Nursing Spectrum will honor the 30 finalists in its 2010 Nursing Excellence Awards and choose a winner in each category June 8 at Martins Crosswinds in Greenbelt, Md.
The finalists in Community Service are as follows:
Karen Asplund, RN, BSN
Unit Charge Nurse, Critical Care
Anne Arundel Medical Center, Annapolis, Md.
Nominated by: Vivian Craft
To her peers on the unit, Karen Asplund, RN, BSN, is affectionately known as Zippy. This Energizer Bunny works tirelessly and seemingly manages to be in several places at once. She ensures throughput and does so with the utmost dedication and compassion, making sure nurses get their breaks and patients receive quality care. Asplund never hesitates to assist at the bedside or facilitate a transport to testing. She is always willing to help with an intubation, to teach and be a resource for a resident new graduate. Asplund is there to give those 10 oclock meds, a bath and admit or discharge a patient. She leads by example, setting a high bar. She teaches annually at the facilitys unit skills days and offers her expertise from start to finish. As clinical nurse 3, Asplund goes beyond her job description, taking on administrative and management responsibilities, from reviewing time cards, policies and incident reports to carrying out disciplines. She works to ensure the department is in good financial standing and within hospital budget standards. Asplund has been involved in facilitating multidisciplinary patient rounds, the informatics workgroups, patient safe handling and scheduling committee, peer evaluations and the hospitals new computer system implementation. As a result of Asplunds contributions, the unit maintains daily rounds, has ceiling-mounted lifts in each room, has fair scheduling guidelines and has information technologys support available for nurses and doctors still learning how to use the new computer system. Asplund has been a spokeswoman and advocate for nurses on the unit and throughout the hospital, ensuring that safe nurse-to-patient ratios are maintained, bedside responsibilities are considered and supports are available.
Joan L. Gelrud, RN, MSN, CPHQ, FACHE
St. Marys Hospital, Leonardtown, Md.
Nominated by: MaryLou Watson
A nurse for 30 years, Joan L. Gelrud, RN, MSN, CPHQ, FACHE, taught at the University of Maryland and the College of Southern Maryland. Outside of her work-required responsibilities, she is a Housing Authority commissioner and member of the Community Development Corporation board of directors. Gelrud chairs the Human Services Council for county commissioners. A published nurse researcher, Gelrud also is an avid community volunteer in her personal life. She is the past president of the Beth Israel Synagogue, past board member of the community soup kitchen, has been a Boy Scout camp counselor and also a consultant to the superintendent of the county.
Julia F. Warner, RN, MSN, NE-BC
Patient Care Director
Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, Alexandria, Va.
Nominated by: Patricia J. Mook
These are just a few things that make Julia F. Warner, RN, MSN, NE-BC, stand out: She is focused on organizational viability and defining postoperative best practices for total joint patients. Warner strategically increased patient volumes in the area of joint replacement, surpassing budgeted volumes in 2009. She collaborated with joint replacement physicians to define clinical pathways for both hips and knees, achieving the best outcomes in the Mid-Atlantic region and a length of stay of 2.6 days. In the past year, Warners unit achieved Joint Commission certification for hip and knee replacement. She led the staff in achieving patient satisfaction greater than the 90th percentile the past two years. Physician satisfaction in Warners area remains the highest in the hospital. Warner recognized the importance of pain management for the 1,900 joint recipients seen in the facility each year and collaborated with the perioperative staff to achieve significant evidence-based improvements in pain management. And Warner worked to ensure that pain management for the patient population was improved across the continuum. Recognizing the importance of research, Warner contributed to the coordination of a research study on the efficacy of femoral nerve block after total knee replacement. These efforts resulted in alternative pain management, earlier access to rehabilitation activities and shorter hospital stays. Warner helped in the restructuring of nursing leadership and led the organization in the development of an entry level management role. The department has less than 3% turnover and a zero vacancy rate for more than a year. Warner is a champion of patient safety and an advocate for nurses, encouraging diversification in nursing career paths.
Beverly Joyce James, RN
Clinical Nurse IV
Washington Hospital Center, Washington, D.C.
Nominated by: Rebecca Graystone
Beverly Joyce James, RN, started her professional life as a nursing assistant in 1978 in a long-term care facility. One day, she was caring for a diabetic patient who was displaying signs of severe hyperglycemia. James reported her suspicions to the LPN on duty and got little response or intervention. Later that day, the patient was transported urgently to an acute care center, where he later died. This event profoundly impacted James, and she decided right then she would become a nurse so that such an episode never would happen again. James completed her nursing education in 1984. In 1992, she organized a fundraiser to support victims of Hurricane Andrew and organized a drive to support Gulf War troops. James continues her fundraising today and has supported many organizations as a result. She is passionate about caring for those who have needs and for recognizing the hard work of caregivers. James single-handedly created a campaign in the OR to recognize those caught in the act of doing something good. Although not a formal manager, she is essentially in charge of the same-day surgery suites at the hospital. The entire team sees James as invaluable and indispensable to the smooth operation of these two important operating suites. Physicians and surgeons, in particular, value her contributions to the team from day-to-day troubleshooting to her positive can-do attitude.
Wendy C. Shepard, PMHCNS-BC
Clinical Nurse Specialist and Team Leader
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore
Nominated by: Jo Deaton, MS, RN
Wendy C. Shepard, PMHCNS-BC, helped found Creative Alternatives, a program that takes psychiatric patients out of state hospitals and helps them in all areas of their lives by using the Recovery and Resiliency models to promote personal strength. As a team leader, Shepard and her team have twice achieved no hospitalizations for all patients on her team for more than a year. She volunteers with a ministry. One of her patients said: Shepard has on several occasions been my guardian and guiding angel. She arrived one night when I was supposed to do a finger stick, and I felt very woozy, so I told her. She did the finger stick with me, and I was down to 64. She asked if I had any sugar in the house, and I told her no. So, she went out to her car and came back with grape jelly. … No words could ever really say what I feel for her. Shepards competence and professionalism, good humor and sweet spirit have helped anchor the Creative Alternatives boat.