Our new 2018-2019 Board Officers were voted in at the March meeting. Congratulations to all of them!
Karen Elliott President-Elect_Karen Elliott
Julie Mowers Secretary_Julie Mower
Having graduated from Metropolitan State University with a BSN in 2014, Andine Gilmore currently works as staff and charge RN at Lutheran Medical Center. She has 3.5 years of nursing experience (2.5 years in the OR). She is particularly passionate about robotic and neuro surgery. Andine joined AORN while still a nursing student in 2013, and became an active member of the local DAORN chapter. She has served in the role of Nominating Committee Chair, Membership Chair, and recently assumed the role of Informatics Chair. Andine is proud to have participated in every national conference since she joined the organization, and has participated as a chapter delegate various times. She volunteers some of her free time at Project Cure. Andine wishes to continue to contribute to the success of the DAORN chapter through exchanging her insights, ideas, and suggestions with her colleagues on the Board.
Darla Gress – Board Mentee
My name is Darla Gress and I have worked in healthcare for over 30 years. I first started working as a nurse’s aide when I was just 15 years old working in the evenings after attending High School as well as summers, then later I worked the Baylor shift as a nurse’s aide while I attended school fulltime at Emily Griffith Opportunity School to obtain training for my Licensed Practical Certificate. I was fortunate to get my first job at Denver General Hospital on the Medical Surgical floor. This proved to be a formative time for me and would shape my future nursing skills as well as many professional relationships. I worked on the Medical Surgical Floor for 6 years and throughout that time healthcare was quickly changing. I enlisted as a Hospital Corpsman in the Navy Reserves so that I could take full advantage of the benefits that the GI Bill provides to further my nursing education. I continued working fulltime at Denver General Hospital, as well as drilling with my medical unit at the Naval Air Station while I attended Nursing classes fulltime at Arapahoe Community College.
After completing my Associate Degree in Nursing, I was able to transfer to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit at Denver General where I worked the night shift and recovered surgical patients and postpartum patients as well as ICU overflow patients. I was able to advance my nursing knowledge through critical care classes as well as taking Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support Classes. I would assist the nurses in the Operating Room at night when they had a trauma and needed help hanging blood. I fell in love with the Operating Room, and a I was blessed to have a veteran nurse take me under her wing and teach me all that she knew. I was one of two nurses accepted into the perioperative program. The perioperative program was more like on the job training and did not resemble the Pony Programs of today. I had independent study lessons at home and scrubbed and circulated cases during the day.
I later met my husband and we moved to Fort Collins where I worked at Poudre Valley Hospital and continued my love for Trauma nursing. It was during this time that I sat for my CNOR exam and was proud to receive my CNOR Certificate. I gave birth to my 2 daughters and shortly after we moved to California. I was working at a small community hospital in Vacaville California, when I was offered a position as the Nursing Educator for the Perioperative Department at Alameda County at Highland Hospital, having always had a love for education I accepted. Due to personnel issues however, I didn’t get the chance to act as the Nurse Educator and instead was the acting manager for the Perioperative Department. After a few months I realized that I had no desire to be in management and so I took another OR staff nurse position with Kaiser Permanente.
A few years later our family decided that we wanted to come home to Colorado, and so I interviewed and accepted a position at the Kaiser Ambulatory Surgery Center at the Franklin Medical offices in Denver. Since returning to Colorado I have also worked through OR staffing agencies at several surgery centers around the Denver Metro area.
I am very active in my community with my own church congregation, I am on the worship team and serve on the greeter’s team with my husband. I have volunteered with the 9 News Health Fair for several years as well as serving as a lead sorter with Project Cure.
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Toni Cunnings is currently serving as a staff RN at Lutheran Medical Center. She has 23 years nursing experience (20 years in the OR). She became a member of AORN (DAORN) in 2011 and completed her CNOR that same year. She completed her MS in Nursing leadership healthcare systems at Regis University in May 2017 with a practicum at AORN headquarters. Toni specializes in Robotics, Gynecology, Urology and General Surgery. Toni has served in the role of charge nurse, service line coordinator, clinical manager, and director of nursing; working in both inpatient and outpatient surgical services. She desires to serve in a leadership role in AORN, to grow in her own practice and assist in the development of future nurse leaders in her profession.