HEALTHCARE HEROES -- Finalist Spotlight -- Ashel Kruetzkamp Friday February 7, 2014 Ashel Kruetzkamp, St. Elizabeth Ft. Thomas Emergency Department Nurse Manager, has a positive, can-do attitude and a visible impact on her department; setting an example for her staff, peers, and others throughout the organization and community. This, along with her recent strides in the fight against Northern Kentucky’s heroin problem, has led to Ashel’s Healthcare Heroes nomination by the Cincinnati Business Courier under the manager category. Ashel has inspired her staff to achieve a new level of care in the Emergency Department (ED). Using, for instance, her leadership and talents to get her staff involved in a research project with the Ft. Thomas Intensive Care Unit that involves nurse-to-nurse hand off communication to improve the continuity of care. She is committed to her department and it shows in the way she rolls up her sleeves and works along-side them as needed – whether day, night or weekend. As a passionate leader, Ashel also sees opportunities in the community, and as such, has stepped up in identifying the area’s heroin problem. Before the heroin issue became known on both sides of the river, Ashel noticed a problem and began collecting data in 2010, clearly showing the heroin problem exists and is growing. She was one of the first healthcare professionals to join a community task force on heroin and now focuses on increasing awareness and educating nurses and the community on the impact of heroin. In her own words, “Heroin is hugely impacting our community and we need to make the community aware, provide community education and resources. Facts are an important part of the awareness. Many in the community don’t even realize that heroin is as big as it is because it has not impacted them yet. And I hope for many it never does.” Since identifying the problem back in 2010, Ashel has been a frequent source for media interviews as well as industry and community panels to discuss this growing problem in both Northern Kentucky and Hamilton County.