You are here:----Nursing Spectrum Celebrates Region’s Top Nurses at Festive Gala

Nursing Spectrum Celebrates Region’s Top Nurses at Festive Gala

Nursing Spectrum’s regional 2009 Nursing Excellence Awards in which Florida’s nursing community comes together to celebrate nursing’s accomplishments and honor the extraordinary achievements of individual RNs, was a special night for honorees, their supporters, and Nursing Spectrum staff.

The gala, held May 29 at the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Hotel, honored the six regional winners and 27 finalists for their achievements in the categories of Advancing and Leading the Profession, Clinical Care, Community Service, Management, Mentoring, and Teaching. No matter what the role or setting, these nurses found ways to raise the bar for their colleagues and the quality of life of their patients. The honorees’ friends, families, and colleagues were on hand to pay tribute and celebrate with them.

Another nurse was given a special honor that evening. Lisa Johnson, RN, MS, MSN, NEA-BC, vice president of patient care services, Morton Plant Mease Health Care, was the 2009 recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award. Johnson is a visionary leader. She was an early adopter of the Clinical Nurse Leader program, introduced stress relief initiatives for nurses, is an advocate of life-long learning, and supports the Earn as You Learn program and the Pay for Skills compensation model. Johnson promotes evidence-based nursing care as demonstrated by the hospital’s nursing research efforts, including the use of red armbands to prevent venipuncture in contraindicated extremities.

Congratulations to all our honorees for outshining the sun in Florida and making patients a top priority.

Advancing and Leading the Profession

Kerry Major, RN

Kerry Major, RN, MSN
Chief Nursing Officer
Cleveland Clinic Florida, Weston

No one was more shocked at Major’s win in the category than Major herself. “I was excited to be nominated for the award, but I didn’t imagine I would win my category,” she says. “This award and the event itself is a wonderful way to be recognized.
Major oversees a staff of about 500. She played a role in decreasing nursing attrition by 10% and encourages nurses to earn certification in a field of expertise. She helped develop a chemotherapy and biotherapy nursing program provided in-house to staff, and led an initiative that made the med/surg, telemetry, and step-down units restraint-free.

“When my career veered in the direction of leadership, I knew my decision to continue on that path was the right one when I realized I could impact the lives of patients by inspiring, motivating, and supporting other nurses to do the same.”
But Major is sure to give credit where credit is due. “I could never have won this award without the support, commitment, and dedication of my nursing team and the senior leadership at Cleveland Clinic Florida,” she says. “My success is a reflection of their success.”

Inspiring and straightforward, Major says her patient care tip is very simple. “Treat others as you would want to be treated — with kindness, respect, dignity, and understanding,” she says.

Clinical Care

Toni DiChiacchio, RN, MSN, FNP-BC, CEN
Hospitalist ARNP
St. Lucie Medical Center, Port St. Lucie

On the hospital-wide Nursing Quality Council, DiChiacchio developed a nursing peer review program that has been successful in not only recognizing nursing issues but has led to a stronger nursing department. She has led multidisciplinary teams to redesign processes to ensure compliance with evidence-based practices. During the past eight months, the hospital has attained 100% EBP compliance in AMI, pneumonia, and CHF patients.

DiChiacchio also leads the facility overcrowding taskforce. She introduced the NEDOCS (National Emergency Department Overcrowding Calculation Score) tool, which triggers various actions to move patients out of the ED when it is critically necessary and bring in staff from other departments to assist the ED with patient care and movement. With the use of LEAN performance improvement, she helped reduce the average wait time from arrival to a bed from 49 minutes to nine minutes and the time from being placed in a bed to seeing a physician from 56 minutes to 22 minutes. Ultimately, this has led to improved patient satisfaction, increasing from a score of 3 to 3.49 on a scale of 4.

