Carson gets nursing excellence award

Sandra ClarkGet Up & Go, West Knox

Joseph Carson is an engineer, but he should have been in public relations. Joe is his wife’s best advocate.


Karen Carson

Karen Carson served 12 years on the school board, several of them as chair. She was guarded with reporters, even during her campaigns. Joe was my go-to guy, and I never let him down (at least he’s still talking/emailing).

So last week he emailed the news that Karen had received the 2020 Nursing Excellence Award from East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, where she has worked for some 35 years.

Her nomination highlighted her qualifications:

How does she deliver outstanding patient care that contributes to positive patient outcomes?

“This veteran nurse has excellent communication skills with families and staff. She was instrumental in procuring our department a full-time child-life staff member by diligently tracking and providing data to justify the position. As a nurse in pediatric radiology and sedation, having a staff member dedicated to distraction and play can make a huge impact.”

How does she … improve patient satisfaction?

Karen is currently in charge of a project, which she initiated, to assist our autistic population with hospital transition and procedures. This prepares the family before they arrive, soothes patients during their visit and improves overall patient/family satisfaction.

How does she exhibit improvement efforts within her organization?

She worked closely with physicians to prepare our application for certification from the Society for Pediatric Sedation Center of Excellence. She is an employee engagement survey ambassador, enhancing communication between her peers and senior leadership.

How does she demonstrate professional growth?

Karen initiated and led studies to improve our IV skills, resulting in an increase of first-time IV starts to 90%. She developed an MRI form to assist physicians’ offices in ordering procedures correctly. And she has achieved professional designations.

Karen Carson makes time to ride her bike and exercise. She and Joe have raised three smart adult children. And she left the school board with most members on friendly terms. She wrote on her Facebook page:

“Good Morning Knox County. Sept.1 (2016) marks the official closure of my term on the Knox County Board of Education. These past 12 years of service have provided many opportunities and trials. I can honestly say that I have always enjoyed the “work” of the BoE predominantly because I believe so fervently in the mission.

“Achieving excellence in education is clearly one of the foundational stones of strong and vibrant communities. I thank you all for the opportunities presented to me over the past 12 years in office.

“I’ve been forced to stretch my thinking, met and worked with many incredibly talented and dedicated individuals, and grown in my passion for our community. … Thank you all for this tremendous chapter in my life. I’ve worked to serve you honorably, with integrity and compassion for all of our children.”

As she moves forward, Carson remains a steady leader. Read her post from March 20 after the first week of pandemic planning.

“I don’t know about everyone else but this past week has felt like a year! I’m grateful for all of my coworkers and the support we are giving to each other. My community seems to be more committed to following the CDC guidelines and I certainly appreciate that. I have managed to limit my constant influx of information on covid-19 and that seems to help.

“So today I am choosing:

  • Planning over Panic
  • Faith over Fear
  • Questioning over Quiet.

“Rest up and prepare for next week.”

Want to nominate someone for a “Get Up and Go” feature? Email sandra.clark@KnoxTNToday.com. Tell them Joe sent you.

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