Southeast Nurse of the Year 2017

Jennifer Rine

Southeast Region

Mansfield, TX Office

Jennifer Rine, BSN, RN, has been a nurse at BrightStar Care of SW Fort Worth/Burleson since the day we opened in 2010 and became our Director of Nursing shortly thereafter. In her 27 years as a nurse, Jennifer has developed a wealth of experience in nursing, from medical surgical oncology, labor and delivery, mother baby, pediatrics, home health, long term care and home infusion nursing and has applied this knowledge to help us provide the very best care to our clients.

Jennifer also embodies the qualities of a model leader and mentor. She has interviewed, coached, and trained many of the caregivers we have employed over six years—over 280 CNAs, RNs, LVNs, HHAs, and Caregivers.

Deborah Hustace, RN, MBA, BHA, OCN, PLNC, Senior Director of Clinical Operations for the BrightStar Care brand said, “Jennifer has consistent and excellent provision of care, and her mentorship to other nurses in her office and the region are some of the reasons we chose her as the BrightStar Care 2017 Southeast Nurse of the Year.”
We could not be prouder to have Jennifer lead our team, and we’ve enjoyed honoring her. Read on for the nomination letter from BrightStar Care of SW Fort Worth/Burleson Owner Andy Hussey.

The Nomination Letter

Written by: Andy Hussey, Owner, BrightStar Care SW Fort Worth/Burleson

I would like to nominate my Director of Nursing (DON), Jennifer Rine, BSN, RN, for the 2017 BrightStar Care Nurse of the Year award! I believe Jennifer personifies everything BrightStar Care demands from a DON and more! She lives and breathes our core values, demands excellence from herself and her team, is a cornerstone in both regional and state-wide BrightStar Care DON groups. She has been a mentor and coach to many new franchise DONs, as well as having served for 6 years on the Texas Association of Home Health and Hospice and four years as a board member and committee leader. Jennifer has also served on numerous BrightStar Care Clinical Committees and remains the “go-to” DON for all things Texas! Jennifer lives and breathes her passion for client care and employee education.

Jennifer was our first hired employee and joined us in November 2010 at BrightStar Care of SW Fort Worth/Burleson. She has now been with us six years and two months, a rare and outstanding accomplishment in home care!

We hired Jennifer to lead and implement our clinical vision for our company. As a new franchise with three territories, it was critical for us to have a Director of Nursing who could help build our company from the ground up and execute our vision of providing quality care in our community. We hired Jennifer as an on-call nurse (PRN) at first, two weeks in Jennifer came to me and said, “I have some news you’re not going to like!” My immediate thought was that she was quitting already! Quite the opposite, Jennifer announced she would like to join us full time and help build our vision immediately. She knew budget was tight and we as new owners had limited budget. Jennifer was so committed to BrightStar Care and our team, she offered to work for us for half pay until we could afford to pay her a full salary! I have never known an employee to be so committed to a new venture like Jennifer was and still is!

Jennifer has led our clinical team from day one with her unrelenting focus on client care, nursing standards and excellence in all we do. She initiated our adherence to Joint Commission standards from the start and single handedly created all our policies and procedures to meet state and Joint Commission requirements. Jennifer led our first Joint Commission survey in February of 2012 and we passed with flying colors. We were acknowledged at our annual franchisee conference as being one of the best-prepared franchises for Joint Commission accreditation. Jennifer has since led and maintained Joint Commission standards in our agency, achieving another almost flawless re-accreditation in late 2014, even though the surveyors came three months early!

In 2012 we set a new business growth record, and Jennifer was instrumental in this achievement. She was not only our Director of Nursing, she was our best field nurse, our national accounts field nurse and our infusion field nurse! She wore many hats and performed many roles, all to a level of clinical excellence that is hard to beat. Whilst doing this, she built our care team by onboarding 140 caregivers between our opening and December 2012, carefully making sure that each caregiver met our stringent demands for excellence in client care. Jennifer’s nursing oversight is second to none, and she can often predict issues with our clients before they happen as a result of her experience and knowledge.

