• 81°

Local nurse wins community service award

HELPING PICAYUNE: Nurse Robin Montalbano is board certified in emergency and critical care nursing, and is also receiving recognition for her outstanding community service from the University of South Alabama College of Nursing. Photo by Dart Spiers

HELPING PICAYUNE: Nurse Robin Montalbano is board certified in emergency and critical care nursing, and is also receiving recognition for her outstanding community service from the University of South Alabama College of Nursing.
Photo by Dart Spiers

The University of South Alabama College of Nursing will present Robin Montalbano, the Director of Emergency Services at Highland Community Hospital, with a Community Service Award at the university’s Nursing Convocation in Mobile, Ala. on Friday, Dec. 12.

According to the USA College of Nursing, the award is being given to Montalbano based on her exemplary work in bringing nursing to the community. Montalbano was raised in Picayune and has worked in the area as a nurse for 21 years. She has spent nearly 18 of those 21 years at Highland.

“I’ve grown up with this community,” said Montalbano, “My heart is here at Highland with these people.”

In addition to the community service award, Montalbano is double board certified in both emergency and critical care nursing, although she maintains a humble demeanor.

“I don’t like to talk about myself,” said Montalbano, “To me, all the things I do are things that we should do.”

Her involvement with the community includes coordinating a pediatric safety fair every July. The event is free and features fun activities for children in addition to safety information for parents. Last year’s fair was centered on a campaign urging members of the community not to text and drive. Nurses were asked to craft a slogan on the dangers of distracted driving, and the winning slogan – “Don’t be a ‘textistic’” – was printed on a bracelet and passed out to participants.

In addition to the driving safety campaign, parents were also given general safety information on poison control, fires and drowning. At the fair, donated child safety seats and bicycle helmets were given to families with children who needed them.

Montalbano has also organized 5k runs for First Baptist Church and Picayune Main Street, as well as bicycle ride fundraisers for diabetes and the children’s hospital. She has given lectures to JROTC students during the summer months to warn of the dangers of dehydration. Montalbano has participated in drug education programs for the local schools, and she has also visited health classes to discuss the experiences and expectations of being a nurse.

In addition to her community service, Montalbano has recently helped institute a code stroke protocol at Highland Community Hospital.

The protocol is designed for rapid assessment and intervention, and it allows stroke patients who visit the hospital to be treated and transported emergently within 90 minutes, said Montalbano, who added that the protocol had already been used effectively.

“We want the community to know that we are stroke ready here,” said Montalbano.