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UM Health-West Presents Bill Barkeley Pinnacle of Achievement Award To Registered Nurse Rita Garvelink

University of Michigan Health-West presented this year’s Bill Barkeley Pinnacle of Achievement Award to Rita Garvelink, RN, BSN in Interventional Radiology and Neurointerventional Radiology at the Vitality Gala. The award recognizes individuals who do extraordinary work across one of four categories: research, innovation, safety and legacy. Garvelink was chosen for her exceptional service to the hospital and patients with unrivaled passion and kindness.

“The Bill Barkeley Pinnacle of Achievement Award is our most prestigious recognition. This is the first time the award has gone to someone other than its namesake. I can’t imagine a better recipient than Rita,” said Dr. Peter Hahn, president and CEO of UM Health-West.

Garvelink, who has been serving the hospital and patients for 51 years, expressed her thoughts on receiving the award, “I am known in my own department as a good hand holder. We have many changes that are always constantly happening. But the one thing that certainly should never ever change is the kindness and compassion and the care that we give our patients.”

Steve Polega, chief nursing officer at UM Health-West, praised Garvelink’s exceptional work, “I didn’t nominate Rita for her time in the job, although 50 years plus is remarkable. I nominated Rita for how she spent those 50 years. She shows us exactly what it’s like to be a nurse, that caring, compassionate, kind person. She makes us all want to be better, and she inspires me every day.”

Video: Rita Garvelink, RN, BSN receives Bill Barkeley Pinnacle of Achievement Award

Garvelink’s mother and sister were also nurses at UM Health-West when it was known as Metro Health and Grand Rapids Osteopathic Hospital. Her mother inspired her to become a nurse with her story of staying with a patient throughout the night and saving her life. Garvelink said, “It’s always the little things that the patient remembers, whether it’s a warm blanket, or someone holding their hand, or maybe even praying with them. They remember those things, and they remember the care, compassion and kindness that one offers.”

The Bill Barkeley Pinnacle of Achievement Award sets a new standard for the highest levels of achievement at UM Health-West. Congratulations to Rita Garvelink on this great accomplishment.