Nursing Spectrum’s 2010 Nursing Excellence finalists in the Teaching category are as follows:
Donna Smith Covin, RN, MSN, CNL
Clinical Nurse Leader
Princeton (N.J.) HealthCare System
Nominated by: Kathleen Seneca
Donna Smith Covin is among the first clinical nurse leaders to embark on implementing the newest nursing role in 30 years. This nationwide nursing role, developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, emphasizes achieving optimum patient outcomes across the healthcare continuum by employing the best science. One aspect is to educate staff on how to adopt evidence-based practices, and Covin embraced being an educator with passion and integrity. Her unwavering pursuit to consistently infuse best practices in everyday clinical arenas was sometimes met with resistance. But with perseverance and dedication, Covin overcame those challenges by engaging practitioners to forgo traditional methods of care delivery for practices that have been demonstrated to reduce morbidity and mortality. Covin has been an integral part of the ICU/CCU team. In the past eight months, she revised the ICU/CCU orientation process. The 12-week orientation program carefully matches each preceptor with a new nurse. The program focuses on providing a toolbox for both the preceptor and new nurse to use for consistent transfer of knowledge, thus eliminating inconsistent experiences for each new nurse. The orientation program utilizes case study methodology to delve into the most frequently encountered medical diagnoses. Throughout the orientation program, the preceptor and new nurse are required to read current evidence-based practice articles on each diagnosis. This new approach to orientation resulted in reduced staff turnover, higher staff satisfaction, higher physician satisfaction, improved staff engagement, reduced orientation time and reduced vacancy rates.
Anne M. Delengowski, RN, MSN, AOCN
Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia
Nominated by: JoAnn Silcox, RN, MSN
Anne M. Delengowski has dedicated her life to the expert and compassionate care of cancer patients through implementing evidence-based practice, educating and mentoring nursing staff and sharing her vast knowledge. Delengowski is recognized for her ability to orchestrate care for patients above and beyond expectations, from diagnosis to discharge to end of life. Her reputation for compassion and ability to provide emotional and spiritual comfort for patients and their families is legendary. Delengowski rotates throughout the hospital, mentoring nurses, and in ICU when chemo is ordered, to ensure patient care standards are met and chemotherapy is delivered safely and correctly. During daily patient rounds, Delengowski often can be found sharing information with the entire multidisciplinary team. She shares what she learns in continuing education and research with staff, updating members on trends and providing instruction about new protocols and treatments. She assists staff nurses with complicated procedures and mentors nurses about continuing to learn and grow professionally. Delengowski is a preceptor for nursing students who have clinical rotations at the hospital, and she is a faculty member for the Advanced Practice Nursing oncology program for the Jefferson School of Nursing. Delengowski also finds the time to be a consultant for other area schools of nursing. She coordinates and helps teach the hospitals oncology certification program. Delengowski has her finger on the pulse of what’s going on. She is the chairwoman of the Pastoral Care Advisory Committee, Advanced Practice Nurses Committee and Oncology Multidisciplinary Practice Committee. She is member of the Nurse Executive Council, as well as the following committees: Cancer Nurse Managers, Pharmacy and Therapeutics, Schwartz Rounds Planning, Ethics, Evidence-Based Practice, Palliative Care Advisory, and Falls Prevention. Delengowski also is a mentor to other committees and contributes in many other ways.
Eleanor Fitzpatrick, RN, MSN, ACNP, CCRN
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia
Nominated by: Darlene Rosendale, RN, BSN
Eleanor Fitzpatrick balances caring for patients with expertise and compassion with her dedication to nursing education and research. As the respected clinical nurse specialist for two units the surgical ICU and intermediate surgical ICU Fitzpatrick is an integral member of the hospitals critical care nursing team. She has earned the Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals prestigious Critical Care Nursing Award. Fitzpatrick serves as teacher, coach and mentor, fostering the professional growth of staff members throughout their orientations and in practice. She is liaison to the units Evidence-Based Practice Committee and offers guidance and resources to novice and experienced nurses. Fitzpatrick maintains her clinical expertise in critical care by providing patient care at the bedside and, by doing so, serves as a role model for other direct-care providers. Fitzpatrick has dedicated her life to the advancement of the nursing profession through education. Always striving to advance the knowledge and skills of our critical care nursing team, she organizes and speaks at hospital-sponsored conferences and lectures on a range of critical care topics. She teaches CCRN review courses and supports staff conference attendance, improving critical care certification rates in the SICU and ISICU. Fitzpatrick has an essential role in teaching courses for unit orientation, including critical care, basic dysrhythmia and trauma.
Margaret M. Harkins, CRNP, MSN, MBE
Geriatric Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Assistant Professor
Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions, Philadelphia, and Matrix Medical Network
Nominated by: Jean S. MacFadyen
Margaret Harkins has a consistent and sustained commitment to excellence in teaching and caring for the elderly. She is transparent in her values. She reflects in her clinical work the objectives she teaches in the classroom. She also has the tenacity to uphold her standards at personal expense. Harkins is a superb example of an academician with stellar clinical skills, influencing and guiding the next generation of caretakers for the elderly. Where ageism prevails, she gently but persuasively challenges the status quo, encouraging introspection and the importance of an individuals personhood. A strong advocate for education, Harkins anticipates completing her second masters degree this year, in clinical bioethics, and is simultaneously working on a doctorate. With this ambitious load, she has raised two children, one of whom was bedridden and handicapped. She also has experienced the death of her husband and disabled son. But this woman does not complain. Working in the academic arena, Harkins demonstrates flexibility, working in the accelerated and regular track nursing programs. She has taught pharmacology, adult health, gerontology, health assessment, end of life, principles of nursing and advanced ethics. Aside from the normal teaching responsibilities, Harkins has served as a course coordinator and performed clinical site visits. Harkins has been vigorous in keeping the gerontological curriculum up to date with the latest standards released from the Hartford Foundation. She has initiated a lab for students so they can experience aging deficits and the isolation that can result.
Shila Hayden, RN, BS, MSN, PhD
Bayhealth Medical Center, Milford, Del.
Nominated by: Cynthia Mather
A nurse for 40 years, Shila Hayden began her career as a trauma nurse in a large city hospital. It was there that she began teaching others. She initiated and developed a training program for paramedics on the skill of infusion therapy. It is a program that exists to this day. She later worked in the home care setting and in education, teaching at local colleges. Her career took another turn when she entered the retail market in the preparation and distribution of pharmaceuticals to home care and long-term care facilities. Hayden strove to improve the quality standards of nursing through the power of education. During this time, she took two months to take a group of nurses to India to establish a home care agency that included hiring and training staff nurses to provide continuous home care services to those in need. Upon her return to the U.S., she took a position in another city hospital, where she worked as the pain management specialist. Hayden established a pain program there that included orientation of new physicians to pain management. Her position today as clinical educator has given Hayden the opportunity to continue her educational endeavors. Hayden has coordinated and chairs a multidisciplinary pain committee that evaluates different treatment modalities for specific patients. Hayden routinely conducts pain consults for the hospital to assess pain levels and assists physicians in choosing the best treatment based on current evidence-based practice. She continues to lecture at local colleges and routinely accepts speaking engagements to share knowledge of current evidence-based practices. Hayden believes nursing is a fluid and ever-advancing science and requires a commitment to lifetime learning. She is an accomplished PhD and is a recognized expert in infusion therapy and pain management. Her most recent accomplishment was authoring and publishing the nursing manual Infusion Therapy Procedures and Pain Management (fourth edition), which was released in August 2009.