Scripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista’s intensive care unit nurse practitioner Charlotte Thomas was selected by the California Association for Nurse Practitioners as the recipient of its 2023 Nurse Practitioner of Distinction Award.
Thomas received the award at CANP’s annual educational conference in Monterrey, California on March 15. Thomas, who has doctorate degrees in nursing practice and nursing education science, serves as co-program director and chief of advanced practice for critical care medicine at Scripps Chula Vista.
The Nurse Practitioner of the Year Award recognizes a CANP member who demonstrates excellence in furthering the nurse practitioner role.
A South Bay resident, Thomas is a United States Army veteran who served as a combat flight medic. She worked in various nursing capacities at hospitals and health systems in Florida and Virginia before joining Scripps. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Jacksonville University in Florida and her master’s degree in nursing from the University of South Alabama, where she also earned doctorate degrees in nursing practice and nursing education science.
Thomas led Scripps’ efforts to implement a novel “model ICU care” approach, which includes multidisciplinary patient care teams and standardized, collaborative processes for improved efficiency and consistency. Following the introduction of this new approach, the number of days patients spend on ventilators and their overall length of stay in the ICU both decreased. She also developed an advanced practice provider (APP) critical care orientation training program at Scripps and has been active in recruiting and proctoring new APPs.
Beyond the ICU, Thomas created an APP procedure team to better support the hospital’s procedural needs and improve efficiencies on the medical-surgical floors. She also served as an ICU content expert on transition to practice standards for California Assembly Bill 890, which is currently in effect as law and gives nurse practitioners greater autonomy in their practice.
“Charlotte’s clinical skills, compassion and dedication have benefitted our patients and staff since the day she joined us,” said Tom Gammiere, Scripps Health’s corporate senior vice president and southern regional chief executive. “Her achievements are particularly impressive, considering they came while the U.S.-Mexico border region where Scripps Chula Vista is located was impacted by especially high numbers of COVID-19 patients.”
Thomas said she is thankful for her husband and four kids support who hear “mom has to work” so many times.
“And to my amazing team of advanced practice providers in our intensive care unit, and our medical group leadership who have encouraged us to more fully embrace the important roles that nurse practitioners play. And I appreciate Scripps Health for seeing me, valuing me, and valuing nurse practitioners and advanced practice providers,” she said while accepting the award. “This award is particularly meaningful to me, because it illustrates that using nurse practitioners in patient care can help to further health equity. This is an incredibly important concept to me. The idea that no matter who you are or where you are, the health care that you can access and receive is going to be the same. Practicing along the U.S.-Mexico border has given me a real glimpse into this. And once you see it, the impact stays with you forever.”