Ten Banner Health Nurses Nominated for Prestigious Nightingale Luminary Awards 

Elena Nelson-Squires

Of Nominees, Two Regional Winners Will Advance to State Event

Amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, recognition for those on the frontlines is more meaningful now than ever before. However, planned celebrations for the annual Nightingale Luminary Awards have been canceled or postponed. Ten Banner Health nurses will miss celebrating together yet should still be celebrated for their heroic work. 

The Nightingale Luminary Awards are the highest honor a nurse can receive. The awards recognize professionals who best exemplify the philosophy and practice of Florence Nightingale, a 19th-century nursing pioneer who epitomized the art of helping people toward their best health. The Colorado nominees from Banner include: 

  • Administrative Leadership category: 

o Angela Baughman, BSN, RN 

o Jeanette Sartain, RN, MSNe 

o Julia Gentry, MSN, MBA* 

o Melanie Ladwig, MSN, RN, CCRN 

  • Clinical Innovation category: 

o Elena Nelson-Squires, BSN, RN, 


  • Clinical Advocacy category: 

o Bonita Curtis, BSN, RN, WCC 

o Rebecca Higney, BSN, RN, BCEN 

o Reeve Geiger, BSN, RN 

  • Clinical Leadership category: 

o Meredith Monkell, BSN, RN, CCRN 

o Shelby Montel, RN, WCC 

From this prestigious group, Elena Nelson-Squires and Julia Gentry have been named regional “Luminaries,” or winners, and will advance to the state Nightingale event (currently postponed). 

Nelson-Squires has been a nurse for 30 years and is currently a vascular access specialist and team leader. 

Recognized as a regional Luminary for exemplifying the spirit of the nursing profession in clinical innovation, Nelson-Squires is dual board-certified in oncology and vascular access nursing and represents Banner nationally by presenting on topics to improve safety and evidence-based practice regarding vascular access. 

“Elena is very focused on best patient outcomes and wanted to find a way to reduce the care and maintenance risk of catheter-related sepsis,” Nelson-Squires’ nominator Tamara Bockman said, Banner clinical nurse specialist. Through innovation and determination, Nelson-Squires presented a risk-reduction solution that “will save lives.” 

Gentry is the director of the critical care service line, medical-surgical service line and the Western States Burn Center at North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley and the regional Nightingale Luminary for exemplifying the spirit of the nursing profession in administrative leadership. She has been a nurse for 11 years and recently obtained both her MSN and MBA. Gentry is currently pursuing board certification as a nurse executive. 

Julia Gentry

“Julia is a true asset to our team for many reasons,” her nominator Lindsay Deeter, MD, said. Deeter is the medical director for the Western States Burn Center. “She works tirelessly to overperform at a job that is thankless as well as, for most, has unachievable expectations. Julia approaches these daunting tasks with a smile on her face, compassion, and empathy that is overwhelming.” Nelson-Squires, Gentry and the rest of the Banner Nightingale nominees represent the best of the best in the nursing profession in Colorado. During a time when their expertise, compassion and dedication is critical, these accomplishments should not go unnoticed. 

About Banner Health 

Headquartered in Phoenix, Banner Health is one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns and operates 28 acute-care hospitals, Banner Health Network, Banner – University Medicine, academic and employed physician groups, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services; including Banner Urgent Care, family clinics, home care, and hospice services, pharmacies and a nursing registry. Banner Health is in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, and Wyoming. 

For more information, visit www.BannerHealth.com

*Note: Indicates regional winner.

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