Boal honored as Pomerene Hospital Nurse of the Year

Boal honored as Pomerene Hospital Nurse of the Year
Dave Mast

The nominees for Pomerene Hospital Nurse of the Year included Jenny Wolfe, left, Brook Tulk, Jessica Boal, Tammy Gutheridge, Shelbie Murphy and Heidi Burgett. It was a difficult task, but the nominating committee eventually landed on Boal as its recipient.


It’s always a joy to appoint one of the fine nurses at Pomerene Hospital as Nurse of the Year.

What isn’t such a joy is for the nomination committee to sift through several very qualified nurses, all of whom would be fine choices for the honor.

On Thursday, May 12, the six finalist nominees along with many other staff members gathered outside the hospital to celebrate the Nurse of the Year winner, which turned out to be Jessica Boal.

In the selection process, each manager selects a department nurse for consideration and writes a description of duties and gifts each nominee touts while doing their job. The committee then had to sit down and try to decipher which nurse was most deserving, although Jamie Nolen, director of med/surg, special care and emergency services, said all the nominees were.

Nolen said with the hospital dealing with the demands of the pandemic the past two years, all the nurses should be commended for stepping up and putting their own well-being aside for the sake of their patients. She said it was common to see nurses taking on roles completely outside of the realm of their job description, but they did so knowing it was for the benefit of patients.

“It’s a difficult process because each of these six nurses have done incredible work,” Nolen said. “There was lots of discussion, and it was not an easy decision because we all know how hard each of them work and how dedicated they are to serving the patients, our staff and the community.”

Boal hasn’t been at Pomerene for a long time, having joined the staff this past year. However, in that short time span, she has endeared herself to her fellow nurses and the administrative staff by giving selflessly, filling in wherever needed and picking up extra shifts in the ER and med/surg unit on top of her work in ambulatory care.

“Even now, while being short-staffed, she is still wanting to help the surgery department by coming in on days off if we are stretched thin or if emergencies come up,” her nomination form read. “She will always go out of her way to make sure everyone is OK before she leaves.”

Boal said she was surprised to be chosen, considering she hasn’t been at Pomerene long.

“I almost feel undeserving,” Boal said. “We all do the same thing, and we all deserve it.”

She said facing the challenges of the pandemic was stressful and often difficult, and watching patients come and go was difficult.

“It was stressful, but you have to keep a smile on your face,” Boal said. “I think it is part of our nature as nurses to do what we need to do and get it done to take care of others.”

Boal lives in Killbuck and attended North Central State College, graduating in 2008 and becoming a licensed practicing nurse. She began her career in health work in patient rehabilitation before exploring other options. Her career includes stints in the emergency room, OB department and being a public health nurse for the Holmes County Health Department.

“I think it makes it easier to be well-rounded, having experienced the difficulties and challenges of each job,” Boal said.

She said nursing boils down to showing care and compassion for others first.

The other five nominees made it difficult for the committee to narrow it down to just one winner.

Shelby Murphy has been at Pomerene for nine years. Her nominator said of Murphy, “She has proved herself loyal, hardworking and engaged. She displays the Pomerene values daily in her practice and continues to work on improving herself and her department. Her dedication, attention to detail, patient advocacy, loyalty to the organization and proactive attitude speak to her deservedness for consideration.”

Brooke Tulk has proven a willingness to go above and beyond, according to her nominator, who said, “Brooke is caring, kind and compassionate to all people she encounters. She has a passion for caring for others and caring for our community. She goes above and beyond to be a team leader.”

Tammy Gutheridge took on many roles over the past two years during the pandemic. She has worked in the COVID trailer, picked up extra shifts and worked the screening desk, in addition to supporting the UR and OB teams.

“Tammy always has a smile and something nice to say about everyone,” her nominator said. “She is kind and shows patience when working alongside co-workers and taking care of patients.”

Jenny Wolf is well known to the staff because she too worked in many different areas this past year, from the quality department to the COVID mobile unit, while also assisting management and administration.

“Jenny is a smiling, positive employee, and her continued commitment and loyalty to Pomerene is evident,” her nominator said. “During the COVID pandemic, she was willing to do what was needed for the organization and for our patients.”

Heidi Burgett served as the nursing supervisor for two years before stepping into the role of interim med/surg manager this past year.

Her nominator said, “She continues to do what is best for the organization, is willing to fill whatever role is needed and works hard at each task assigned to her. Heidi is dependable and reliable, and her commitment is evident.”

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