Below are the finalists in the Community Service category for the Nursing Spectrum 2009 Nursing Excellence awards. A recognition gala is planned for May 6 at the Sheraton Society Hill in Philadelphia.
Claire Alminde, RN, BSN, CPN
St. Christophers Hospital for Children
For Alminde, it is not a single aha moment she strives for, but an ongoing commitment of community service. Each year she organizes, along with her 11-year-old son, Patrick, a fundraiser called Bowling for Brain Tumors. All funds are donated to the Connell Anastasi Foundation to support brain tumor research, in memory of Patricks friend, Connell, who died of a brain tumor at the age of 2. In addition, Alminde joins her work colleagues in visiting a local womens abuse shelter to bring food, household items, and toys monthly. A certified CPR instructor, Alminde offers CPR classes, free of charge, at a local swimming club and her church. She also has raised money to buy a defibrillator for the school her children attend in Philadelphia. Through the school, Alminde helps prepare and deliver trays of food to elderly residents of her parish. Perhaps what is most extraordinary is her ability to do all this in addition to being a mom of three active children, working full time, teaching nursing students one day a week, and pursuing her masters degree.
Pamela Mack-Brooks, MSN, CRNP
University of Pennsylvania Health System
Mack-Brooks uses her nursing experience to build successful partnerships between the hospitals Womens Health Department and women living in West Philadelphia. She and a colleague are working with focus groups to investigate community beliefs about childbearing health resources, with the goal of optimizing perinatal outcomes. Mack-Brooks also is involved with Inspiration, a choral group that celebrates mustic written or performed by artists of African descent. Inspiration has developed a relationship with a hospice organization in the community and has performed for elementary school children in after-school programs. Through the First Thursday forum of West Philadelphia leaders, Mack-Brooks has organized partnerships to meet the needs of residents through culturally competent models of care. She is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, through which she has helped with a domestic violence campaign, diabetes awareness project, and annual physical and mental health programs. Mack-Brooks has organized community health fairs at her church for nearly 10 years. She always finds a way for the community to benefit from her activities.
Shonta Collins, RN, BSN, MPA
Clinical Nurse, Coronary Care Unit
Penn Presbyterian Medical Center
Collins is the founder and president of Explorers Sans Frontires, a grass-roots organization supporting underserved populations in the local and global community and providing a venue for college students to be immersed in community outreach and preventive healthcare. The organization has sponsored more than 30 outreach activities in 11 months, serving more than 2,000 people in Philadelphia. She has been involved in local and global community projects for more than 14 years and is a longstanding member of NAFSA, an association for international educators. Throughout her educational career, Collins completed an independent study in Dakar, Senegal, and traveled to Mexico, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Belgium. In addition, she is planning humanitarian trips to Jamaica, Senegal, and Kenya. Through her organization, Collins reaches a large group of people who are in need of basic healthcare, are vulnerable, and lack proper financial support and social resources to make decisions on their own. She collaborates with other disciplines, such as social work, medicine and nutrition; provides mentorship for novice and seasoned nurses to learn more about global community health; and has created a venue for application of learned skills.
Dave Groves, RN, MSN
Trauma Injury Prevention and Outreach Coordinator
Cooper University Hospital
Groves has developed programs on the prevention of traumatic injuries for school districts, school nurses, parent-teacher organizations, and the general public. Because he is in a new position at Cooper, Groves has had to develop and market the programs to venues such as schools, churches, senior-assisted living facilities, civic organizations, moms clubs, and school nurse organizations. He offers a peer-based program for school nurses that teaches the way to care for a traumatically injured child while waiting for transport and how to respond in a mass casualty incident. As a member of the New Jersey Trauma Center Council Injury Prevention Coordinators Sub Group, he collaborates with other injury prevention specialists across New Jersey to develop statewide injury-prevention programs. Groves also is a member of the hospital-based Safe Kids Worldwide Coalition and is active as a child passenger safety technician. He is a talented public speaker whose audiences include at-risk teenagers at juvenile detention centers. Groves often is asked to speak at high school career days. His presence serves as a reminder that nursing is a not just for women, it is a varied profession that is welcoming, appropriate, and rewarding for men.
Sally Poliwoda, RN
Community Nursing Advocacy Fellowship Program Coordinator
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Poliwoda demonstrates a calm demeanor and patience in delivering information to her patients that is nonjudgmental, supportive, and engaging. She clearly demonstrates a love and excitement for her work with individuals in the community, specifically in homeless shelters for women and children. On numerous occasions, Poliwoda has accompanied the nurses in her department to a shelter to help present health education workshops or gather data. Her ability to be flexible is an asset, as community settings can be unpredictable. She organized and coordinated an institutional drive seeking volunteers to serve holiday dinners at four of the homeless shelters through the Homeless Health Initiative, a health outreach program that provides free health and dental screenings, health education workshops, access to primary and specialty care, and access to health insurance. She ushered more than 100 volunteers through an orientation to ensure their roles were clearly defined. These dinners proved to be an excellent forum for families to get to know hospital employees and discuss health issues in a comfortable, pressure-free environment. Poliwoda seeks opportunities to gather new knowledge through educational conferences, seminars, and global health excursions to add to her knowledge base and keep her fresh and innovative.