Bliss Croonquist: Employee of the Year

Bliss Croonquist has always believed in living up to her name. She is upbeat, says there is no such thing as impossible, and is a total optimist. Which is why, when she went for a walk with her dog and got hit by a car, she lay in the crosswalk worrying more about the emotions of the young man who hit her than her own serious injuries.

It is also why, when her cell phone rang as she lay there, bruised and bleeding, with severe arm fractures, she answered the phone, saying, "SXA Support, this is Bliss. How may I help you?" Surely it is an indication of the qualities that led Croonquist, a clinical analyst in Community Hospital’s Clinical Informatics department, to be named 2008 Employee of the Year.

"I was stunned to receive this honor," she says. "It means so much to me. I love my job; to get this award was above and beyond. A high point at the awards dinner was seeing my parents’ reactions. They said seeing their child acknowledged in this way was wonderful."

Her coworkers might say it was "blissful."

"She always has a smile on her face, sees things in a positive light, and always finds the good in difficult situations," Jean Bell, RN, wrote in a nomination supported by 19 other colleagues. "She really wants to help people learn from their challenges."

Croonquist has a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Washington State University and trained in medical technology at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center. She worked in Seattle then moved to Germany, working for a decade at an Army hospital testing a centralized military computer system; it was her first exposure to developing computer systems. After the Army closed the hospital, Croonquist worked in hematology /oncology research.

In 1997, she joined Community Hospital’s laboratory and later became part of a team developing a new hospital information system. This resulted in Clinical Informatics, a new department designed to form a bridge between information technology and the needs and expectations of clinical staff.

"I like people, and I like working for the clinical staff, learning what they need, and tailoring the software to help them," Croonquist says. "I love working with different departments, seeing what the obstacles are, and trying to find ways to improve patient safety by improving workflow with the tools the system provides."

Community Hospital is like family for Croonquist, who has two sisters on staff. Brookes Myers, RN, is in the Outpatient Surgery Center, and Catherine Powers, RN, is director of Nursing Administration.