Community Service

Orpha Ale Mineque, RN

Orpha Ale Mineque, RN, BSN, CCRN
Staff Nurse, MICU
Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

Mineque was honored for her service to the Filipino community both in Florida and in the Philippines. She teaches MRSA prevention in the community and takes an active role implementing an annual stroke fair. But nursing didn’t “fit her like a glove” in the beginning. “I was a ‘nervous Nelly’ during my nursing training,” she says. “I did a lot of praying to help me through school. My sister, Elda, put me through college and once said, ‘Become a nurse, worry about your studies, and I will worry about the rest.’ ”

Mineque has grown into her role as an advocate for her culture, raising awareness of the contributions of Filipinos. She is the president of the Philippine Nurses Association of Gulfcoast Florida, and she supports the Gawad Kalinga (Caring Back), an international project to fight homelessness and help the underprivileged in the Philippines. She also helped sponsor a medical rally to provide surgical and dental services in the Philippines.

Mineque learned quickly about nurses’ impact on patients and shares this advice. “Let us not dehumanize the lives of those we encounter from day to day but continue to be instruments to our patient’s healing,” she says.


Susan Barrow, RN

Susan Barrow, RN, BSN, MSCRN
Nurse Manager, Med/Surg, Oncology, Hospice
North Broward Medical Center, Deerfield Beach

Barrow, who calls the Excellence award a “team award,” gives this advice for managing a team effectively: “Know your people; they are your biggest assets. Do the job your staff does — jump in and get dirty. You will earn their respect.”

Adding a personal touch to patient care, Barrow makes sure patients on the med/surg, oncology, and hospice units find a carnation on their pillows with a note attached to welcome them. And on a more practical note — and with patient safety in mind — she implemented a bright red paper form to assist with the labeling of blood draws. This past fiscal year, no specimens were mislabeled.

Barrow and her staff often band together to help families in need. She helped organize a fundraiser to pay for a dying man’s family to be at his side on Christmas and contacts local military personnel so representatives can visit dying patients with a military background. In addition, she often cooks for dying patients. She also has helped raise funds for improvements and the ongoing maintenance of the hospice unit.


Marquetta Flaugher, ARNP-BC, OSN
Nurse Practitioner, Medicine Services
Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

Flaugher is an excellent role model and mentor. She is working on implementing a formal nursing evidence-based practice structure, is co-chair of Standards of Care as the clinical expert, and is an active member of the Shared Governance Research Council, serving as a mentor for nurses who wish to conduct research. She is a member of the institution’s institutional review board and research and development committee.

When asked to help nurses develop skills in wound staging, Flaugher not only agreed to provide inservices herself, but she set up speakers for a series of discussions on skin and wound care. She developed a game on evidence-based practice to be played by SOC members.

In addition to authoring numerous publications and presentations, she acts as preceptor to a doctoral nursing student. She also serves as ARNP Council Nurse Planner for continuing education for her peers and participates in informal mentoring related to career development and care delivery models.


Joan Lorenz, RN

Joan Lorenz, RN, PMHCNS-BC
Clinical Nurse Educator
Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

Lorenz demonstrates a strength and professionalism in all of her endeavors. She encourages staff nurses to pursue certification and continue their formal education. She also volunteered to coordinate the Clinical Nurse Educators group PI/QI project ensuring that nurses obtain the knowledge of current patient safety goals. She also coordinates the facility’s placement and mentoring of advanced level nursing students as they complete the clinical portion of their programs. She mentors many of the students herself, assisting them with management, research, and leadership skills.
Lorenz is forming a work group to implement a culture of evidence-based practice within nursing at the facility. She also is active in the facility’s shared governance councils.

Lorenz participated in two national audio conferences, one on the development of nursing policies/procedures that address the prevention of urinary catheter associated infections, and the second was on the implementation of the new Joint Commission standard related to health professionals who display disruptive and inappropriate behavior.


CE Subscriptions Built for Your Convenience!

750+ ANCC-accredited courses. 2 subscription options. CE that
meets your needs.

By | 2020-04-15T14:49:10-04:00 June 15th, 2009|Categories: Regional, South|0 Comments

About the Author:


Leave A Comment