Position: Director of Case Management
Organization: Fountain Valley Regional Hospital
What role does your nominee have in senior care and senior care issues?
Dayna Ayala comes from a long history of dedicated service to patients, their families, and the healthcare team with incredible service excellence and a desire to create the best outcomes in all situations. She continually strives to improve the process and promote an engagement of exemplary care that far surpasses normal day to day operations in the healthcare field. She is admired by those she serves and has been recognized for her successes in Nursing and achievable outcomes which promote the growth of her department and her team.
Through collaboration and innovation, she has achieved promoting and maintaining a stellar team of case managers, social workers, and an incredible delivery of patient care to the population she serves. She is recognized as an asset, a strength, and the future of leadership at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center, widely respected by physicians, administration, and colleagues.
Dayna was raised in both California and Wyoming. It was in Wyoming, as a mother of three, that she decided to pursue a career in nursing and through hard work and dedication she achieved her degree as a Registered Nurse.
She worked full time and put herself through college while continuing to raise her three young children. She met and married her husband John, whom she met in nursing school and together they have five beautiful children.
Dayna’s nursing career began in a Medical Surgical pathway at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center serving Wyoming and nearby Colorado and Nebraska. It was here that she fine-tuned her nursing skills, served in a leadership role and moved into rehabilitation nursing on the Acute Rehabilitation Unit. It was in this role that she was injured on the job and had to move away from patient care at the bedside.
Dayna had to reinvent her career in nursing. Encouraged and determined, Dayna moved from Wyoming to California and went to work in Case Management for Molina Healthcare in Long Beach, California. It was here that she came to a new understanding of discharge planning, patient’s needs beyond hospitalization, and direct insight on the skilled need to keep patients healthy, out of the hospital, and become managers of their own care.
Dayna was licensed to work in multiple states and traveled the country serving her patient population and directing their care along with the physicians and healthcare providers. Her patients developed strong and reliable relationships with her and counted on her to help keep them safe.
Dayna was a leader in Management at Molina but was still drawn to the environment in the acute care setting, so she moved to Fountain Valley Regional Hospital as a Case Manager on the Telemetry Unit. Here she excelled in her work and was quickly identified as a strong resource and competent leader. She was directly mentored by the leadership at the hospital and transitioned into an RNC role and eventually became the Director of Case Management.
She continually strives to improve working conditions and support for her team and is highly regarded, many times, as the “best boss” many of them have ever had. She has assembled a strong management staff that works side by side with her to ensure excellence with the overall department. Her case management team is highly skilled, adaptive, and innovative. They are indeed true professionals that provide exemplary care.
Dayna continues to grow personally and professionally and is currently in graduate school completing her Master’s Degree in Leadership and Management. Her future and the future of those under her direction is bright and rewarding and something to aspire to.
Why should this person be nominated
I would like to acknowledge my boss Dayna Ayala who is the Director of Case Management and Social Services at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital. I have known Dayna for several years now, and have been fortunate to have been promoted to Clinical Manager of our Case Management Department for over a year now, which has allowed me the opportunity to work more closely with her.
In this short period of time, I have observed Dayna in so many situations where she has exemplified the true spirit of Caregiving. She is extremely compassionate. Out of all the events I have witnessed the one that stands out the most occurred about six months ago.
We had a patient who was brought to our facility with respiratory complications due to a home fire. This patient lost everything in that fire. One night while we leaving the office around 5:50 in the evening, we noticed a disheveled elderly woman walking aimlessly towards us.
She appeared lost and disoriented. Dayna immediately approached her and asked, “How can I help you” The lady began to tell us her story of how she was just discharged from the hospital, and that her friend was supposed to be coming to pick her up, but she was afraid she wouldn’t find her. She was also concerned because she had a prescription for medications, and could not find the pharmacy, nor did she know how she would pay for the medications, because her purse had burned in the fire.
Dayna instantly knew who the patient was and what a horrific ordeal she had been through. She jumped in and assisted the lady by calling our campus pharmacy and letting them know that she needed them to fill a prescription for a patient immediately (the pharmacy was about to close it was just approaching 6:00 pm) She explained the circumstances, and knowing she would be able to approve for the cost of the medications had the pharmacy staff fill out the medications. She drove to the pharmacy and picked up the medications and brought them back to the patient. She then accompanied the patient to wait in a safe location until her friend was able to come pick her up. The patient was overwhelmed with a sense of relief.
I was moved to watch her in action. Reflecting on that evening, I am reminded of the words of Mother Teresa, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Dayna takes the time to connect with people and shows them how much she cares, not by doing the extraordinary but by doing so many of these small things, but with a great amount of love.