Florida Health Care Association recently recognized Valencia Henderson, Assistant Director of Nursing at Brooks Rehabilitation University Crossing, as 2020 Registered Nurse of the Year. This recognition is part of FHCA’s Excellence in Long Term Care Nursing Awards, which are traditionally presented during FHCA’s Nurse Leadership Program. However, due to COVID-19, the Program, along with the Awards Ceremony, has gone virtual. Nonetheless, Valencia, who was nominated by her administrator, Andy Andre, was still able to receive her official plaque as celebrations carried on at the Jacksonville care center, surrounded by co-workers and friends.
With 16 years of long term care experience, Valencia has showcased a great passion for healthcare. In 2004, she began her career as a licensed practical nurse, working weekend shifts at a Jacksonville skilled nursing center. Later in 2015, she obtained her registered nurse license and became the unit manager for the facility. Valencia led the 60-bed skilled nursing unit with ease and was successful in her management. In 2016, she accepted a position as a unit manager at her current facility, Brooks Rehabilitation University Crossing, in Jacksonville. Shortly after, Valencia was promoted to her current role as Assistant Director of Nursing at the center in 2017.
Under her leadership as Assistant Director of Nursing (ADON), Brooks Rehabilitation University Crossing has received several awards and achievements. In 2018, the center achieved the honorable Bronze National Quality Award from the American Health Care Association. Valencia was credited as being instrumental in this accomplishment. According to her peers, Valencia’s continuous support and expert guidance as ADON were crucial in leading the center to be recognized. In 2019, the center also achieved Joint Commission Accreditation for Post Acute Care and Long Term Care and was recognized by U.S World News and Report as “Best Post-Acute Nursing Homes.”
Valencia’s commitment and dedication to long term care shine through her efforts to support her team members. When it comes to surveys, she is the first to take the lead in reviewing policies and procedures. One of her top priorities as ADON is the education of the nursing staff. She made it an objective to reduce falls both with and without significant injury. In 2019, her goal was accomplished as Brooks University Crossing successfully reduced its fall index drastically by 75%. This achievement was completed by educating and re-educating nursing staff on proper procedures for low/high fall risk patients. Valencia took the time to meet with the team, identify barriers toward compliance, and introduce a coaching approach to overcome any challenges. She was also able to reduce in-house pressure ulcers by 80% by dedicating a committee solely focused on improving the center’s preventative abilities. Another major implementation Valencia introduced was establishing weekly meetings with the center’s medical director to reduce re-hospitalization. Re-admitted patients’ cases were analyzed to identify measures that could decrease the need for re-admission.
Brooks Rehabilitation University Crossing administrator Andy Andre shares, “Valencia’s passion is caring for those who need help, and she loves to see patients leave feeling better than when they came. Working with long-term care patients gives her a sense of peace/routine because she learns about them as individuals and creates a bond with them and their families. She is truly is dedicated to the people she serves and is an excellent asset to the team.”
The Excellence in Long Term Care Nursing Awards were presented during FHCA’s Virtual Nurse Leadership Program, with FHCA President Marco Carrasco and award sponsor Robin Bleier of RB Health Partners, Inc. honoring these healthcare heroes for their dedication and commitment to quality long term care. Recognition was given to the 2020 Nurse Administrator, RN, LPN, and CNA of the Year, along with the Rising Star in Long Term Care Nursing Award recipient.