Lauren Zollman selected as 2023 THCA Nurse of the Year

We send huge congratulations to Lauren Zollman, LPN and MDS Coordinator at our Island Home community, for being recognized by the Tennessee Health Care Association as 2023 THCA Nurse of the year!

Lauren received the award at an award ceremony during the organization’s annual convention in August.

Several Hillcrest team members, including Rachel Watson, Ellen Lamkey and Susan Moore worked together to compile a nomination for Lauren in April 2023, and she earned the top spot from a pool of entries across the state of Tennessee.

Trudy Durham, the administrator at Island Home, shared a little bit about Lauren: “She has a great desire to serve. She’ll step in to help in whatever role is needed, and this award is so well deserved. We’re lucky to have her.”

The award is based on multiple parameters including leadership, outstanding compassion and dedication to residents and staff. Trudy noted that Lauren has taken on a role that requires extreme accuracy, attention to detail and constant learning for required government assessments completed regularly for each patient.

The nomination includes inspiring stories such as how Lauren stepped up during the COVID 19 pandemic to become a support for patients who could not receive outside visitors, becoming a surrogate family member.

Lauren also learned sign language to be able to communicate with deaf patients. She took classes on her own time, and even learned tactile sign language for a patient who was both blind and deaf, and provided unique experiences to enrich her life.

Lauren supports her coworkers as well as patients. “When an employee came back to work after breast cancer surgery, Lauren and her partner made a LOT of pink tie dye shirts that we wore at a party celebrating her return to work,” Trudy shared. She also rarely misses an opportunity to create costumes for community dress-up days, and the residents enjoy when she accompanies them on outings, such as to ball games.

It is these actions and more that earned her the recognition. Perhaps Ellen summed it up best in the nomination: “Yes, she is a superior leader with skills second to none, but her most important quality is her love and care of others, which is a skill that can’t be taught.”

In addition to the top honors for Lauren, Beverly Park Place volunteers Donna and Gary Gomes were honored at the THCA award event, receiving the 2023 Volunteer of the Year award. They spend a lot of time visiting with residents, bringing in their therapy dog and even serving as Santa and Mrs. Claus during the Christmas season. You can read more about their service here.

The Hillcrest Healthcare team celebrates with all of the winners whose service is deeply appreciated. Keep up with all that’s going on at our three Knoxville communities by following Hillcrest Healthcare on Facebook.