The finalists in Clinical Care for Nursing Spectrum’s 2010 Nursing Excellence Awards program are as follows:
Walle Adams-Gerdts, RN, BA
Bone Marrow Oncology Nurse/Healing Touch Practitioner
Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Del.
Nominated by: Benjamin J. Sheets, RN, BS, CPON
Walle Adams-Gerdts calling to nursing came when she lost her mother to cancer. She earned her associate degree in nursing in 2002 and the title of healing touch certified practitioner in 2007. Although she has not been in the profession for long, Adams-Gerdts has achieved a nurse clinician 4 rank (the second-highest) in the clinical advancement program. Not only is Adams-Gerdts an amazing hematology/oncology nurse, but she has overcome numerous obstacles to single-handedly change the culture of nursing at the facility by introducing and implementing healing touch as an integrative modality to improve patient care. Gerdts has used healing touch with patients in almost every specialized care area and has received more than 125 referrals for her program. She believes every individual has the intrinsic power to heal, but at times, each person needs assistance opening the channels that let healing take place. Adams-Gerdts is modest and takes no credit for the amount of work she has done or the enormity of the success of her program. A parent recently wrote a letter about Adams-Gerdts care. The facilitys chief nurse executive read it to nurse managers and senior directors during a leadership meeting. The parents of the patient were so positively affected by Adams-Gerdts that they hosted a fundraiser at their home, with the proceeds going to the healing touch program at the facility. She has spoken at nursing continuing education programs, teaching nurses about the value of complementary therapies. One of her goals is to become a certified healing touch instructor. Adams-Gerdts has so inspired her colleagues that there are 15 RNs on staff who have achieved the status of Level 1 practitioner of healing touch.
Lisa Barker, RN, CMSRN
South Jersey Healthcare Elmer (N.J.) Hospital
Nominated by: Kay Fogg
Lisa Barker is passionate about quality of care at the 30-bed med/surg community hospital unit. That encompasses improving patient care and the patient experience, bettering the work environment, and developing professionally. It encompasses team building and leading others in efforts to create new methods of delivering cost-effective care. In February 2008, Barker accepted the chairmanship of the hospitals Unit-Based Practice Council. Under her guidance, the UBPC took on a quality focus and developed such projects as a wound care cart to save nurses time in gathering wound care products. The project has resulted in more timely and appropriate patient care, reduced supply utilization costs, and saved countless steps for RNs. Barker led the UBPCs initiation of post-discharge phone calls to all patients discharged home. Patient satisfaction scores climbed with the program. Barker laid the groundwork for a nursing research study on a reinfusion system in total knee arthroplasty, and she received a grant to fund this research from the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses. The institutional review board-approved study is under way. Barker led a community outreach project that provided medication cards, advanced directive education and blood pressure screenings to members of a senior center. Under her leadership, the UBPC also completed a work redistribution project in which it redistributed tasks between the day shift and night shift in a more equitable manner to improve employee satisfaction and establish better work flow. Barkers contributions also include the UBPCs development of Unit-Based Fall Prevention guidelines that have been implemented with some astounding results. Before guideline implementation, the units rate for patient falls was 4.24/1,000 patient days. That fall rate decreased remarkably to 0.75 falls/1,000 patient days with the program.
Kate Marbach, RN, BS
Staff Nurse, Clinical Level 2
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Nominated by: Mary Jo De Finis
Kate Marbach stands out for not only exceptional clinical care but also for her compassion and determination to give each patient as positive an environment as possible. As primary nurse for chronic patients on the unit, she helps develop a plan of care utilizing her knowledge as a bedside nurse in the PICU as well as the expertise of the physicians, fellow nurses and respiratory, physical, occupational and speech therapists. Marbach helped to transition one of the units long-term patients to a step-down unit. The patient had a long and complex history, so Marbach made sure the new unit was well educated about the patients specific needs. She assured the patients family that she would continue to follow the patient, even though that person had left the unit. Fellow workers on the unit have acknowledged Marbach for her outstanding work as a team player. Peers have nominated her for awards that she has received. Marbach is a team leader for the unit, charged with helping to ensure patient care needs are being addressed.
Theresa Sherman, RN, BA, CRRN
Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, Malvern, Pa.
Nominated by: Catherine Harmer
Theresa Sherman has celebrated more than 40 years in nursing, experiencing myriad settings, including pediatrics, med/surg, emergency, orthopedics, infection control and dialysis. Sherman has served as an officer in the U.S Navy Nurse Corps and achieved the rank of full lieutenant in the Naval Reserve. For the past 25 years, Sherman has practiced the art and science of rehabilitative nursing and is certified as a rehabilitation registered nurse. She has worked to increase specialty certification on her unit, which has the highest percentage of certified nurses in the hospital. Sherman has been active throughout the hospital and hospital system, including on the Nursing Showcase Team, Employee Council, Clinical Documentation Redesign Team and Nursing Research and Innovation Council. She steps in when needed as a CPR instructor or to mentor new nurses or therapists. Sherman was selected as a fellow in the Nursing Research Leadership Fellowship. She attended a two-week intensive education program last year and is working on a nursing research project. As the Magnet ambassador for her unit, Sherman works with the nursing staff to teach and engage nurses and to enhance outcomes on her unit. Sherman has received many awards, including the Jeannie McGraw Award for Excellence in Rehabilitation Nursing and the Nightingale of Pennsylvania Award for Excellence in Clinical Nursing.
Christine Small, RN
Assistant ECMO Coordinator
St. Christophers Hospital for Children, Philadelphia
Nominated by: Dominick M. Carella
Christine Small cares for the sickest patients at St. Christophers Hospital for Children. While Small displays many strong qualities, none is as important as her clinical competence. The role of an assistant ECMO coordinator is a vital and demanding one that requires no delays in decision making, no second-guessing and no doubt. Small is the resource nurse and reference book for the department. As a member of two of the premier childrens hospitals in Philadelphia, Small serves as per diem ECMO staff at one, covering all shifts. Small serves at a moments notice when she is needed. As assistant ECMO coordinator at the primary of the two hospitals, Small maintains written and practical competencies related to ECMO at both institutions. Through her clinical and leadership excellence and deep commitment, Small inspires the staff to demand of themselves what she demands of herself. Small exhibits an exceptionally strong set of values, built on honesty, openness and true respect for the staff.