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Three Exceptional Altru Nurses Receive Legendary Nurse Awards

Posted OnDecember 10, 2021

Grand Forks, N.D. The North Dakota Center for Nursing has announced the 2021 class of Legendary Nurse Award winners, with three of the recipients coming from Altru: Mandy Anderson, Courtney Kniert and Joan Garcia Ortiz.

Mandy Anderson and Courtney Kniert, both from Altru’s Family Birthing Center, have been recognized with the ‘Clinical Practice Excellence Award’ for nurses who demonstrate exceptional clinical practice or patient care. Mandy was Courtney’s nurse when she was in labor with her second child. Courtney’s experience inspired her to go back to school, becoming a labor and delivery nurse herself. These two nurses have been receiving additional training to facilitate progress in labor. They have been teaching new techniques to patients with successful results. One patient expressed gratitude when the techniques taught saved her from a possible cesarean birth.

Nicole Martin, Patient Care supervisor in Obstetrics, shares, “Mandy is actively involved in the patient's birth plan and does her best accommodating patient preferences, while ensuring a safe environment. She is passionate about patient care and advocates for the best outcomes for her patients.” Martin adds, “She is also eager to help with others' patients, ensuring their needs are met.”

Also expressing admiration for Kniert, Martin states, “Courtney is a newer labor and delivery nurse who has jumped in fully, acquiring new skills and keeping up on recent research. She asks for help when she needs it. Courtney isn't afraid to take care of high-risk patients, all the while bringing a calm confidence to our floor.”

Joan Garcia Ortiz, a nurse in Altru’s Progressive Care Unit, is the sole recipient of the ‘Rising Star Award.’ This award goes to a nurse in the first two years of practice and one who exhibits leadership and professionalism in the field of nursing. This is only the fifth time this award has been given out by the North Dakota Center for Nursing.

During Joan’s time in nurse residency, his quality improvement project focused on care of the nurse. He developed a standard approach to ensuring nurses find time to take breaks during the shift, avoiding burnout and allowing for uninterrupted mealtime and breaks. Joan is frequently recognized by academic partners and peers as a wonderful mentor and teacher.

“Joan is born a leader. His attention to process improvement projects is commendable for being an RN for less than two years. Not only does Joan identify new ways of doing things to improve our patients’ experiences, but he also looks to improve our organization,” asserts Kalie Bjerke, Progressive Care Unit manager. “I am grateful to have him on my team.”

The Legendary Nurse Awards began in 2015 to honor exemplary nurses across the state of North Dakota. With over 20,000 nurses statewide, nurses form the backbone of the health care system and are a vital part of many different settings as reflected by each year’s award winners.

About the North Dakota Center for Nursing
Mission Statement: Through collaboration, guide ongoing development of a well-prepared and diverse nursing workforce to meet health care needs in North Dakota through research, education, recruitment and retention, advocacy and public policy.