2 From Area Named Nurses of Year

By Luther Turmelle

Two area nurses' have been honored by the state Department of Administrative Services.

Barbara Dingfelder of Wallingford and Clinton resident Maureen Worley were selected as the state's Nurse of the Year winners from a field of 11 candidates, officials of the state agency said Wednesday.

Dingfelder, who works for the state Department of Public Health, was selected as the nurse administrator of the year. Worley, who is employed by the University of Connecticut's John Dempsey Hospital, won direct care nurse honors.

"Barbara and Maureen (are) shining examples of the fine caliber of the state's nurses and the exceptional service they provide to the people of Connecticut," Gov. M. Jodi Rell said.

Dingfelder works as a nurse consultant with the state Department of Public Health and works with Connecticut's 81 local health departments, advising them on nursing issues.

"It's wonderful and exciting to be recognized for my performance," said Dingfelder, who joined the Department of Public Health in 2002. "It's especially rewarding because this is the first time a public health nurse has been recognized."

Department of Public Health Commissioner J. Robert Galvin praised Dingfelder’s work.

"Barbara has been instrumental in standardizing training to local boards of health, and has taken a leadership role in creating the DPH virtual Office of Public Health Nursing,” Galvin said.

"She also advocates for people with special needs through her work on the Universal Sheltering Committee, which is working on a plan to assist residents in a natural or man-made disaster."

Worley, who has been in nursing for nearly 30 years, said she, was surprised to be honored.

"There was tremendous competition, so many quality nurses striving to serve their patients well," said Worley, who works in the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at John Dempsey Hospital.

Part of what may have made Worley stand out from the field was something she did outside of the hospital.

Worley was running at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison one day last summer when someone at the beach went into cardiac arrest.

Worley performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the man for 20 minutes before emergency personnel showed up with a defibrillator.

"They had another incident the following weekend at the beach and from that point on, I was determined to get defibrillators at every state park,” Worley said of the lobbying effort she undertook with state officials that resulted in the life-savings devices being mandated for every state park.