Below are the finalists in the Mentoring category for the Nursing Spectrum 2009 Nursing Excellence awards. A recognition gala is planned for May 6 at the Sheraton Society Hill in Philadelphia.
Diane Breckenridge, RN, MSN, PhD
Associate Research Director and Associate Professor
Abington Memorial Hospital
As associate research director, Breckenridge mentors and guides all the nursing research through the Research Approach In Nursing program, known as RAIN. Her enthusiasm and expertise in the field of nursing research has been instrumental in bringing the hospital Magnet status twice. She assists with grant writing and works closely with hospital administrators in bringing them up to date on policies and procedures in legislation. Along with being involved in several hospital committees, she also is an associate professor at a nearby university. Her focus on teaching students is one of caring and concern, and she always has time to answer questions and assist with problems.
Breckenridge is a nurses nurse who has dedicated her life to the profession. Her upbeat personality and charisma has trickled down to every nurse in the hospital and at the university. Her graduate work with renal patients and their perceptions of treatment led to the development of the Renal Focus Interview guide. Her post-doctoral research focused on the renal patients participation in treatment decisions funded by Sigma Theta Tau. She continues to focus her teaching and research on what patients need and the importance of listening to patients. Nurses consult her in their own growth and development in the profession. One coworker said Breckenridge is always willing to find information and guide her through the process, serving as a personal cheerleader. Her knowledge of the research process has given many nurses hope who otherwise would have shied away or felt they could never do this, to be brave and rise to the challenges for the good of the patient.
Kimberly Hummel, RN, BSN
Hahnemann University Hospital
Last year, Hummel transitioned from a part-time night shift staff nurse position in the CCU into a unit educator position. In making this transition, she took on a great deal of responsibility, changed shifts, and became full time as part of her dedication to the growth of nursing professionalism.
During her tenure as unit educator, she has worked to mentor staff in the area of infection control. The coronary care unit and heart failure telemetry units the nominee works on have significantly reduced both bloodstream infections as well as VAP. It is through her tireless efforts, interdisciplinary collaboration, and constant vigilance in educating staff that has empowered the nurses she serves to take accountability for the safety of their patients. She also was responsible for the on-boarding of 11 new graduate nurses who have successfully integrated into practice. Overall retention on this educators unit is one of the highest in the institution.
Hummel has developed a robust curriculum for new graduate nurses that supplements the content they receive as part of the Nurse Residency Program. Topics are specific to the cardiac patients served. She also has worked collaboratively with the unit educator from the medical ICU to jointly offer educational clinical topics relevant to nurses on both units.
In the past year, Hummel has been a part of a number of key committees driving nursing excellence and practice, including serving as the co-chair of the Shared Governance Practice Council. As such, she was instrumental in reviewing with the input from staff nurses and the Research Council 15 different clinical practice issues that were updated to provide the best evidence-based methodology for care delivery. Hummel also is appreciated for her work on the Pillars Committee, a program that involves a clinical ladder system that allows nurses to apply for recognition and advancement of the nursing profession through the pursuit of nursing excellence. Hummel helped develop the criteria, implement the plan, review applications, and interview candidates for the program. The program was able to accept 57 members during its inaugural year.
Despite being in a management role, the nominee will jump in and assist with patient care and take assignments willingly when needed. She uses these opportunities to lead by example by demonstrating, through her actions, the essence of teamwork.
Sister Rose Marie Lynch, CRRN
St. Mary Medical Center
A certified rehabilitation RN on a busy 25-bed general acute rehabilitation unit, Sister Lynch began her career as an educator in an elementary school, then discovered she had another calling. She is a dynamic, caring individual who consistently takes the time to nurture and educate student nurses, as well as novice nurses. Her background in education shines through as she embraces the students and takes them under her wing. It is not uncommon to find her with a group of nursing students gathered around. She identifies situations that student nurses might be interested in, then readily draws them into patient care. All the while, she encourages them and fosters their critical thinking abilities.
Along with expert clinical skills at the bedside, Sister Lynch offers patients a quiet spirituality that treats the whole person, physically and emotionally.
She brings out positive attributes in each individual and is generous with words of encouragement and praise. She is an exemplary role model for nursing staff and students, participating in the Journey to Magnet Status Committee.
Sister Lynch once shared with a colleague that she found peace from the top of her head to the bottom of her feet when she joined the rehabilitation team in 1980.
In 2008, she was honored with the facilitys Distinction in Nursing Excellence Award, which recognizes dedicated nursing colleagues who go the extra mile. She serves as a liaison for community activities and frequently is found volunteering her time in depressed areas of Philadelphia, working with the poor and immigrant population.
Loreen Meyer, RN, BSN, CCRN
Unit Nurse Educator
St. Christophers Hospital for Children
As unit educator in the ED, Meyer fulfills a critical role. She is responsible for the orientation of all new employees (which often consists of new graduate nurses acclimating to a chaotic environment) and the continuing education and competency of current personnel.
Though her position is part time, her dedication to this position and the educational needs of the employees and patients is certainly full time.
She meets weekly with the preceptor and orientee to assure a competency-based orientation is occurring that adequately prepares the new nurse for a challenging practice environment.
She is creative in meeting the educational needs of the current staff, such as with the implementation of a new triage system (ESI triage) in the ED. Responding to the needs of the community and patient is another aspect of her role. She was instrumental in the implementation of Rapid HIV testing in the ED.
The best illustration of her effectiveness is the creation and implementation of a pediatric sexual assault nurse examiner for our department. Children who are sexually abused are a particularly vulnerable patient population served by our hospital. The development of this program was a response to a recognition that these patients need particular attention for the support of their physical and psychosocial needs. She worked with local resources to develop the appropriate education and certification for interested nurses. Her ability to work collaboratively with the physician champions of this project has contributed to its success. The first year, four nurses participated in the program. This year, she worked to bring the course on-site so four additional nurses could become certified. Another cutting-edge project she has been involved in is the use of a Sim Baby to enhance the performance of the nurses in critical situations.
Roberta Waite, RN, MSN, EdD, CS
Assistant Professor of Nursing
Growth is a constant with Waite, an assistant professor of nursing.
She works directly with undergraduate and graduate nursing students in her role. As an agent of change, she has been instrumental in the academic development of nursing students. Meanwhile, she is constantly exploring avenues for her own growth.
As a nurse researcher and scientist, she strives to educate at-risk populations on the importance of mental health. She is focused on nurse-driven research to improve the cultural competence of healthcare practitioners regarding mental health.
Waite also is known for her personal touch.
One mentee whom Waite met three years ago at a Southeastern Pennyslvania Black Nurses Association meeting said Waite told her to aspire for more and to create a plan of action to successfully reach her goals. She captured me by her ability to see beyond that given moment with encouragement to aim high. She added fuel to a small fire that was already inside me to further my education as an RN. She aided in my growth while building my total confidence, the mentee said
She gives of herself in the midst of her own busy life, spending endless hours giving to nursing students what they cannot always receive in large classrooms.
In the past year, Waite lost both of her parents and still remains a constant source of inspiration to many students. As a tribute to her mother, a nurse who also inspired many people, she developed a nursing scholarship to support a student in need. The first award was presented in August at the National Black Nurses Association Conference.