Abrazo nurse honored for life-saving action

Abrazo Arrowhead Campus Tenet Hero Shelby Wirtanen, shown with a certificate, is congratulated by nurse Chrissy Salazar, emergency room director; Stephen Garner, hospital chief executive officer; and Julie Bowman, chief nursing officer. (Abrazo Health/Submitted)

Quick thinking to save a severely injured patient’s life helped earn a Tenet Hero award for nurse Shelby Wirtanen, who is an ER charge

nurse and stroke coordinator at Abrazo Arrowhead Campus.

The award is part of hospital parent company Tenet Healthcare’s annual recognition program.

The Tenet Heroes program celebrates individuals who make a meaningful impact within their communities and go above and beyond their daily responsibilities. Nominated by hospital leadership and/or colleagues, honorees exemplify the company’s core values and commitment to its mission.

Wirtanen was recognized for many reasons, including her quick response when a patient arrived in the Arrowhead ER with a knife wound that sliced his throat from ear to ear, near the carotid artery. Without her quick coordination of care, the patient would not have survived.

“Shelby has gone above and beyond not only for the emergency department but for our hospital,” said Julie Bowman, Abrazo Arrowhead chief nursing officer.

“She is very involved at Abrazo Arrowhead and is the co-chair of our shared governance committee. She exhibits everything you envision when you think about what a nurse should be.”

The award nomination noted that Wirtanen’s compassion and day-to-day interactions with challenging patients never deter her from providing quality care. She is an exceptional nurse and never lets the stress of the emergency department or pandemic surges interfere with her work.

“Shelby is a role model that other members of her team look up to,” said nurse Chrissy Salazar, Abrazo Arrowhead emergency room director.

“Anytime another nurse needs assistance with a challenging situation, Shelby is there without complaint and willing to help. She is the definition of a team player.”

A Peoria resident, Wirtanen is among nearly 70 heroes that Tenet is recognizing in its facilities across the United States.

“Shelby deserves all of the recognition for being an exceptional nurse and someone that her leaders, peers and patients look up to,” said Stephen Garner, CEO of Abrazo Arrowhead Campus. “We truly appreciate her commitment to her patients and colleagues.”