2009 News Stories

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Valerie Heu
On March 27, before an anxious audience in the Mabel Smyth Auditorium, QMC President Art Ushijima announced Valerie Heu, Queen Emma Clinics Medical Assistant, as the 2008 QMC Employee of the Year.
Cindy Kamikawa, RN, VP of Nursing and CNO, emceed the awards ceremony—the 22nd year the honor has been handed out. In similar fashion to last year’s event, the 2008 EOMs sat on stage while their respective managers spoke on behalf of their employees.

Alan Terada, Manager of Clinical Services Manager, recalled an experience with his son where they had to come up with words that best described the qualities of a role model—values that he recognized in Val. Some of the words they came up with were: dependable, honest, consistent, accountable, a lifelong learner. Hawaiian values such as malama, ho‘omau and kuleana were also mentioned.

A Kailua native, Val attended Mid-Pacific Institute and Kapiolani Community College. While at KCC she began at Queen’s as a volunteer. In 1987, she worked as a call-in. She then spent a decade with radiology before moving into her role as a medical assistant at QEC.

Val’s role is significant at QEC. She has been the point person for many of QEC’s specialty clinics, demonstrating an ability to adapt to the different specialists and clinics she coordinates.  The units she has worked with include: Infectious Disease, Renal, Orthopedics, Cardiology, Congestive Heart Failure, Neurology, Dermatology and Sports Medicine. She also serves as Unit Council chairperson for QEC and is a “super user” for Logician, the hospital’s electronic medical record. Val has also spent time in Moloka’i, working with doctors in a small outpatient clinic housed in modular buildings. Currently, she is involved with the ongoing renovations in QEC.

“Val has done more than anyone else to make herself the best she can possibly be…including bribing doctors with food,” said Kathy Coughlin with a laugh. “She is the ultimate team player. It’s wonderful to see her win.”

Employee of the Year CeremonyVal’s family was there in full force, hidden away during the ceremony. Val’s aunt, Connie Tahara, who attended the October EOM ceremony, beamed with pride for her niece: “It’s fabulous to see her grow up and achieve success like this,” she said.

”We’re all excited and proud for Val,” said Robin Mann, a longtime family friend. Val displays noteworthy qualities, “not just as an employee, but as a person with her family and friends,” Robin added. “She is very compassionate and caring. I feel like she represents the mission of Queen’s.”

As the EOY, Val receives a free year of reserved parking, a personalized koa box and a travel voucher. She also received a $2,000 after tax gift from a fund set up by QMC President Art Ushijima in honor of his parents. Additionally, Val gives a big mahalo to everyone for their nominations and support. She also thanks the EOM/EOY selection committee for the making the event a memorable one.

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