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A Look Back At Some of Our Past Celebration of Nurses Nominees: Spirit

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Ashley Nelson Registered Nurse

Ashley has a heart like I have never seen. She selflessly dedicates her time to not only Baptist ER in Clay County, but also Community Hospice of Northeast Florida. She has previously worked in the children’s hospice center at Wolfson Children’s Center, and was a traveling nurse for a couple of years.
No matter how many hours she spends at the hospital or how rough her day was, she always has positive things to say about her patients. It takes a special kind of nurse to work in hospice care, and Ashley exemplifies the delicate qualities needed to care for those patients and their families. Her selflessness, caring nature, calmness and gentleness is what makes her such a fantastic nurse.
She talks about how there is no other profession for her and that she could never dream of being anything except a nurse. Her eight years in the industry are just the beginning for her. She has a lifetime of caring left to do.

April Starling Assistant Nurse Manager

April is a veteren who served in the Gulf War. After the Military she returned to school to obtain her nursing degree. She is now working on her BSN and already enrolled in the Masters program for next year.
She is inspiring and motivating. She leads by example. Her staff look to her for direction.
April is an amazing nurse who deserves this award.

A Look Back At Some of Our Past Celebration of Nurses Nominees: Inspiration

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Dr. Rachel Thomas
Professor, Ph-D, ARNP-BC for Dept of Health

Dr. Thomas is a professor for FSCJ BSN Program, a mother, a wife, a dog lover, a ARNP for Dept Health, healer for others, and truly an inspiration as a leader to assisting nurses to become professionals. Dr. Thomas provided excellent guidance throughout the BSN program at FSCJ while opening the students eyes & ears to furthering their nursing careers. While she does not claim to be an expert as a manager, she is an excellent mentor for all nurses. She works hard in out Northwest Jacksonville community to promoting healthy lifestyles. I truly inspire to one day grow up and become as great of a mentor, mother, healer, leader and teacher as she has been to me.

Polly Hensley
Assistant Director of Nursing

Polly functions in a nursing supervisor (Assistant Director of Nursing/ADON) role at Baptist Medical Center South. She definitely functions day in and day out in the trenches through her support to the entire hospital on day, nights and weekends. She has a “can do” attitude about every challenge and obstacle that develop. Often Polly is trying to fill in staffing needs, balance the schedule and place staff and patients into the most appropriate and safest locations, all while answering the phone and triaging multiple issues at the same time. She is a Magnet Champion and always the first person to encourage fellow nurses to participate in Shared Governance and to share their ideas and suggestions. She inspires everyone she contacts to be a better co-worker and team member. This year Polly established a RN mentorship program for newly hired RN’s. The goal is RN retention and relationship development. Polly decorates bulletin boards and offices for each holiday and event.

Go Outside and Play

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There are many places around the First Coast to enjoy nature with kids. Here is a list of some of our favorite spots to go outside and play!

Tree Hill Nature Center: 7152 Lone Star Road, Jacksonville FL 32211 / 904.724.4646
Open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, this nature center has a wonderful native animal exhibit, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, and a Florida natural History Museum. You can take a hike on its 50 acres of trails, right in the heart of Arlington. For more info visit

Kathyrn Abbey Hannah Park: Wonderwood Dr., Jacksonville / 904.249.4700
Open Monday through Sunday, this city park has everything from little cabins you can rent, to over 20 miles of bike and hiking trails, to a freshwater lake with kayak rentals. There is of course the pristine beach to explore as well. For more info visit

Guyana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve
This nature reserve houses 2 aquatic preserves, 1 national park, 2 state parks, 2 state forests, and 3 conservation areas. Needless to say, you can get lost in this gorgeous wilderness. There is an education center to tour before setting out on your own adventure. Visit for more info.

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