July 2, 2019

Cincinnati Reds Nurse Night 2019

Cincinnati Reds Nurse Night 2019

Photos courtesy of RobertLarsen

The Cincinnati Reds Nurse Night 2019, presented by, was the first Nurse Night in Reds history and it was a big hit! 

Over 2,000 nurses were in the stands!!

We proudly honored our top 10 Reds Nurse Heroes on the field during the pre-game ceremony. 

  • Laurel Stein
  • Tiffany Proto
  • Jared Ashley
  • Brian Burger
  • Alondra Lopez
  • Stacy Jones
  • Jami Steger
  • Meg Schroeder
  • Taylor Huffman
  • Molly Mendenhall

Special thanks for Jaanuu scrubs for dressing our Nurse Heroes in custom scrubs!

Nurse hero, Laurel Stein, threw the ceremonial first pitch! Laurel was voted as the nurse to throw the first pitch through an online voting poll. What an amazing memory! 

Nurse Blake was our special guest!! 

It was an amazing Nurse Night with nurses traveling from all over the area to join in on the festivities!

They arrived in groups, decked out in their Reds gear and home-made nurse t-shirts while displaying their creative Nurse Night signs!

Nurse Hero Awards

10 nurse heroes received the following awards:

  • Recognition by the team on the field!
  • 2 game tickets!
  • Personalized Jaanuu Scrubs 

  • Nurse Laurel Stein threw out the FIRST pitch! 

Congrats to Laurel Stein who will throw the FIRST pitch at the Reds Nurse Night!

Laurel Stein, BSN, RN

Cincinnati Children's Hospital and Medical Center - Nurse Coordinator, Single Ventricle Interstage Program.

Laurel Stein is an RN who cares for some of the most fragile children alive: children born with one pumping chamber in their heart instead of two. These children are described as “interstage,” in the stage between the first and second part of the three-step repair which these children must have to live.

Although caring for infants so fragile is hard work both clinically and emotionally, Stein cares for them with incredible expertise. She has used her extensive clinical skills, honed intuition, and nursing knowledge with strategies such as remote telehealth monitoring to identify infants whose conditions are deteriorating, educate parents, and assess patients from afar. 

Stein also actively works with her healthcare team to improve solutions for the patients. She and her team suggested an intervention to use feeding, swaddling, and a pacifier to replace sedation for infants undergoing an MRI procedure. Stein and her team successfully reduced the use of general anesthesia amongst infants at the facility through this intervention. 

In the past the mortality was 25% during this time, the team has decreased it to 3.5% during what we call the interstage.

“Parents come to rely on Laurel to translate the physicians and help them cope and manage their life after the birth of their severely ill child,” her nominator says. “Laurel truly cares for these families in a way that transcends a professional-only relationship but brings her heart to each one of the patients and families. I can think of no more worthy RN to represent nursing as a Nurse Hero than Laurel Stein,” “I am continually amazed by her caring, proud of her actions, and in awe of her heart.” 

Laurel Stein has been with Cincinnati Children's Hospital and Medical Center for 10 years and has worked as a cardiac nurse since 1986. She manages the care of Infants who are generally age 4-6 months who are missing one of the ventricles in their heart - referred to as single ventricle patients. Laurel meets with the families during the fetal stage, follows through their stay in the CICU/ Initial surgery/step down and then follows them as outpatients/ daily surveillance monitoring until their second surgery.  

“It's a wonderful job and I am so very blessed that families trust me and welcome me during this scary time!  I have the most amazing parents and families and I have an amazing partner and team!!!” exclaims Laurel. 

Tiffany Proto BSN, RN, CPON, CPN 

Cincinnati Children's Cancer and Blood Disease Institute

An 18-year veteran pediatric oncology nurse who has worked at Cincinnati Children’s Cancer and Blood Disease Institute for 15 years, Proto is described as a “ray of sunshine in everyone’s day.” 

While Proto spends her days serving children with cancer and organizing initiatives such as developing a unit-specific Chemo Nurse and a  Rapid Cycle Improvement Collaborative, the kind-hearted nurse is also the champion of the small gestures that make a difference. According to her nominator, if you ask any of her coworkers what their favorite thing about Proto is, they would say: “She always asks me what is for lunch and I love it!”--simply because it reminds staff to take time for themselves when we often forget to do so. “She constantly has a contagious smile on her face and offers words of encouragement at the most critical times,” her nominator describes. 

She also always goes out of her way to educate and teach new staff about how to care for our unique patient population and is described as a true team player who never leaves work without updating members of the care team and completing all of her responsibilities and then some. 

“Tiffany would never consider herself a hero, which is one of the many reasons why she is so deserving,” says her nominator. “She says she is just doing her job but really she is shaping the future of our unit and staff.” 

