Below are the finalists in the Clinical Care category for the Nursing Spectrum 2009 Nursing Excellence awards. A recognition gala is planned for May 6 at the Sheraton Society Hill in Philadelphia.
Susan Decker, RN, BSN, WOCN, CWCN
Staff Nurse, Wound Care Ostomy Nurse
Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, Main Line Health System
The wound program at Bryn Mawr has grown under Deckers direction, resulting in educational programs for all nursing staff, an increase in wound care-certified staff nurses, and decreased nosocomial wounds. Decker has consistently advocated for more resources to assist with wound assessment and management and has assisted in the deveopment of a pictorial guide to use when assessing and staging wounds. She has helped select specialty beds that contributed to a decrease in pressure-related wounds. In addition, Decker has developed patient and family education materials and provides individualized discharge instructions. This assures comfort and maintains the continuum of wound care until patients are seen by their physicians. For the past two years, Decker has provided extensive education on wound care and ongoing support for all nursing staff. She oversees the collection of data, and her analysis of data has led to practice changes throughout the facility.
Donna Fahey, CCRN
Staff nurse, CC1
Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center
Realizing the tremendous benefits of self-care, Fahey makes it her personal mission to teach this skill to colleagues on the ICU and the renal unit, where she previously worked. She has created a one-year plan featuring a different self-care topic each month to share with staff. For example, one month was healthy eating, so she baked whole-grain blueberry muffins and discussed the benefits of eating fiber-rich foods. She also served white tea, which contains beneficial antioxidants. Fahey also shares her knowledge with patients and hospital visitors. She created a holistic corner in the ICU, which houses information on nutrition, exercise, and relaxation. Fahey also designed a comfort cart to bring holistic materials such as music, aromatherapy, distraction tools (books, puzzles, etc.), and inspiration stones to the bedside. All of this is done voluntarily and in addition to her full-time work schedule. Her efforts to care for the caregivers restores healing hands and reminds colleagues that patients need healing for mind, body and spirit, as well as cancer, pneumonia, and diabetes.
Rebecca Schron, RN, BSN
Nurse Clinician Level 4, PICU
Nemours/duPont Hospital for Children
Schron is a role model for professional practice to novice nurses and peers. She has the extraordinary ability to provide evidence-based, hands-on nursing care while ministering to the emotional and spiritual needs of her patients and families. Schron has presented to nurses across the state and region on topics including a peer review system and culturally competent care. Her knowledge on the latter comes from experiences with Samaritans Purse Childrens Heart Project, which transports children with heart defects from their home countries to hospitals in the U.S. and Canada for surgical repair. Schron has traveled to Uganda, Honduras, and Mongolia with the project. She also has led teams to orphanages, churches, and leprosy colonies in India to care for children. These experiences benefited her facility in the Community section of its Magnet application. Schrons peers in the pediatric ICU selected her as nurse of the year in 2006 for her teamwork, excellence in service, and clinical skills.
Kathryn Smith, RN, MSN, CRNP, APOCN
Interim Clinical Nurse Specialist
The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
As the interim clinical nurse specialist for a busy, acute hematology-oncology-bone marrow transplant unit, Smith has clinical knowledge that surpasses her colleagues. While she is careful not to practice outside her field of expertise, she has been instrumental in the reduction of bloodstream infections and sepsis by developing and implementing line rounds on the oncology units. She also has created and implemented a preceptor matching program on the unit that matches new staff to senior staff by their personalities. She researched relationships and retention and was able to implement the program with great success. Recognizing the importance of communication between nursing units, Smith developed a program to offer oncology services across all units hospitalwide. This program offers inservices to staff RNs on oncology-related issues. Smith also has been a presenter at the Oncology Nursing Societys annual congress on the implementation and use of the biopatch for central line dressings.
Constance Tighe, RN, BSN, CCRN
Staff RN, Critical Care
Kennedy Health System
Tighe is an excellent clinician who performs with high efficiency as a charge nurse preceptor, patient care committee member, and unit practice council chairperson. Her peers refer to her as the gold standard for her approach to patient care. She is a strong advocate for patients and their families, ministering to them not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually. When the unit was without a nurse manager for several months, Tighe assumed the charge role on a regular basis to foster unit cohesiveness and continuity. She is an active member of the hospital systems patient care committee, a shared governance committee. She says she enjoys giving staff nurses a voice in policy and procedure. Tighe also serves as the chairperson for the Practice Council of the hospitals shared governance program. In this role, she has brought the use of evidence-based practice to the unit, resulting in reductions in VAP, central line bloodstream infections, and UTIs. In todays often impersonal healthcare environment, this RN brings patients a sense they matter and that their needs are important.