Seven of the 2022 March of Dimes Nurse of the Year winners are from Comanche County Memorial Hospital. They each won in their respective categories. Melissa Alvillar, the chief nursing officer at CCMH, is one of the winners.

“I think that should be telling our community that we provide excellent care here,” she said. “You’re going to get just of great as care of care, if not better, in Oklahoma City or in Tulsa because we have nurse of the year nurses working here. Your bedside care is excellent.”

This is Alvillar’s second time winning a Nurse of the Year award. She said she was shocked when they called her name for Nurse of the Year for Nursing Administration.

“It was very exciting for me, but I was even more excited for the six other people that won this year,” she said. “So, out of 16 categories, Comanche County brought home seven of 16 categories this year, so I was very excited about that.”

Penny Ramirez, the director of extended care services at CCMH, was Nurse of the Year for Public Health. She said she felt proud to be with CCMH at the March of Dimes gala.

“We cheered on the most,” Ramirez said. “We had a whole bunch of people, and just to see everybody dressed up and know that we’re making a difference in Oklahoma…that was pretty cool. Every time somebody’s name got called, we would all cheer.”

Ramirez said that just getting nominated for the award meant a lot to her. Nominations come from peers in the hospital who notice people going above and beyond. Ramirez isn’t sure what caused her coworkers to nominate her.

“I just come to work and do my job, and I take care of people, and I try to take care of the staff the best I can, and maybe they recognized I did something exceptional in that area, but for me, I just come to work and take care of my family here,” she said.

Jessie Knight received the Rising Star Nurse of the Year award. She is an RN and works in labor and delivery. Knight became a nurse and started working at CCMH a year and a half ago. She said she felt confident going into it, but once Knight got the program and saw all the nurses she was going up against, she felt discouraged.

“But then they called my name, and my husband had to hit me and tell me to get up and go up there,” Knight said. “So, it was an honor. It was awesome.”

Knight said she tries to treat all her patients how she would want her family treated.

“I always try to be an advocate for my patients, and I believe that would be a reason why and for my patients to trust me that I’m helping them make the best decisions for their babies and themselves and just really being that advocate for them,” Knight said.

Alvillar said they had one nurse who wasn’t able to be at the ceremony because she was out of the country visiting family. They plan to give her the award soon. You can find a full list of finalist and winners here.

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