Jared Ashley, BSN, RN

TriHealth Good Samaritan Hospital, Medical/Surgical Intensive Care

Jared Ashley is the 2019 recipient of the Florence Nightingale Award and was nominated by the grateful mother of a critically ill patient who was admitted to the hospital for over 3 weeks. During this time, Jared’s commitment to the improved health of his patient was ever apparent to the family, “every time we came upon a problem Jared knew exactly what to do,” says his nominator. He even picked up an additional shift to be there for both the family and patient during a time when they needed him the most. 

His nominator commends Jared for his compassionate family care as well. Jared respectfully stepped away from working on the patient many times to allow the family to pray and provided a “shoulder to cry on” when the family was in need.

“He looked after our family as much as he looked after my son. I cannot express enough how this young man not only cared for my son but he cared for me and my family through this whole ordeal. When he knew I was scared out of my mind he would sit down and talk with me about everything he was doing to help him,” his nominator proclaims. 

Jared showed the highest level of empathy and would talk to his sedated patient before performing any procedure. His nominator attributes the patients improved health to Jared’s vigilant care. “Jared is not only an amazing nurse, but he's also an amazing person. I thank God every day that I have had the privilege of meeting this young man.”

Jared Ashley has worked as a nurse for 8 years after a brief career in engineering. He is married and has two wild boys, aged 3 and 5.  Outside of work, you are likely to find him at the gym, curled up with a good book, or out having adventures on the trail or with his boys.


Beacon Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

As the President of the Ohio Nurses Association, Burger actually started his career as an Army National Guard Combat Medic.  

From there, his career progressed to serving as an EMT, Patient Care Assistant, Health Unit Coordinator, Registered Nurse, and now, as a Nurse Practitioner. While working as a staff nurse at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, he also served as an officer in the nurses union, where he discovered a passion for speaking with young people studying to become nurses about the most fulfilling things about having a career in nursing. 

His current platform enables him to continue that passion by educating students, bedside nurses, nurse executives, advanced practice nurses, researchers, and nurses in academia about the value nurses bring to healthcare and how all of the nursing profession can collaborate to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients. He is Ohio's lead spokesperson for the American Nurses Association, delivering this message far and wide. Burger has also been instrumental in the introduction of legislation that would outlaw the unsafe practice of mandatory overtime for nurses and has been key in pushing state and federal initiatives to address violence in healthcare workplaces. 

“Brian is a real gem for Ohio's nursing community, and is a change agent whose work will have a real impact on all of us who are patient in Ohio's healthcare system,” comments his nominator. 

Alondra Lopez, BSN, RN

Oncology Nurse

What kind of nurse is Alondra Cassidy? Well, Cassidy is the kind of an oncology nurse, who upon discovering that one of her patient’s grandsons, whom the patient had custody of, wasn’t able to have a 7th birthday celebration due to his grandmother's illness, took it upon herself to throw one for him.

Cassidy organized a “7-1/2” birthday party for this young man and once word got out, other staff joined in on the fun, supplying gifts, balloons, and even somehow convincing Spiderman himself to make a special appearance.

“We feel that Alondra is the epitome of a nurse,” her nominators describe. “Not only does she provide and recognize the care needs of the patient, but she also provides for the caregivers of the patients--even when they are as young as 7.” 

Stacy Jones, BSN, RN

Mercy Health - Fairfield Hospital RN

Stacy Jones is the kind of nurse to drive to her patient's house to make sure he had his dentures or advocate leadership to purchase new clothes for a patient who had an accident, or organize a backpack and school supply drive for children in need. 

As the clinical council chair, she’s always looking for ideas to improve the morale and work-life balance in the unit as a whole--and those ideas extend to her own family as well. For instance, after Jones’ father was diagnosed with cancer which required him to get a port-a-cath, she researched ways to help these patients have more comfort after their multiple procedures and began making "Port Pillows." She handmakes the pillows to go onto the patient's seat belt to prevent the seatbelt from putting pressure on the newly inserted port and each one comes with an encouraging message. The pillows have also brought comfort to three of Jones’ team members who were diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Stacy recently made a seatbelt cushy cover for the entire seatbelt strap to help with the discomfort these mastectomy patients feel during their car ride home.

“She is so innovative and creative and we love that spirit about her!” says her nominator. “Her kindness caring and extraordinary compassion deserves to be recognized.”

Stacy Jones received her BSN degree from Wright State University in 1994. She has an extensive background in Perioperative services and Endoscopy, as well as Oncology.

On her off time, she enjoys spending time with her family and taking beach vacations. Her future plans include obtaining her Master's degree in Nursing Administration from the University of Cincinnati. 

