Hailing from a family with three generations of nurses, Cristina Sola, MSN, RN-BC, AGNP-C, was one of five nurses from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) recognized at the Houston Chronicle Salute to Nurses luncheon May 2 at the Omni Houston Hotel.

Timed to coincide with National Nurses Week, the annual awards program recognizes the Top 150 nurses in the Greater Houston Area. Nurses were selected by a panel of educators and leaders in the field.

Sola, a nurse manager in the department of Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery, received special recognition as one of the Top 15 nurses. Omar Sandoval, BSN, RN, Ribi Kurian, RN; Thelma Rios, LVN, each with UT Physicians; and Lisa Thomas, DNP, RN, assistant professor with Cizik School of Nursing, also were recognized.

“Cristina is a leader within our local vascular outpatient offices but is also recognized for her expert clinical care and knowledge both regionally and at national levels,” said Kristofer Charlton-Ouw, MD, professor of cardiovascular medicine with McGovern Medical School.

“She embodies the traits of excellent communication skills, collaboration, teamwork, mentorship, ethical clinical care, enthusiasm, and creating a positive work attitude.  We are all proud of her accomplishments and grateful for her ongoing work in making this the top vascular surgery program in the country,” Charlton-Ouw said.

Sola earned her associate’s degree of nursing at Covenant School of Nursing in Lubbock, Texas, her bachelor of science in nursing at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, and her master of science in nursing at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

“When I was in high school, my mom was a home health nurse and I would go with her. I saw firsthand how she made a difference in people’s lives,” said Sola, whose brother James Ritz, RN, sister Michelle Ritz, RN, and niece Brittany Ritz, RN, are also nurses, following in the footsteps of their mother, Guillermina Ritz, RN.

“Nursing is about patient relationships. I remember their name. They remember mine. We are both glad to see each other,” Sola said.

For a second year, UT Physicians was a sponsor of the event. Andrew Casas, chief operating officer of UT Physicians and senior vice president of UTHealth, spoke at the event to honor and recognize all nurses for the care they provide around the world.

Also recognized in the Top 150 were nurses from our affiliated hospitals, LBJ General Hospital: Dennis Murdie, Jessica Mani, Mary Ann Nufable Padua,
and Renee Eddings, and Christa Williams, of Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, honored in the Top 15.

We congratulate all of the nurses!