately 3,000 employees and provides a skilled medical staff of over 370 physicians. The impact of our workforce triggers a strong impact on the community as Parkview’s annual payroll contributes $232 million to the economy.