Registered nurses Juanita Lopez (left) and Kayla McPheeters brief Dina Ellwanger on overnight activities in the obstetrics department on Wednesday, May 26. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Floor by floor, department by department, Dina Ellwanger steps along in her early morning survey at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Ontario. She is the president and chief nursing officer at the Ontario hospital and she is driving force behind constant pressure to improve operations.

She tries to get another tour in before the day's end to spend time with the day shift, listening to concerns and kudos. Much of her day is spent in meetings.

Recently, the hospital was identified as a top 100 hospital among the community hospitals in the U.S.

Dina Ellwanger checks with the night shift in the emergency department before they clock out on Wednesday, May 26. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Dina Ellwanger, president of Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Ontario, makes a point in a stop in the laboratory on her early morning rounds on Wednesday, May 26. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Dina Ellwanger, president of Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Ontario, listens to an employee during a stop in the laboratory on her early morning rounds on Wednesday, May 26. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

The hallways at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Ontario are generally quiet when Dina Ellwanger makes her pre-breakfast rounds of every floor on Wednesday, May 26. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

The oncology department is quiet as Dina Ellwanger stops in before patients begin arriving on Wednesday, May 26. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Nichole Schneider, a registered nurse in the oncology department at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Ontario, listens on Wednesday, May 26, as Dina Ellwanger discusses the need to replace wooden-armed patient chairs. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Rizalyn Teves, a registered nurse in the medical-surgery department at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Ontario, takes notes during a staff briefing on Wednesday, May 26. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Catherine Garbarino, a registered nurse in the medical-surgery department at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Ontario, was surprised by a staff award during a shift-ending briefing on Wednesday, May 26. A colleague nominated her for her passionate care. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Catherine Garbarino, a registered nurse in the medical-surgery department at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Ontario, was surprised by a staff award during a shift-ending briefing on Wednesday, May 26. A colleague nominated her for her passionate care. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Shelli Scrivner, a registered nurse, catches a few moments with Dina Ellwanger in a hallway at the medical-surgery department on Wednesday, May 26. Scrivner manages that and two other departments at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Ontario. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

The night shift in the intensive care unit at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Ontario briefs Dina Ellwanger on Wednesday, May 26. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Dina Ellwanger reads a citation while presenting a surprise award to Catherine Garbarino, a registered nurse in the medical-surgery department, during a team huddle on Wednesday, May 26. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Stickers are ready on Wednesday, May 26, for people entering Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Ontario. Each person is screened for the coronavirus and then wears the sticker during their visit. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Shelves are stocked with supplies in the emergency department at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center on Wednesday, May 26. The department sees about 20,000 patients a year. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Registered nurse Jessica McBride reviews patient information with Dina Ellwanger on Wednesday, May 26 (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Registered nurse Jessica McBride reviews patient information with Dina Ellwanger on Wednesday, May 26 (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Dina Ellwanger gets an update in the hospital’s laboratory on Wednesday, May 26. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Dina Ellwanger talks with Tonya Colomina, a phlebotomist in the hospital’s laboratory on Wednesday, May 26. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

On an early morning round through Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Ontario, Dina Ellwanger rides the elevator to her next department on Wednesday, May 26. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Dina Ellwanger participates in an early morning “safety huddle” at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Ontario on Wednesday, May 26. The huddles provide a check with every department at the hospital to learn of issues that need attention. (The Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Dina Ellwanger, president of Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Ontario in May 2021. (Enterprise/Les Zaitz)

Contact editor Les Zaitz by email: [email protected]

RELATED COVERAGE:

Passion for patient care puts Ontario hospital in elite company

Ontario hospital ranks in top 100 nationwide in national study

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