Special to Hawaii 24/7 by Elena Cabatu | Hilo Medical Center Community Relations Manager
East Hawaii Regional Board vice chair and Hospice of Hilo executive director Brenda Ho and Ka’u Hospital director of nursing Nona Wilson for receiving the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Faces of Nursing award earlier this month.
Ho and Wilson were among the top 50 nurses in the state recognized by UH Manoa’s School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene and Friends of UH Manoa Nursing.
The award showcases nurses who make a difference in the lives of individual patients, their organization or their community through their dedication to quality patient care, teaching, research and/or community outreach.
“On behalf of the region, I congratulate Brenda Ho and Nona Wilson on their award,” said Howard N. Ainsley, East Hawaii Regional CEO of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation. “This recognition is a testament to the quality of leadership we have guiding our nursing staff and region.”
“Nona is fiercely dedicated to outstanding quality patient care and that dedication has enriched every place she has worked,” said Merilyn Harris, Ka’u Hospital administrator. “As Ka’u Hospital’s director of nursing she has shown unflagging commitment to our mission to make our hospital the best small rural hospital that we can be for our community. We are very proud of her.”
Wilson has been the director of nursing at Ka’u Hospital since 2005. She earned her associates degree in nursing in 1980 and her bachelors in nursing in 1982 from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. In 1991, Wilson received a Masters Degree in hospital administration at Central Michigan University.
Wilson served as the director of emergency services and after hours care at Kaiser Permanente on Oahu before retiring in December 1999.
After moving to the Big Island, Wilson served as the Big Island Clinical Director for Nurse Finders. Prior to her nursing career, she was a professional entertainer and airline stewardess until the age of 37. She says she always knew she wanted to be a nurse from the time she was 10 years old and had to care for her grandmother who lived with rheumatoid arthritis.
Ho has been executive director at Hospice of Hilo since 1991 and an original member of the East Hawaii Regional Board of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation since 2007. She earned her bachelors degree in nursing in 1986 from William Jewel College in Missouri. In 1996, Ho was awarded her Masters in nursing from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with an emphasis in Nursing Administration.
Prior to joining Hospice of Hilo, she worked on The Queen’s Medical Center medical surgical unit.