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Spartanburg Regional nurses honored with prestigious Palmetto Gold award

Spartanburg Regional nurses honored with prestigious Palmetto Gold award

By Staff reports on April 29, 2024

Eight Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System nurses are among the top 100 nurses across South Carolina.

These nurses—Brittany Cole, Jennifer Smith, Michelle Flowers, Shanetta Johnson, Christina Estes, Shelly McMillan, Wendi McLemore and Jaurie Russell—were recognized with this year’s South Carolina Palmetto Gold Award, an honor recognizing clinicians for commitment to excellence in the nursing field.

These recipients demonstrate leadership, care and commitment to patients, families and colleagues; and promote excellence in their profession and within our community. Additionally, they have gone above and beyond in providing safe, quality health care for our patients.  


Brittany Pace Cole, MSN, RN  

Brittany Cole has been an Emergency Center and Behavioral Health department nurse manager at Spartanburg Medical Center for three years. She has been in nursing since 2015 and is a previous Daisy Award winner.

In her current role, she supervises nursing staff, oversees patient care, makes management and budgetary decisions, sets work schedules, coordinates meetings, sets standards of behavior, and recruits and trains staff.

Cole enjoys taking care of people when they feel alone, scared and anxious. She provides them with a smile and compassionate care to help them see that their hardship is only temporary.

"I became a nurse to provide care, sympathy and compassion," Cole said. "I tell people I did not decide to become a nurse. I was born knowing that I was designed to be a nurse; I am simply fulfilling my duty."  


Jennifer Smith, MSN, RN  

Jennifer Smith has been a clinical charge nurse in the Emergency Center at Cherokee Medical Center for more than 10 years and has been in nursing for 25 years. In 2021, she received the Outstanding Nursing Leadership Award while obtaining her master's in nurse leadership at Western Carolina University.  

As a charge nurse, she works to review assignments and departmental needs, collaborates with directors to assess, evaluate and implement departmental duties, and provides direct care to patients and families.

Smith went into nursing to provide compassionate care to patients and families and enjoys being a part of a team that serves others and provides excellent care while allowing personal growth.

"I love emergency nursing," Smith said. "I love the team and organization I work with. I love providing direct patient care and working with families."  


Michelle Flowers, BSN, RN 

Michelle Flowers has been an ICU charge nurse at Pelham Medical Center for more than seven years and has been in the nursing field since 2004.

At Pelham Medical Center, Flowers is responsible for direct patient care and responds to Code Blue, Rapid Response and Inpatient Code Stroke alerts within the hospital.

She became a nurse to help people through some of their most challenging moments in life.

"I can provide support, help minimize anxiety and advocate for their wellness and safety," she said of patients. "The part of nursing that I enjoy most is the variety. The patients constantly change, and there is always something new to learn."  


Shanetta Johnson, BSN, RN  

Shanetta Johnson has been a charge nurse with acute care for the past five years at Spartanburg Medical Center – Mary Black Campus and has worked in nursing for the past 20 years.

As a charge nurse, Johnson serves as a resource and directs and supervises staff caring for patients. She works to help coordinate patient admissions, discharges and other patient needs.

She finds witnessing a patient's recovery during hospitalization the most rewarding part of her job.

"I wanted to become a nurse to help others. Growing up, I experienced the care and compassion nurses had for my loved ones during their hospitalizations," Johnson said. “This inspired me to want to give back and provide the same love and kindness that was shown to my family, leading me to focus on providing excellent patient care."  


Christina Nicole Estes, MTS, RN  

Christina Estes has been a clinical educator with Spartanburg Regional's Nursing Education department for the past 10 years and has worked in nursing for more than 17 years.

As a clinical educator, Estes mentors and teaches new and experienced nurses as they develop their nursing careers, enabling them to provide patients with the best possible care. She does this by teaching and educating them on how to provide safe, effective, efficient and holistic nursing care while supporting patients.

As a nurse, Estes enjoys advocating for others and "helping light the way."

"I became a nurse to be light during the dark times of illness. I enjoy helping others in their time of need. Everyone deserves individualized nursing care and to be cared for personally," Estes said. "As I have grown in my career, I realized I wanted to pour into the next generation of nurses and teach them the importance of patient advocacy and excellent patient care."  


Shelly McMillan, DNP, RN 

Shelly McMillan has worked as the Director of Nursing Operations for Spartanburg Medical Center's Nursing Administration for the past seven years and has worked in nursing for 15 years.

She is a past DAISY Nurse Leader of the Year and current co-chair of Leadership Spartanburg.

As a director, McMillan oversees work in the departments of staffing and labor management, resource pool, nursing administrative supervisors, nursing education, nursing student services and inpatient clinical nurse leaders.

McMillan enjoys serving her community in various ways, including advocating for patients and families, developing new initiatives and helping usher our healthcare system into the future.

"From a young age, I watched my mother work as a nurse providing care for others. I saw the value and impact she made on many lives," McMillan said. "She instilled in me a strong work ethic and desire to care for others in their most vulnerable times. These principles are the foundation that continues to drive my daily work."  


Wendi McLemore, BSN, RN  

Wendi McLemore has worked as an assistant nurse manager in the ICU and acute care division and has worked in nursing for the past nine years.

McLemore oversees the onboarding and orientation of new hires. She also manages daily clinical operations, assists with coordinating staff, is certified to perform ultrasound IV insertions, and is a member of multiple committees that develop and optimize hospital processes. She is also a past DAISY Award winner.

Nursing is her passion because of how she can positively impact so many lives.

“I was diagnosed with a chronic medical condition as a child, so I had a lot of exposure to the healthcare profession. I was able to experience first-hand the positive impact a nurse could have," she said. “I became a nurse because I wanted to make a difference in people's lives and support them during some of the most difficult times of their lives.”    


Jaurie Russell, BSM, RN  

Jaurie Russell has worked as a nursing administrative supervisor at Cherokee Medical Center for the past four years and has worked in nursing for the past 12 years.  

As a supervisor, she manages patient flow and staffing, and she serves as a resource for nursing staff in determining appropriate nursing interventions. She is also a previous DAISY Award winner. She loves the variety nursing provides and the joy of helping others.  

"I was not the person who grew up always wanting to be a nurse; I always wanted to be a veterinarian. However, when I found out I was eligible for the nursing program at the college I was attending, I decided to pursue it," Russell said. "I never imagined how that spur-of-the-moment decision would change my life. Once I started classes, I fell in love with every aspect of nursing."