We are so proud of our own Chaley Shipley for receiving the Wanda Ellithorpe-Fletcher BSN, COHN-S Occupational Health Nurse Leadership Award at the NAOHP conference on November 8th, 2021.
SafeWorks Illinois and North Bay Health Systems established an occupational health nursing award in honor of Wanda Ellithorpe-Fletcher, RN BSN COHN-S, who was tragically killed in a motor vehicle collision in September 2019. The purpose of the award is to honor Wanda’s passion and drive to grow the occupational health industry as an occupational health nurse manger and recognizes an occupational health nurse who provides exemplary leadership with emphasis on administration of the occupational health program and its associated roles as Clinician, Manager, Educator, Consultant and Case Manager.
For three decades, Wanda Ellithorpe-Fletcher, BSN, COHN-S, was an innovator and leader in the field of occupational health. She broke the glass ceiling for nurses and proved that nurses have the leadership skills and business acumen to fill C-suite positions beyond chief nursing officers in the healthcare industry. She was an entrepreneur, mentor, and role model in the field of occupational health.
Wanda had a collaborative leadership style and inspired her team to take risks knowing that she would be there to support them. She was gregarious and always willing to roll up her sleeves and do whatever needed to be done. Wanda epitomized a growth mindset and could teach herself anything, both in the workplace and generally in life. She never stopped learning and adopting innovative ideas and technology to improve patient care. Wanda paved the way for those who have come after her and her namesake award honors those who have taken up her mantel in providing excellent leadership and innovative care.
An independent committee reviewed this year’s submissions and awarded Chaley Shipley the inaugural award based on excellence in the following criteria:
- Delivery of patient care, and the initiation of systems that have a broad impact on the patient experience.
- Communicating with employers, patients, families, and healthcare colleagues, using examples of specific incidents or systems changes that improve communications.
- Commitment to occupational nursing as a career, using examples of participation/leadership in workplace committees, completion of certification programs, or educational advancement.
- Examples of inspiring other nurses and healthcare professionals as a role model. Inspire and organize the organization and individuals within it to give their time and talent to the surrounding community.
- Demonstrates leadership skills and is adept in business development skills to grow their program.
Chaley joined SafeWorks Illinois as an RN in 2010. She has devoted her entire 11-year career as an Occupational Health RN. She is a trusted advisor to area employers regarding their occupational health needs and OSHA compliance standards as well as implementation of other job-site health and safety programs. Chaley is one of the most advanced Occupational Health RNs in downstate Illinois and has undertaken the work necessary for the following certifications: Certified Occupational Hearing Conservationist (COHC); DATIA Certified Professional Collector Trainer; Basic Life Support Certified (BLS).
Chaley serves as SafeWorks Illinois’ internal case manager for ‘fast-tracking’ injured workers through the Illinois workers’ compensation system. She goes above and beyond to ensure that patients receive expedited care in an industry fraught with patient barriers to appropriate medical treatment. She is the central to the communication needed for referral specialist care, additional diagnostic testing, and the various other players involved in employee health situations. This means better care for patients, lower Workers’ Compensation costs, and employees returning to work as soon as possible.
Chaley had the fortune to be mentored by Wanda and has grown as both a nurse and a leader in her time at SafeWorks Illinois. She is a mentor and role model to not only those in the clinic, but to other healthcare professionals in the area. She is a strong and forceful presence in the clinic and is not afraid to voice her opinions when it comes to improving patient care. In other words, she exemplifies what this award is meant to honor.
Here is the NAOHP article about the award.