The finalists in the Community Service category for Nursing Spectrum’s Nursing Excellence Awards event, which takes place May 5 in Schaumburg, Ill.,are as follows:
Jennifer Burns, CPNP, APN
Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
The University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital
Nominators Name: Kenneth Alexander
Jennifer Burns combines an ever-broadening clinical acumen with creativity and drive all of which is steeped in a deep commitment to doing what is right. Amid concerns of high staff absenteeism during the H1N1 pandemic, Burns created and directed an immunization program for employees family members. It was initially focused on children of medical center employees but grew to include children and high-risk family members of the universitys employees. The program not only immunized more than 2,000 people but also provided an excellent educational opportunity for pediatric residents. Burns, an immunizations proponent, takes her message to the community and speaks regularly on behalf of the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics on various subjects related to immunization. Burns thought out of the box to create a financially successful family international travel clinic in response to increasing financial pressures on the hospital. In her clinic, she sees families who are planning to travel internationally and provides itinerary-specific guidance for adults, children and infants. Guidance topics include food safety, hygiene, required and recommended vaccines, prophylactic and emergency medications and a review of special challenges encountered when traveling with children. This program also provides learning opportunities for residents, fellows and nurses. Burns is an outstanding clinician who shares call with medical faculty to cover the medical centers pediatric infectious diseases inpatient consultation service. The consultative care of these patients is often complex and includes management of patients in the neonatal and pediatric ICUs, care of children with HIV and AIDS, as well as care of oncology and transplantation patients.
Scott Warren, RN
Adventist Bolingbrook (Ill.) Hospital
Nominated by: Richard Ruff, DO
The emergency room physician who nominated Scott Warren writes that Warren is the nurse he wants by his side when faced with a critical patient. When seconds count, Warren reliably obtains intravenous access and initiates life-saving treatments. Like all great clinicians, he anticipates and prepares ahead of time. He undoubtedly has saved lives because of his honed critical skills and superior medical knowledge. As a leader and role model, Warren quickly determines what the needs of the entire department are and acts to fill them. Warren is willing to come early, stay late or return in the middle of the night to help manage unexpected patient surges. Still, no description of Warren would be complete without comments regarding his personality and patient interactions. Warren has the ability to assess his patients emotional states and infuses the right amount of humor at the appropriate time. It is a rare event for one of his patients to be discharged without a smile on his or her face. One example of how Warren tackles tough situations was when an intoxicated and abusive patient in the ED later sent a letter of commendation to Warren for his patience and understanding. As if all of this were not enough, he also promotes wellness in the entire ED staff, inspiring them to participate in marathons, obstacle courses and stair climbs. Warren is a true inspiration and an unsung hero.
Dawn Bausone-Gazda, RN, BSN
Clinical Operations Assistant, Venous Access Device Team
Advocate Christ Medical Center, Oak Lawn, Ill.
Nominated by: Jennifer Connor
Dawn Bausone-Gazda is a critical member of the VAD team because of her clinical expertise and leadership abilities. Bausone-Gazda is known throughout the hospital by nurses in every department and is often called upon to assess or care for patients in critical need. Bausone-Gazda has undertaken many challenges that have been instrumental to the growth and success of the team. She led her co-workers in learning about and implementing the use of bedside ultrasound and today, thanks to Bausone-Gazdas leadership, clinical skills and support, the team successfully has adopted the practice of ultrasound use with every peripherally inserted central catheter insertion. Bausone-Gazda also served for the past two years as principal investigator for a large research study, including several hundred patients. She excelled in this role while continuing her day-to-day job duties and finishing her education. She is now working on co-writing a manuscript highlighting the outcomes of the study.
Annemarie OConnor, FNP-BC, MSN
Nurse Practitioner, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
University of Chicago Medical Center
Nominated by: Jenny Taylor
Throughout her career, Annemarie OConnor has bridged the gaps among nurses, patients and physicians regarding burn care. OConnor, an advanced practice nurse in the burn unit at the University of Chicago Medical Center, scrubs into operating room procedures and aids in the communication between nurses and physicians regarding surgical procedure and plan of care. She rounds with the burn team in evaluating for pressure ulcers and wound progress. OConnor performs physical assessments, prescribes appropriate treatments and provides direct care to patients of all ages (newborn to elderly) in the acute setting and clinic. Recognized as an Advanced Burn Life Support educator by the American Burn Association for the past 14 years, OConnor has developed and taught ABLS classes at burn units around the country. She developed standardized order sets to guide nursing practice in managing burn patient care and supports nurses in achieving competencies needed to care for these patients. Among her most notable professional achievements, OConnor has contributed her knowledge base to ensure the organization achieved a national Certificate of Verification through the American Burn Association and the American College of Surgeons, which the burn unit successfully received in 2002, and renewed in 2006 and 2009. OConnor cares deeply about what she does. For 18 years, she has participated in the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance Burn Camp, a week-long event for burn survivors ages 8 to 16.
Tamara A. Morrison, RN, ECRN, SANE-A
Staff Nurse I ED
Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, Chicago
Nominated by: Geraldine Kentgen
Tamara Morrison became interested in sexual-assault cases while working in the ED of this inner-city teaching hospital and has since demonstrated a special concern for male and female sexual-assault victims. She took it upon herself to register for a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner course and demonstrates compassion, competency, concern and quality when caring for victims of this crime. She is a passionate advocate for the care of these victims, not only in the ED but after they are discharged. Morrison follows up with these patients to make sure they are safe and informed. She strives to make sure each victim understands his or her rights, as well as the process and procedures they will face in the future. She is concerned with the emotional impact this injury can bring and works closely with the rape victim advocate program to assist victims. Morrison assists physicians and nurses when sexual-assault victims present to the ED by making sure the evidence collection is handled correctly and the chain of custody is preserved. She has taught the nursing and medical staffs the procedures required to correctly gather evidence, complete the sexual-assault kit and appropriately document the clinical findings. She has helped to inspire three other ED staff nurses to become interested in taking the SANE course. Morrison has reviewed and revised the hospitals sexual-assault policies and protocols to meet current state regulations and standards. Morrison has made a difference in the standard of care these patients receive at the institution.