Lisa Jenkins Baughman’s patients are young but many have scars, both physical and psychological. After 26 years as a nurse – the last 12 to foster youth – she knows that healing broken bodies and broken spirits requires more than a dose of medicine or a hospital visit.
“I think it’s important that I don’t look down on them, that I speak their language, that I meet them where they are,” she said. “I always think of how I would want a nurse to treat members of my family, and so I take my time with my patients, I explain things to them, I give them the best care, and I offer them the best resources and referrals.”
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas honored Ms. Baughman, along with Blanca Jimenez and Catherine Chao, in the 2015 Nurse of the Year Awards. During a ceremony at the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration, he thanked them for taking care of residents in the Second District.
“We are all better off because of outstanding nurses like Lisa, Blanca and Catherine, all of whom serve with compassion as well as skill,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “They are angels with stethoscopes in our community.”
Ms. Baughman was 15 when she decided to become a nurse after a stint as a candy striper. She began her career at LAC+USC Medical Center, where she worked in Labor and Delivery, and in the ICU. She then transferred to the ICU at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Since 2003, she has been with county Department of Public Health, partnering with county Department of Children and Family Services social workers in Compton to take care of the health needs of foster youth, from newborns to those on the verge of adulthood.
“This vulnerable population of children must be respected and treated with dignity,” she said. “As nurses, we have a special gift, and it’s our responsibility to get out into the community and return that gift to others.”
Another 2015 Nurse of the Year, Blanca Jimenez, has worked at the Martin Luther King Jr. Outpatient Center for 31 years. She is currently assigned to its Women’s Health Center, serving in the Obstetrics/Gynecology Clinic and Perinatal Diagnostic Center.
She is also the nursing coordinator for the Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns initiative, and makes sure that pregnant patients get appropriate referrals for ultrasounds, fetal testing, and first and second trimester screenings.
Catherine Chao also received the award for 2015 Nurse of the Year. At Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, both her patients and colleagues have commented on her caring and compassionate nature.