Nurse of the Year: JoMarie Faulkerson

Congratulations to the other Nurse of
the Year nominees: Alijandra Cruz-Tokar,
Randy Lafferty, Mary Lawson, Winona
Michael, Lita Rojas, Diana Salazar,
Jeanne Stevens, and Kimberly Wright.

JoMarie Faulkerson went into nursing because she was interested in science. And because she really liked caring for people. And because she had always been intrigued by the mystery and challenge of solving puzzles.

Faulkerson first imagined she would become a doctor. But early in her accelerated pre-med program, she didn’t feel the fit. Anticipating a more hands-on role with her patients, hoping to offer more supportive care than she experienced working in a doctor’s office, and looking to delve into diagnostic work, she got her bachelor’s degree and then shifted her studies to nursing.

Now, nearly 20 years after she arrived at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, she has been named Nurse of the Year.

"The hospital setting is a good venue for me; it’s where I’m comfortable," says Faulkerson.

For 15 years, Faulkerson was a critical-care nurse in the Intensive Care Unit.

"I was intrigued by the critical nature of patients in ICU, where you have to figure out what’s going on in a timely manner and address things to save people’s lives," she says. "I found I was very good at that, doing diagnostic work and identifying the changes that warranted intervention."

During the two years she worked alongside Faulkerson, Catherine Powers, RN, found her clinical knowledge extraordinary.

"JoMarie’s ability to pull together the pieces of the puzzle through pathophysiology, clinical experience, and common sense is remarkable," says Powers, director of nursing administration at Community Hospital. "I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from her, which I could apply on a daily basis."

Nine years ago, Faulkerson was asked to develop a computerized monitoring system that helps identify just how sick ICU patients are and how to make changes to help improve their condition.

"Alongside caring for patients," she says, "I got into the computer aspect of medicine. Before long, I began to merge the two, evaluating cause and effect in order to make a difference. I’ve spent the last three years in quality management. I like it because I can help create processes to make patient care safer."

Dr. Michael Smith, a colleague for 15 years, says Faulkerson always brings great effort and quality to her work.

"She is able to make a molehill out of a mountain," Smith says, "thus simplifying and making the job safer and easier for those who follow."