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Hospital Nurse Director Receives Award


Estrella “Teya” Pillar, RN, MPA, director of Tillamook County General Hospital’s obstetrics and surgical services departments, was recently honored with the Distinguished Career Award by the Northwest Organization of Nurse Executives (NWONE).

A registered nurse since 1969, her career includes experience in obstetrics and surgery clinical care and leadership that spans more than four decades and two continents. Teya came to Tillamook Hospital in 1997 from Kaiser Permanente where she had been a nurse manager.

A forward-thinking nurse with both clinical and leadership skills, Teya blazed a number of trails toward excellence in patient care and safety. She was a member of the design teams for the electronic medical records programs implemented at Tillamook and throughout Adventist Health. Through her participation with the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN), she helped develop the nationally recognized “time out” process that pauses before starting a surgical procedure to make sure that the correct patient is about to undergo the correct procedure on the correct site. Tillamook Hospital’s surgical and obstetrics departments have maintained high quality scores in key measurement areas under her leadership.

A number of clinical staff have been mentored by Teya and encouraged to pursue continuing education through advanced degrees and specialty certifications. This has resulted in higher levels of patient care as well as enhanced employee satisfaction.

“In 43 years as a professional nurse, I have learned many things,” Teya shares. “For me, nursing is a calling. My focus is always on the patient and their family who are looking to me as their nurse for love, care and guidance. We who are nurses need to continually commit ourselves to this calling.”

With plans to retire in November 2012, Teya will have more time with her family, which includes husband Bob, four grown children and three grandchildren. She enjoys quilting, gardening and horses.

“Throughout her career, Teya has set the standard for nursing leadership by exemplifying clinical excellence,” shares Karen Kellar, hospital vice president for patient care. “She mentors her staff and expects the best from them, never wavering in her high expectations of them. Our hospital and community have benefitted from her commitment to quality and our mission of healing.”

Northwest Organization of Nurse Executives (NWONE), founded in 1996, is a nonprofit, membership association serving all levels of nursing leadership. The Mission of NWONE is to advance the leadership contribution of nurses in creating health care solutions to serve our communities. For more information, visit their web site at