Tony Bollhorst, COPD Navigator for Respiratory Care, has been named the 2018 NHRMC Employee of the Year.
In a health care system of more than 7,000 employees, it’s a significant achievement to be honored as a monthly Employee of Excellence. To stand out among the 12 honorees is a tribute to how much Tony does for the healthcare system and, primarily, for his patients.
Tony’s role is to help his patients stop smoking. This is one of the most significant changes a patient can make to improve their health. The importance of this initiative cannot be underestimated.
Tony’s interest in smoking cessation was ignited by the death of his favorite uncle. At 58 years old, his uncle, dying in a hospital bed, asked Tony to help him.
“I didn’t know how to help him,” Tony said, “but I was determined to help as many people as I could.”
Tony does this by connecting with each patient on a personal level, developing that relationship, and ensuring their improved health.
“This is not something Tony learned in a guidebook for COPD navigators,” said John Gizdic, NHRMC President & CEO. “His personal investment in each patient demonstrates the very fiber of who he is.”
“It just comes naturally to me,” Tony said. “I never even realized that I was doing anything special.”
But his patients noticed. When they couldn't afford nicotine patches, Tony enrolled them in a program that supplied free patches. When there was a delay between discharge and the patients receiving patches at home, Tony developed a plan for NHRMC to pay for the patches in the interim.
Tony freely gives out his cell phone number, and "his" patients come to rely on him as a friend and confidante. They call him to ask questions, or to boast about how long it has been since their last cigarette.
Tony rewards them with certificates and gift cards to celebrate milestones. He routinely visits patients in their homes on his own time to help them troubleshoot their nebulizer or oxygen tank or even fix their lawnmower. He will do anything that he can to positively impact these patients' lives.
Tony Bollhorst is helping NHRMC fulfill the mission of Leading Our Community to Outstanding Health. Congratulations to the 2018 NHRMC Employee of the Year!
Recent past winners
NHRMC’s 2017 Employee of the Year: Sandy Andrews
NHRMC’s 2016 Employee of the Year: Sonia Bordeaux