2023 Nurse of the Year

Kimberly DuBore, BSN, RN

We are delighted to honor Kimberly DuBore, BSN, RN as our 2023 Rainier Olympic Nurses Association Nurse of the Year. Kimberly was honored at a special plaque ceremony at Harbor Regional Hospital in June 2023.

Kimberly was nominated by her peers for her passion in advancing her practice, her exceptional patient care and her support of fellow nurses and future nurses. Kimberly has charted her own course as a nurse, taking advantage of opportunities when they arise and searching them out if they don’t. Many of her opportunities came when a colleague or mentor recognized her exceptional skills and encouraged her to take on a new challenge. Kimberly does not shy away from a challenge.

Kimberly came to nursing “by accident”. After discharging from the military, she was working in the paper industry and beginning to study electrical engineering – then the mill closed when she was six months pregnant. When a door closes, Kimberly looks for the next opportunity. She signed up to attend nursing school through a retraining program. As she thought about nursing, she was drawn to the idea of the vastness of opportunities for nurses. “You can do all kinds of things.” 
Kimberly is an advocate for her colleagues and patients but she is also a strong advocate for herself. When the education program would only pay for two years, she worked with her fellow students to get an extension to complete her RN degree.

During her last year of nursing school, Kimberly decided to apply for a CNA job at Harbor Regional Health (then Grays Harbor Community Hospital). While working during nursing school was uncommon due to the rigor of the program, Kimberly knew that it was important to get her foot in the door. She told the CNO “This is my interview. I want to find out if this is the place I want to work.” At the time, the hospital was only hiring 5-6 of the new graduates and Kimberly wanted to be one of those. She was hired as a registered nurse at Grays Harbor Community Hospital in 1996.

After completing her associates degree at Grays Harbor College, a mentor strongly encouraged her to pursue a bachelors degree. The cost of continuing her education was a significant barrier but her mentor encouraged her to apply for a program with the Department of Health scholarship. It paid 100% of your tuition, if you provided direct patient care after you graduated. If you did not follow through with your commitment, you had to pay it back plus 10%. This program provided her with the opportunity to complete her Bachelors of Nursing degree from St. Martin’s University debt free.
Kimberly started her nursing career in med/surg and worked in the pain clinic. After becoming familiar with sedation, she was approached by a colleague to apply for an operating room position. While reluctant at first, she ended up having to advocate and prove that she was the best candidate for the position.

She became “the vascular guru” and radiology began calling her in to help. Always looking to improve patient care, Kimberly saw the need for a position in radiology for a nurse. She literally wrote the job description for the PICC/Imaging Nurse position that she now holds. This position has facilitated bringing the procedures that need image guiding out of the operating room. She brought in pain management. 

Kimberly talks to every patient who is getting an invasive procedure to make sure they have the opportunity to have education provided by a nurse, to ask questions and most importantly, to provide reassurance that she will be there with them through the procedure. “Tell them what’s happening before it happens and again as it’s happening.” She also knows the importance of providing education to the family support system.

In addition to working at the hospital, Kimberly works per diem for Goldstar Vascular Access, Inc to provide outsourced services to Olympia and Seattle area hospitals and she works as a preceptor for the medical supply company, BD to teach procedures and device training nationwide. “I love to teach.”  

Kimberly also has her own business. In partnership with a radiologist and a fellow nurse, she started a facial aesthetic company four years ago. Based out of a day spa, they treat hyperhidrosis, and provide facial aesthetics and B12 injections among other services.

In addition to her multiple roles as a nurse, Kimberly volunteers to support future nurses. In Grays Harbor, she presents to high school students about pursuing a career in healthcare. She wants students to understand the diversity of career opportunities within healthcare and encourages them to explore scholarships. She also helped create a college in the high school program in the local school district including a certified nursing assistant program and a college credit medical terminology class.

Kimberly has also volunteered with a local Native American tribe. She identified a patient who needed a port and helped advocate for her care. With the tribal member living an hour outside town, Kimberly was able to support the local nurses with training and policy guidance. 
Kimberly is always looking to support young nurses. She encourages them to “take every advantage for any educational opportunity. Because the one thing no one can take away from you is your education.” She also encourages them to be strong advocates for themselves and their patients and to get a strong foundation in med/surg before specializing.

Always looking for ways to advance her practice, Kimberly is currently pursuing her Vascular Access Board Certification and networking nationwide with the leaders in vascular nursing.

Outside of nursing, Kimberly and her husband love to travel and spend time outdoors. She also loves a good trip to the casino. She has two adult daughters. Her oldest is currently stationed in Europe and her youngest is completing her graduate degree at Central Washington University.