Jami Steger, MSN, RN, APRN

Cincinnati children's hospital

Many nurses go the extra mile for their patient, but Steger went the extra mile in a very literal way--as in she literally moved miles away from her home state of Texas to help establish the first pediatric lung transplant program in Cincinnati. Prior to the establishment of this program, children and adolescents in need of transplant could not stay in Cincinnati to receive care. 

Known as “Miss Jami” by her smallest patients, Steger is a strong advocate to ensure each child’s needs are met before, during, and after lung transplant. She records and evaluates all potential avenues for improvement within the lung transplant program and works to educate other areas of the hospital on how to best care for these vulnerable patients. In one particular case, Jami led the charge in recognizing potential changes to the way the program educates and prepares families prior to transplant. This resulted in an increase in confidence in families as they navigated the transplant process with their child.

A recognized leader among the lung transplant team who’s always willing to lend a helping hand to others, Steger’s fun nature and approachable personality makes her a favorite among patients and families. “She makes a very challenging situation more manageable and infuses her southern charm to make others feel more at ease and comfortable,” explains her nominator. 

Meg Schroeder, MSN, RN

Taft High School Based Health Center, Public Health Nurse

“Nurse Meg,” as she is known, is the school nurse at the Taft High School Based Health Center.  Not only was she the major driving voice in getting grant approval to actually build and open the health center 3 years ago, but she was also involved in every step. She made decorations for the exams rooms to feel bright and cheery, had a local artist come in and design a mural for the waiting room wall that the students then painted, and even found a local photographer to take photos of surrounding city views from our rooftop to hang in the center. 

Nurse Meg goes above and beyond for "her students" by creating relationships with them and giving them a safe place to come talk about problems and issues and just come in to say hello.  Nurse Meg created "Fresh Fruit Friday," where she brings in different fruits for the students to try, most of who rarely have the opportunity to enjoy fresh healthy snacks. She also arranged for a mobile dental clinic to come to Taft HS, providing care to students who otherwise wouldn’t have access to dental services. 

“She not only takes pride and goes the extra mile for her students, but she is also always a giant ball of sunshine with a smile trying to spread happiness and positivity to everyone she encounters,” says her nominator. “Nurse Meg is much more than just Taft HS's nurse--she is the foundation of the health center; she is a mentor, she is a friend and a truly amazing nurse.”

Taylor Huffman, BSN, RN

St. Elizabeth Hospital, Nurse Manager 

Ever since Huffman has joined the team at St. Elizabeth Edgewood as the Nurse Manager, the staff have noticed a distinct change in the air. 

“This place doesn’t feel just like work anymore,” gushes one of her team members. “it feels like a home away from home. People are excited to come into work to be with one another and to provide excellent care to our patients...It is a fun, inviting place to come work and extend the healing power of God like we do every day here at St. Elizabeth.” 

The fun, inviting atmosphere that Huffman has created extends to all nurses on the unit, especially new graduate nurses, whom she has a passion for, encouraging them to become involved and take on leadership roles early on. And don’t think Huffman is the kind of manager to just hang out in her back office--oh no. Her staff report that she is “very involved” and will gladly assist a family member with a question or grab water for a patient. 

“She doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk,” describes another one of her nominators. “What she asks of her staff is nothing more than she would expect of herself. She doesn’t pass a call light, she runs to the bed alarms, and she is there for her staff! She is not only a great leader, but cares for her staff and patients.” 

Molly Mendenhall, BSN, RN

OHC, Quality Manager

RN Molly Mendenhall is an official hero--no, really. In 2018, she was nominated as a Health Care Hero of Cincinnati for her work in the "Call Us Early - Call Us First" campaign, which helped reduce out-of-pocket patient costs, ultimately leading to a better quality of life. 

Outside of her “official” recognition however, Mendenhall’s nominator says that the hardworking nurse “gives everything and asks little in return”  She brings commitment, dedication, and passion and put simply, it’s impossible to count how many times she's worked extra hours to go above and beyond in providing the best possible care to her patients.  

After graduating from Ball State University and beginning her career as a floor nurse, Mendenhall followed her true passion for caring for those with cancer, eventually leading her to outpatient oncology care at OHC. She currently serves as Quality Manager, where her commitment to patients can have an impact on hundreds of lives. 

Her work was also recognized at the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago, where she gave a headline presentation and published in the Journal of Oncology Practice. She is a member of the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and in her leisure time, enjoys traveling the world, cycling, and reading.

“When she's not changing the world of healthcare, she's changing mine for the better every single day,” sums up her nominator. “Her positive attitude and caring spirit inspire everyone around her.” 

  • May 11, 2019 - nominations close. Nominees must respond within 48 hours or their nomination will be removed. 
  • May 25, 2019 - top 10 announced and voting opens
  • May 29, 2019 - voting opens 
  • June 8, 2019 - voting ends
  • June 10, 2019 - Nurse Hero who will throw the FIRST pitch is announced
  • Official rules


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