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NY/NJ Regional Nurse Excellence Finalists: Community Service

Congratulations to the regional finalists in the 2009 Nurse Excellence Awards in the Community Service category. For information about the award and how the candidates were chosen, click here:

Director, Center for Tobacco Control, Pulmonary Medicine
North Shore University Hospital
Great Neck, N.Y.

The director of a Tobacco Control Center that has assisted more than 400 employees and 3,000 plus members of the community to stop smoking, Pat’s qualities and ability to motivate her peers are recognized, and it was they who nominated her.

Seeing the need for employees to quit smoking, she worked on her own time to develop the program. Her grass-roots efforts were recognized, and they grew into a large center that treats employees and community members. She serves on the systemwide Wellness Committee, and helped change employee health insurance coverage to include FDA-approved tobacco cessation medications with no copay.

Identifying a lack of services for specific community populations, she developed smoking cessation and support group programs for psychiatric patients and worked extensively with students, presenting tobacco prevention programs to thousands on Long Island. She also worked with NYPD and FDNY members who started smoking after 9/11 and found it difficult to stop, and collaborates with the Tobacco Action Coalition, the State Tobacco Control Program, The American Cancer Society, The American Lung Association, and the State Smokers Quitline.

She wrote and produced “4000 in 2007,” which stands for the 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes, and has presented it at many conferences. She also wrote and appeared in “I Could Have Been Five Feet,” a film about one young woman’s social smoking and her struggles to quit. Throughout her career, Pat’s caring nature, compassion, honesty, integrity, professionalism, and respect for others have endeared her to patients, coworkers, and supervisors alike. She embodies the essence of the art and science of nursing.

Aney Paul, RN-C

RN, Mother-Baby
Nyack Hospital
Nyack, N.Y.

A maternity nurse for more than 20 years, Aney demonstrates competency in the hospital and the community and excels in leadership. She is a clinical instructor at the local college, remains current in nursing through seminars and in-service programs, and has completed her MPH and MSN with PNP. She has ACLS, BLS, NRP certification, and certification in maternal-newborn nursing, and was the founder and president of her local nurses association, helping many foreign nurses to pass the NCLEX.

Aney organizes medical awareness programs to assist immigrants, is on the County Health Department Exercise Task Force, “Steps to A Healthier New York,” and organized a walking program for employees. She is a Weight Loss program instructor at the hospital’s Community Education Program, and other community activities include Breast Cancer Awareness seminars, blood drives, diet and exercise seminars, and blood pressure monitoring, health teaching, and walking programs for coworkers and neighbors. She has also been a member of the hospital’s Auxiliary Foundation, and served on Patient Education Bereavement Panels.

Aney also loves to teach and gives infant bath classes and classes for mothers on self and baby care. She developed a nursing care plan for circumcision care in Newborn Nursery, and conducted a research project on methods to assess and relieve pain in male infants during circumcision. She is currently working on an Evidence-Based Practice on Music for Babies.

Always filled with new ideas to improve care, Aney has incredible energy and enthusiasm for nursing, and is an example of how one person can make a difference.

Betsy Tirado Ortiz, RN

CN 1 RN, 9 Tower Pediatric Cardiac ICU
CHONY-NY Presbyterian Hospital
New York, N.Y.

Betsy works in a 14-bed PICU, providing care to acutely ill children with heart and lung disease. The first Latina to graduate from the LPN program she attended, she served in the U.S. Army Medical ICU and Helicopter Transport. She was president of the Student Nurses Association, a scholarship winner, a tutor, and class salutatorian while in nursing school.

Always the advocate, as a student she cared for a first-time mom who suffered a stroke after delivery. After three months of the mother’s hospitalization, Betsy arranged for her to meet her baby for the first time in the hospital garden.

Working later in PICU, a physician invited her to join a group going to Guatemala for Healing the Children, and although she could not leave her child at the time, she never missed a mission since. She later became a board member of Heart Care International, and each year commits to five to six missions. Stateside, she participates in a free clinic for the uninsured, using her own apartment at times as supply warehouse.

At CHONY, Betsy is committed to providing compassionate care for fragile pediatric patients, and her interventions and advocacy there are many. She is a sought-after preceptor who sees potential in every nurse. Staff reports that she never loses patience and when she says she will help them, she means it. On her watch, they flourish. Her greatest contribution is said to be her precepting, through which she ensures that there will be nurses at the bedside for years to come.

It is a humbling experience to be in her presence.

Karina Toniyeva, RN

Enrollment Nurse, Community Health Nurse, Long-Term Home Health Care
Metropolitan Jewish Health System
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Moving to New York from Russia 10 years ago and leaving loved ones and home behind, Karina knew that if you ask people where they want to grow old, they will say they want to stay in their own homes. And she is committed to helping seniors do just that. She is aware of the available NYC programs and works on the best ones for them. As an enrollment nurse, she screens clients for the MJHS Long-Term Home Care program, and knows that the process can take 30 days from enrollment to start of service — but she cannot tolerate that wait for them. She believes that limited access to care for the city’s most vulnerable serves only to increase their vulnerability, so she uses her knowledge of the system and her strong advocacy and determination to improve access.

While screening, she also arranges for flu and pneumonia vaccines, works on access to primary care, initiates care management plans, and sets up needed social networks. Partnering with patients to empower them, she provides health education and promotes health literacy. She is ready, willing, and able to help them with needed services. On one visit, she noticed that a woman was embarrassed and covering her mouth. Finding just the right way to handle it, she arranged to have the mouth infection the woman was hiding cared for and cleared up, and helped to arrange for her to have a full set of dentures made and fitted within a few months.

Karina demonstrates compassion in all she does, and during her years at MJHS, has exemplified that she will always go that extra step for someone in need.

Mary Vecchio, RN

Cancer Outreach: Nurse Practitioner, Community Education and Outreach
Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center
Flemington, N.J.

Staff members say they’ve never worked with anyone who has such drive to succeed, not for her own gain but for those she serves. One says that Mary is “our best-kept secret.” She works with Cancer Education and Early Detection patients, providing free education and screening as needed. She volunteers with the American Cancer Society on Relay for Life, raising thousands of dollars, and contributing hundreds of volunteer hours. She is active in her church, the local Moms Clubs, and Girl Scouts, finding valuable teaching moments in each.

She has presented at National Oncology Nursing Society annual meetings, is a Susan G. Komen for the Cure grant recipient, has spoken around the state, and written articles for several nursing journals. She is past-president of her local Oncology Nursing Society Chapter and certified in oncology nursing. She supports hospital and cancer center activities, is known for her work ethic, has an incredible sense of humor, and is committed to the organization.

Mary worked to make Hunterdon tobacco-free, and was instrumental in its Magnet designation and Accreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. She is a regular on a weekly local radio show, and has made appearances on Cable TV to discuss cancer prevention. Although she officially works only 25 hours a week, Mary is an unbelievable nurse. She is the nurse everyone should strive to emulate, and coworkers are proud to be her colleagues and humbled by her love for and commitment to her community and the profession.

By | 2020-04-15T15:01:03-04:00 March 23rd, 2009|Categories: New York/New Jersey Metro, Regional|0 Comments

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