On Thursday evening, June 5, 2008, the NY/NJ Nursing Spectrum Excellence Gala was held at the Glenpointe Marriott in Teaneck, N.J., to honor 30 regional finalists, five (5) in each of six (6) categories, from around the NY/NJ region. Approximately 400 guests were there to celebrate the profession of nursing and these very special nurses who had been selected out of all nominations that came into this year’s Nursing Excellence Program.
After a wonderful dinner and spirited keynote, “Nurses Rock!” from Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, Nursing Spectrum’s own “Dear Donna,” followed by presentation of awards to the finalists, the evening culminated in one finalist from each category, judged to be the “best of the best” in that category, being named a NY/NJ Regional winner.
These six will now move on to the National program and will be eligible to be named a National winner in her category this coming fall.
Advancing and Leading the ProfessionValerie Terzano, RN
Valerie T. Terzano, RN, MS, CNA, Vice President, Nursing and Chief Nursing Officer
Winthrop-University Hospital, Mineola, NY
Utilizing participatory management and acting as nursing’s liaison with the CEO, hospital board, and medical staff, Valerie fosters a collaborative and collegial environment in which her nursing staff is not only valued but listened to, focused on, and deemed critical to quality care and patient satisfaction. As evidenced by her longevity in her role, she empowers her managers and respects their work and ideas. She takes an active part in their professional growth and development, is committed to their education and advancement, and truly likes her staff. And while committed to her nurses and advancing the profession at home, Valerie has also traveled abroad for recruitment, and worked actively with her colleagues on local and national issues. She encourages research, publishing, and community service, and is an involved member of many professional nursing organizations. A role model for her entire staff, Valerie is a writer, speaker, volunteer, and lobbyist for the profession.
Clinical CareBeatrice L. Davis Fincher, RN
Beatrice L. Davis Fincher, RN, BHS, CCRN, Clinical Nurse,
Mount Sinai Hospital, NYC
In her role as a neurosurgical intensive care nurse, Beatrice cares for patients requiring intensive post-op care intensive monitoring. Nominated by her fellow nurses, physicians, and management, and being named the 2007 Excellence in Nursing Practice award recipient at Mount Sinai, her outstanding qualities and dedication were brought to the attention of the entire hospital. And one year later, they chose to nominate her again for this award. Her clinical nursing experience and expertise and her abilities as a communicator make her a valuable role model and mentor. Choosing to remain a clinical nurse and excel in direct patient care for more than 25 years, Valerie has been an active participant in professional activities and has held a number of nursing organization officer positions. Also involved in community activities from health screening and education to emergency and family aid, she is described as a nurse with passion and a true ambassador for the profession.
Community ServiceTerri Ann Parnell, RN
Terri Ann Parnell, RN, MA, DNP(c), Director, Education and Marketing
North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, NY
During a 20-plus year career at the NS-LIJ Health System, Terri worked tirelessly on program development, marketing, and branding for its cardiac service line, and effected great change in the institution’s approach to patient education. Her committee work, grant writing, speaking, and nursing website on heart health are all evidence to the fact that she has a passion for education. She recently co-authored a book with a physician on a heart health program for black and latino women, and was invited to the White House by the First Lady to celebrate women’s accomplishments in heart health. She has also organized numerous community health events, National “WEAR RED” Day programs, and has opened a Walking Path around the hospital campus to promote heart-healthy exercise. An honoree of numerous heart health and women’s health groups, a mentor, and a scholar pursuing her doctoral degree, Terri’s contributions and accomplishments are truly deserving of recognition.
ManagementCarol S. Jones, RN
Carol S. Jones, RN, MSN, CS-C
Manager, Trauma/Emergency Services and Bed Management
Morristown Memorial Hospital, Morristown, NJ
Heading up one of New Jersey’s largest emergency services, Carol oversees a $10 million budget and manages nine nursing coordinators. The recipient of the Board of Trustees Customer Satisfaction award, she successfully led two ED expansions, five successful trauma site surveys by the American College of Surgeons, and was recognized by the American Trauma Society for her design of a Trauma Coordinator Core Course. Supportive of autonomy through self-scheduling, Carol also encourages research, professional association membership, certification, and development of staff at all levels. She worked on the launch of an ED website with links to the ENA and other national databases, and led her educators and advanced practice nurses through an ED Fellowship. Her skills as a leader reach out to the community through several pre-hospital initiatives, the Safe Kids/Safe Communities and Safe Kids Coalition programs, and support of legislation on helmet safety, child protection laws, and drunk and aggressive driving.
MentoringAlison Gelfand, RN
Alison Gelfand, RN, CHCR, Nurse Recruiter
South Nassau Communities Hospital, Oceanside, NY
Following a career in England and the Midwest, Alison took on responsibility for nurse recruitment and marketing of nursing at South Nassau Communities Hospital. Cognizant of the fact that she’s the first nurse applicants will meet at the hospital, she engages and forms alliances with them that will last. A true proponent of nursing, she mentors nursing students and is frequently invited by faculty to speak at student events. She also mentors high school students, sits on the local community college board, and participates in career workshops for minority students interested in nursing. She also works with a community group on an alcohol-free post-prom program, a parents group fighting hazardous pesticides on school property, and a care for pets of elderly hospitalized patients initiative. A volunteer for Multiple Sclerosis, the Habitat for Humanity, and an orphanage in England, Alison also plans to travel to New Orleans this summer for post-Katrina rebuilding work.
TeachingDale Louise Gradel, RN
Dale Louise Gradel, RN, MS, GNP, Director of Learning Systems
Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Northport, NY
Experience in Hospice Care, Geriatrics, Performance Improvement, and Management all prepared Dale for her current role of identifying and addressing existing and potential health issues and care problems, and implementing programs to address them. Using her excellent interpersonal skills, she works collaboratively with the entire interdisciplinary staff and medical leadership. She reorganized nursing and patient education, redesigned the orientation process, and implemented a learning management system aimed at competency in the care of VA patients. She used research findings for programs on falls, fracture rates, continence, urinary tract infections, and behavior modification, and achieved improved outcomes, better documentation, and decreased costs. A quiet and charismatic leader, Dale has empowered her staff in reaching their full potential. And recognizing that change is an opportunity for growth, she sets lofty goals, takes risks, and accepts challenges, thus creating a dynamic department whose overriding goal is to improve the Medical Center’s education and training process.