Two LifeFlight nurses land national awards

Two Vanderbilt LifeFlight nurses have been recognized by their industry peers and been named national flight program director of the year and national flight nurse of the year and were recognized at award ceremonies in Texas held this past week.

Jeanne Yeatman, R.N., M.B.A, program director for Vanderbilt LifeFlight, has been selected as the Air Medical Program Director of the Year by the Association of Air Medical Services Air Medical Transportation Association. Lis Henley, R.N., and a LifeFlight base manager, has been chosen by the Air Surface Transport Nurses Association as the recipient of the 2005 Katz-Mason Award, recognizing an individual that has had a significant impact on transport nursing.

Yeatman has served as program director for LifeFlight for almost three years (and a flight nurse for more than 13 years), overseeing some of the most aggressive growth the program has seen since its inception on July 12, 1984. Under her leadership LifeFlight has implemented a fixed wing flight program, has added two new bases outside of

Nashville, and has purchased three state-of-the-art helicopters at a cost of $5.4 million each. She oversees a department with more than 100 employees that provides an integrated health care delivery system including emergency communications, rotor, fixed and ground transportation.

Kevin High, R.N., EMT, a flight nurse with LifeFlight, lead the charge to nominate Yeatman for the award.

“While all of her accomplishments in building the program are noteworthy; what makes Jeanne special are handwritten notes to employees and customers,” High wrote in his nomination. “Maintaining a hectic schedule that includes clinical shifts AND keeping a ‘normal’ schedule as a wife and mother. There are many outstanding directors in the air medical industry but none more deserving than Jeanne for this outstanding award. “

Sandy Jones, R.N., EMT-P, echoed High’s comments.

“We’ve worked together for more than 16 years. I’ve never worked with anyone that has the work ethic she does. No matter what she is doing she wants to be the best at it; whether that’s flight nursing, management or being a mother,” Jones said. “She has made some tough decisions over the past few years that have shown a lot of courage; things other people would have ignored or let go. There a just a handful of people in this business that are of this caliber.”

Danny Fleming, EMT-P, assistant director of EMS for





TN, said that Yeatman was one of the “most customer focused people that I deal with.”

“She works extremely hard at maintaining relationships in LifeFlight’s referral area,” Fleming said. “She values my opinion as a customer, a paramedic and as an

EMS professional.”

Yeatman, who grew up in


County, lives in

Brentwood and has a five-year-old daughter, Haley and is married to Kevin Kercheval. She holds multiple degrees, including an M.B.A from




“I am just truly blessed to have this job,” she said. “I can’t imagine doing anything else. It is the most incredible job a nurse can have without having gone to medical school.”

Henley, who was also nominated by her co-workers at LifeFlight, is being recognized as the Katz Mason Award winner due to her significant contributions with flight programs in the air medical community. She marks the second LifeFlight nurse to ever achieve this award, with Sandy Jones receiving it in 1999.

Elisabeth is credited with taking on leadership roles such as organizing and coordinating chart review, organizing and coordinating the QI/QA committee, assisting with the CAMTS committee, organizing evaluation processes, acting as a mentor and preceptor for current and new employees, and most notably, starting a new base for the program in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Henly has been involved with emergency medical services in central and western

Tennessee, southern

Kentucky, and northern

Alabama for many years.

“Her fellow team members describe her as ‘…true to her principles and goals of the overall mission which is quality, accessible patient care,” said Denise Treadwell, CRNP, on behalf of the ASTNA Nominating Committee and the Board of Directors. “However, the best description of her hard work and conviction to this profession was most evident in their closing remarks, she said. "…I can think of no better descriptor for Elisabeth than the one bestowed upon her by colleagues at a recent community event. ‘Lis is a one in a million nurse who continues to contribute significantly to the betterment of her own community and the air medical transport community as a whole thru plain hard work and great leadership’."