ROCK SPRINGS — Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County employee Patty O’Lexey was one of three finalists for the Norman S. Holt Award for Nursing Excellence and was recently recognized at the Wyoming Hospital Association’s Conference. While O’Lexey didn’t walk away with the award, just being named a finalist in such a competitive award is something to be proud of.
During the MHSC Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday, BSN, RN O’Lexey was publicly recognized and honored with a brief plaque presentation for all of her contributions to the hospital.
O’Lexey was nominated for the Norman S. Holt Award for Nursing Excellence by MHSC Chief Nursing Officer Ann Marie Clevenger. Back in June, Clevenger wrote a nomination letter for O’Lexey and submitted it to the Wyoming Hospital Association. Clevenger read that letter to the board and O’Lexey, who is the current MHSC Director of Education, was overcome with emotion. O’Lexey has more than 15 years of nursing experience, including working in the Intensive Care Unit, primary care, case management, chronic care management, education and director of the cardiac rehabilitation unit.
“Ms. O’Lexey’s vast experience, the expertise, care and compassion demonstrated to patients, families and staff throughout all levels of the organization and her connection with the community, make her a perfect candidate for the Norman S. Holt Award for Nursing Excellence,” Clevenger said.
Not only has O’Lexey excelled in her nursing career, but she serves on the Wyoming Nurses Association (WNA) Southwest Region Board. She was also the recent recipient of the WNA’s Nursing Leadership Award, which she received several nominations for.
She also collaborates with nursing schools to make sure the needs of nursing students are being met through clinical rotation design and scheduling, providing support and guidance during rotations, expanding MHSC’s relationships with nursing programs, creating new partnerships for nursing, and meeting regularly with the University of Utah’s education department.
O’Lexey also demonstrated great leadership skills prior to, during, and after the pandemic. She was involved in providing information and an active participant in COVID-19 testing and vaccine clinics to meet the needs of Sweetwater County, the letter states. In fact, O’Lexey left the meeting as soon as the presentation was over so she could help give the COVID-19 booster and flu shots at an employee clinic.
In her primary roll as Director of Education, O’Lexey is an instructor for BLS/CPR for the Healthcare Provider AHA Heart Saver Courses, Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support courses for MHSC and the community, teaches PlaneTree workshops, works as a house supervisor, provides patient education in the nursing units, and provides education to patients and families for the Wyoming Advanced Directive.
“Ms. O’Lexey is an excellent role model for others within the organization, striving to meet the needs of patients and families, going above and beyond her primary role at MHSC daily,” Clevenger said.
Just this past year, O’Lexey has provided over 130 orientations for full time and travel staff, oriented nearly 100 students completing clinical rotations at MHSC, created educational classes for staff surrounding COVID, assisted with swabbing stations and vaccine clinics and participated in Hero Day at Sweetwater County School District No. 1 by demonstrating to students and staff the personal protective equipment that must be worn before taking care of patients at MHSC.
“Ms. O’Lezey is a blessing, emulating the nursing profession and professional standards to the highest degree,” Clevenger’s letter concluded.
The Wyoming Hospital Association established the Norman S. Holt Award for Nursing Excellence in 1983 in honor and memory of Norm Holt, because of his tremendous understanding and active involvement with the nursing profession. The award is given to honor one outstanding nurse in Wyoming each year.
This is just a snapshot of the wonderful nomination letter for O’Lexey. See the document below, for the entire letter.