We Together: A Communication of Stormont Vail Health (May 16, 2023)

Dear Community Partners,

Here are today’s updates:

  • Philippines Nurse Project On Pause Due to Federal Action
  • Health Care Week, Nurses Week: Spotlight on Excellence
  • Walk with a Doc with Dr. Randall Schumacher
  • Blood Drive to be held Wednesday
  • Take a Walk to Support Mental Health

Philippines Nurse Project On Pause Due to Federal Action

The State Department’s recent decision to cap visa applications has delayed Stormont Vail’s program to hire more than 100 nurses from the Philippines. Plans were in place to have the international nurses join Stormont Vail employment this fall, but that‘s now delayed because of the federal freeze impacting employment-based priority visas.

The State Department has a huge backlogs in visa applications because and announced in April that it will restrict further visa processing. Health care providers, including Stormont Vail Health, are now asking Congress to intervene to expedite visas for nurses and other healthcare professionals, who are needed to provide care during the national workforce shortage.

Our expectation is that we can now expect the Philippine nurses to arrive in late 2024 or early 2025. This federal delay is disappointing and will impact our efforts provide care and services to patients and families in our region. The delay is also impacting many other healthcare organizations across the country.

In the meantime, we will continue to work on other initiatives and strategies to fill our current openings.

Health Care Week, Nurses Week: Spotlight on Excellence

Thank you for everyone for participating in Health Care Week and Nurses Week last week! This was a great week for us to connect – and to showcase the excellence of our team.

It was filled with great food, virtual cards, games and prizes, and rounding to many clinics and hospital departments. A big “thank you” to all of the individuals and teams who were involved in making this week of recognition so special.

We had a wonderful ceremony Thursday evening to provide recognition and awards to our outstanding nursing staff. Diane Flerlage, Clinic Manager in Wamego and Manhattan, provided the keynote address. DAISY Award winners for going above and beyond in care for patients and families and contribution ladder recipients were recognized.

There were more than 200 nominations for Excellence in Nursing Awards this year in 10 categories.

The awards program is underwritten by the Stormont Vail Foundation, US Bank and Security Benefit. Awards presented were:

Excellence in Nursing Practice – Julie Snyder, Medical Intensive Care Unit, and Melissa Tenbrink, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

Excellence in Nursing Leadership – Brooke McDonnell, Primary Care

Excellence in Nursing Mentorship – Corey Gonzales, Emergency Department, and Diane Martinek, Cotton O’Neil Endoscopy Center

Excellence in Nursing Preceptorship – Elizabeth Bechard, 6 North Oncology, and Christi Colley, Emergency Department

Excellence in Nursing Research – Ashley Seematter, Baker School of Nursing

Excellence in Advanced Practice Provider – Stephanie Arbaiza, Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care

Excellence in Licensed Practical Nursing – Laney Bowers, Manhattan Primary Care, and Erica Pruyser, 7 South Post-Surgical

Excellence in Patient Care – Shannon Dilks, Wound Care Center, Gisselle Flores Gutierrez, Birthplace, Sally Gonzalez, 6 South Medical Surgical, and Kelsey Howard, Birthplace

Distinguished Community Outreach – Leann Edington, Learning and Talent Development

Rising Stars – Carrie Cummings, Cotton O’Neil Endoscopy Center, and Jaclyn Wellman, Meriden Clinic

Congratulations to each of you!


Walk with a Doc with Dr. Randall Schumacher This Saturday

Our May “Walk with a Doc” will focus on pediatric care with Dr. Randall Schumacher and Stormont Vail Health’s partnership with Safe Kids. Along with Safe Kids, we encourage safe bicycling for all ages, but especially for youngsters. Free youth bike helmets will be distributed. The walk will be 9 a.m. this Saturday, May 20, starting on the east side of Lee Arena at Washburn University.

The walk is open to the community. Participation is free and pre-registration is not required.
Walk with a Doc (WWAD) is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire communities through movement and conversation. Topeka joins a growing list of communities worldwide that have started local Walk with a Doc programs. Learn more at


Blood Drive to be held Wednesday

Stormont Vail Health will be hosting a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17, in Centennial Rooms A & D, Pozez Education Center at the Topeka hospital. Appointments are preferred. Book your appointment today at, enter Group Code: TPKS.  For additional details contact Melissa Combes at (785) 354-5327 or [email protected]. Medical eligibility questions?  Call 1-800-688-0900. All presenting donors will receive a free pair of Royal tickets! (Tickets will be sent via email within 2-4 weeks of donation).


Take a Walk to Support Mental Health

It’s that time of year again! Stormont Vail Health is inviting team members to participate in NAMIWalks Kansas. The walk is at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 20, at Topeka West High School. You’ll have just enough time to head over from Walk With a Doc that morning as well!

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMIWalks promotes awareness of mental health, raises funds for NAMI’s free, top-rated programs, and builds community by letting people know they are not alone. Join the Stormont Vail team or donate to the team to help reach our goal here:

We together,
Dr. Kenagy


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