Jennifer has interviewed, coached and trained many of the caregivers we have employed over six years—over 280 CNAs, RNs, LVNs, HHAs, and Caregivers. She is extremely well liked and respected by our staff. Through her dedication to her team and her duty as a practicing nurse, she has built an incredible team of caregivers, of which 27% have been with us four years or more, and 42% two years or more. These are incredible retention rates given the industry and caregiver turnover. I attribute this to the fact that Jennifer always has the caregivers’ backs, genuinely cares about them, and is available to them 24/7. Jennifer holds our staff accountable but also has a huge heart for them. I remember several years ago one of our long serving aides was facing an unsafe domestic situation. Jennifer offered mentoring and even shelter in her own home so the caregiver could have a safe environment and connections to counselling support. Truly a huge caring heart!

Here is a perspective from one of our long standing nurses who has worked for Jennifer for the last two years.

“Thank you for giving me an opportunity to express my feelings about working with Jennifer Rine. There's so much that I'm not sure where to begin. She hired me in 2015 when I was a newer nurse with limited experience wanting to care for people in their homes. Jennifer is a natural teacher and helped me lay a foundation for my career and someday, when I can pay it forward to a new nurse, I will follow Jennifer's example and hope I make her proud. She expressed to me early on that she wanted to create a supportive environment for BrightStar Care nurses and break away from the stereotype that "nurses eat their young". She held true to her word. When her nurses need help in the field, she makes herself readily available. Always encouraging. She watches for gaps in clinical knowledge and patiently teaches, ensuring that BrightStar Care nurses exemplify clinical excellence. She exhibits our core values in every way. When I look at my boss, I see a woman who does not back away from challenges and no job in our franchise is beneath her, and no goal is too high to strive for. Privately, I call her “SuperNurse.” On any given week, she can be found doing office payroll, skilled nursing visits, scheduling, attending meetings, counseling caregivers, putting out fires, delegating, taking call, and much, much more. She is usually the steady, calm presence in the storm of our busy office. I don't know how but “SuperNurse” really can leap tall buildings in a single bound and we have been blessed by her dedication and kindness. She amazes me every day. Jennifer Rine is our Director of Nursing and BrightStar Care is so fortunate to have her.
-Jenny Erickson RN BSN”

Jennifer has earned the highest level of respect from her peers, and the Clinical Team at BrightStar Care Headquarters regards her as a go-to person in Texas! She has served on numerous BrightStar Care committees and presented at many Branch Leadership conferences. Jennifer also serves the Texas Association of Home Health and Hospice. She is a very active participant and has led committees and chaired the Education Committee for the past two years. Jennifer is very passionate about her giving back to the community of nurses and homecare.

I’d like to say a few words on Jennifer’s commitment to me as a franchise owner. Not only has Jennifer been a rock for our clinical staff, she has been a rock for me as an owner. Jennifer has taught me so much and has held us all to her high standards of excellence. We have been awarded 13 awards for excellence, innovation, achievement and pioneering, in the BrightStar Care system. We have been awarded the Clinical Excellence award twice and the Infusion Excellence Award. Every one of these awards would not be without Jennifer’s dedication and hard work over the past six years.

One of the reasons I started BrightStar Care was because I wanted to provide a high level of service with quality and integrity. I can honestly say that Jennifer has held us to that in every single hour of service we have provided. That’s over 447,000 hours of service we have provided under Jennifer’s watch. We are not perfect 100% of the time, BUT that’s what Jennifer strives for in every hour of service we provide. She expects nothing less from her team. As an owner, I cannot begin to explain the peace of mind and benefit that having Jennifer with us brings. Words cannot express my gratitude to her.

The last three years has seen many changes in our agency. With the exit of one of the founding partners, the turnover in sales and office staff, and with the challenges I have faced, Jennifer has been a consistent rock for my business. Her dedication to me, to her team, and to the BrightStar brand cannot be adequately put into words. Last year was a particularly challenge year for our agency. Jennifer stepped up to the plate yet again, supporting our changes and growth plans and was instrumental in our success.

Last year, we experienced a challenging 4th quarter, and throughout all of that, Jennifer’s big heart shined through. Her gift to me for Christmas was a holiday party for our employees! Jennifer insisted we had a celebration to honor our hardworking caregivers, and so she organized a holiday party for employees and their families and personally funded the whole event! I was truly humbled and blessed to receive such a gift! I am honored and privileged to count Jennifer Rine as my Director of Nursing, my colleague, and my friend!
There are many more stories and testimonials I could write about Jennifer. It’s with these highlights that I whole-heartedly nominate her for Nurse of the Year 2017 and cannot think of a more deserving winner!