2022 Utah Top Nurses Nomination: Melissa Mason, Fourth Street Clinic

May 10, 2022

Article by 2022 Utah Top Nurses, Presented by the Salt Lake Tribune

Melissa Mason, Director of Nursing at Fourth Street Clinic, has an unparalleled dedication for serving Utah’s homeless population. She treats every patient with the respect and human kindness they deserve but rarely receive. She connects with patients by being real, accepting and providing care with dignity.

Melissa Mason received her BSN from the University of Utah in 2005 with an emphasis in geriatrics. She joined Fourth Street Clinic in 2014, bringing with her 12 years of hospital and ICU experience. Since joining the clinic, she has held a number of roles including Diabetic Educator, Clinic Manager, and is currently the
Director of Nursing. In addition to supervising the nursing team at the clinics, she oversees the Medical Assistants, Lab Coordinator, Clinic Scheduling, volunteer nurses, and the COVID-19 testing and vaccine teams. Melissa also is a member of Fourth Street Clinic’s Senior Management Team.

However, a standard bio doesn’t begin to describe Melissa in what she brings to her job and what she actually does each and every day. She possesses an outsized personality that she readily shares. Melissa consistently brightens everyone’s day with her wit; her humor and approach to life helps support her staff even in the most stressful situations. She sings improvised songs and has funny sayings that draw people into her bubble. Melissa Mason leads with humor, sparkles and gratitude and everyone is confident that they are her favorite

A strong communicator, Melissa is the one to call to help deescalate Fourth Street Clinic’s patients in crisis, helping them feel safe and seen while remaining ultra-calm herself. In talking to patients during emergencies, she always makes eye contact and levels her head with theirs to them to ensure she can assess the
situation. She directs the staff getting vitals, keeping her eye on charting the episode. She reports to EMS exactly what happened without notes or flaws—her attention to detail makes Melissa an outstanding health care professional. Melissa’s creativity and energy gives her the skills she needs to find solutions
to last-minute obstacles. She is quick to jump in help solve problems and give options. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Melissa’s skills were put to the test with added layers of duties. The needed critical and creative thinking to keep patients safe while mitigating risk for staff, helped Fourth Street Clinic stay on
top of surging cases among Utahns experiencing homelessness. Melissa did all this while buoying the spirit of the community health center’s staff that were asked each day to do more in restrictive PPE while assuring patient care was not diminished. She was always willing to step in to ensure providers have coverage
throughout the pandemic’s healthcare staffing shortages.

Melissa is whip smart and has extensive nursing experience, knowledge and skills. Her understanding of the complexities of homelessness gives her the acuity to teach patients to succeed in their life outside the clinic. She is also passionate about educating clinical staff, so everyone knows not just how to do
something but why they need to do it a certain way. She can recall procedures, drug regimens, and diagnoses as if it were intuitive, and provides triaged care with skill. She corrects errors with exactness, and shows the staff member how valuable they are to the work. No one wants to disappoint Melissa.

Melissa doesn’t shy away from a challenge, and thrives in an environment that is fast paced, often unpredictable, and tremendously rewarding. In fact, give Melissa a challenge and she will not only make it better, but the solution will arrive be-dazzled, have a catchy name, be covered in glitter and delivered with a
cheer, complete with pompoms. Her enthusiasm is 100% contagious.

During her tenure at Fourth Street Clinic, Melissa has been essential to implementing an improved inventory system, launching a successful diabetic management program, adding an RN educator position and working to streamline our onboarding. She sees far down the road. Do we need a vaccinating program? Would the patients be helped better by being seen in tents? Does an integrated care model solve or make problems? Can pharmacy interns write up drug monographs for MA’s? Melissa Mason questions the current methods of doing thing, then works to make it better.

She maintains morale by advocating for her staff. She does their work when needed. She finds replacements for those taking a mental health day. She invites people to share, complain, slump in a chair, or protest, all the while offering treats and an undemanding ear. She maintains the level. Whether it be a high standard or care or an unwavering commitment to patients or an open door policy, Melissa does not slip, slop, or slide.

Melissa practices nursing at a level that the profession wishes it could teach and model. Melissa Mason, is the whole package and would represent the 2022 Top Utah Nurse with skill and with justified in selecting Melissa Mason, RN as your next Utah Top Nurse.

Read more about Melissa and all the amazing nominees here