You are here:----Florida Finalists Chosen for the 2010 Nursing Spectrum Excellence Awards’ Mentoring and Teaching Categories

Florida Finalists Chosen for the 2010 Nursing Spectrum Excellence Awards’ Mentoring and Teaching Categories

For more than a decade, Nursing Spectrum’s Nursing Excellence Awards program has recognized the extraordinary contributions Florida-area nurses make to their patients, each other and the profession. This year, nurses from the Florida region came forward to tell us about these heroes of nursing.

The grateful peers of these exceptional nursing professionals sent detailed nominations for Nursing Spectrum’s 2010 Nursing Excellence Awards. The nominees include staff nurses, specialists, nurse practitioners, vice presidents and nurse executives who work in settings as disparate as occupational health, education, intensive care, cardiology, med/surg and pediatrics. No matter what the role or setting, these nurses have found ways to raise the bar for their peers and the quality of life of their patients. Nursing Spectrum hopes their stories will inspire all of our readers to reach for excellence.

From the many tributes we received for this year’s program, we narrowed the competition to three nurses in each of six categories, for a total of 18 finalists.

The categories included:

RNs who have made contributions that advanced and strengthened the nursing profession or the delivery of patient care. These nurses have made broad-reaching contributions that affect the entire profession rather than a single organization.

RNs who demonstrate excellence in direct-care delivery in any clinical setting. This category celebrates nurses who work directly with patients and their families.

RNs who have made significant professional or voluntary contributions that improved patient care. These nurses have helped their community either as part of their jobs or as volunteers.

RNs who have demonstrated exceptional management of nursing or patient care services in any setting. This category honors managers who have a talent for developing successful employees and systems.

RNs who provide a positive professional influence, guidance, and support of other nurses in any setting. These nurses have cultivated relationships that foster the development of their nurse colleagues.

RNs who have made significant contributions in education, professional development and/or long-term learning of nursing professionals.

Here are the finalists in the Mentoring and Teaching categories:

Jamie Kirby, RN


Jamie Kirby, RN, BSN
Direct Care RN
Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, Orlando

Nominated by: Mary Jane Magill

After only three years as a nurse, Jamie Kirby has already made an impact as a role model for peers. She demonstrates a commitment to quality care and patient safety. Kirby serves as a preceptor to new nurses and has had great success with nurses she has oriented — all of whom continue to practice at the hospital. Kirby serves as day shift charge nurse. She works collaboratively in that role with all members of the healthcare team to create care plans that best meet patients’ needs. Kirby recently became chair of the hospital’s nursing practice council. She has been instrumental in influencing the transformation of the facility’s leadership model to shared decision making, which she believes will not only enhance patient care but also increase nurse job satisfaction. To inspire nurses to become involved in shared governance, Kirby presented at nursing unit staff meetings throughout the hospital to explain what this means to nursing. She was even asked to speak at other hospitals within the system because of her enthusiasm for what she believes.

Carol DiMura, RN

Carol DiMura, RNC, MSN
Education Specialist
Morton Plant Mease Health Care, Dunedin

Nominated by: Marianne Martin

Carol DiMura was involved in staff development and teaching when she first started her nursing career as a staff nurse 30 years ago. Later, as a retention specialist, DiMura identified 12 clinical nurse residents (new RNs) who were at risk of leaving the organization. She assessed their individual learning needs and worked directly with these nurses, as well as with their preceptors and managers. Nine successfully completed orientation. Most remained on their initial unit of hire, but, when this was not possible, DiMura arranged for placement on another unit. This planted the seed for the “orientation unit,” which DiMura developed in her role as education specialist. The premise is that new nurses go to specific orientation units, where highly trained orientation preceptors help integrate and retain them. DiMura helped train the orientation unit preceptors in a class designed specifically for these preceptors. DiMura meets frequently with preceptors and unit educators to problem solve issues they encounter, as they implement the orientation model. The approach has been so successful that this educational format is now available to all of the hospital’s preceptors. “Critical Thinking Can Be Painless” is among the courses that DiMura has developed. This course is designed to not only assist nurse preceptors in their critical thinking but also to allow them to develop techniques that can assist in teaching others how to think critically.

Diane Johnstone, RN

Diane Johnstone, RN, MSN, NEA-BC
Chief Nurse/Education
Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, Bay Pines

Nominated by: Patricia Pierce, PhD, ARNP, FAAN

Diane Johnstone was recognized by peers early in her nursing career as one who would passionately help new staff grow and develop. In 1989, she was selected to become a nurse manager of an acute med-surg unit, where she implemented a project focusing on nurse satisfaction and retention. Her efforts resulted in a turnover rate close to zero, with a waiting list of staff who wanted to work on that unit. In her current role as chief nurse/education, Johnstone set the example by being the first in the facility to obtain national certifications in nursing administration, a nurse executive and nurse executive/advanced. She co-led two conferences on management and leadership for the VA facilities in Florida and Puerto Rico. In 2004, she attended a Magnet conference and took the lead in pursuing Magnet status. She created the Magnet program director and nursing research/nurse scientist. Johnstone was selected to be a facility coaching instructor, as well as a crucial conversations instructor, because of her excellent communication skills and rapport with staff. Johnstone served as a captain in the 345th Combat Support Hospital in the U.S. Army Reserves and held several roles at the CSH. In these roles, Johnstone worked with new officers and assisted them with avenues to education and advancement.

Sandra Smith-Jewell


Sandra Smith, RN, BA, MSN
Education Specialist
Morton Plant Mease Health Care, Dunedin

Nominated by: Marianne Martin

Sandra Smith, RN, ASN, BS, is a wonderful ambassador, continually expressing pride in the organization and always looking to recruit and develop talented individuals. Over the past several years, she has been instrumental in recruiting three talented nurses from other departments into clinical education. In 2008, Smith was instrumental in helping team members being displaced from a rehabilitation unit, when the unit closed for financial reasons. She assessed team members’ skills and helped them hone their acute-care skills. Smith helped them get job interviews and went with them to meet interviewers. She is a staunch advocate for the frontline team member. In addition to leading the patient education department, Smith chairs the restraint task force, supports Joint Commission readiness, and co-chairs the med/surg practice council. She has wholeheartedly embraced her role as the Pay for Skills Diabetic Resource nurse leader. In addition to developing educational opportunities for nurses, last year she wrote and obtained a foundation grant for diabetes education. Smith works with physicians and pharmacists to improve diabetes management. She also helps educate nurses and patients. Smith worked closely with a critical care nurse who had a patient whose type 1 diabetes was unmanaged for six years. She provided education tools to the bedside nurse to assist this patient in disease management.

James J. Morello, RN

James J. Morello, RN, MSN, Ed
Mental Health Nurse Educator
Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, Bay Pines

Nominated by: Robert Machado, MSN, PMHCNS-BC

James Morello, RN, MSN, EdD, meets with each mental health nurse manager to develop an educational plan providing in-services to each area. An example is the training related to using proper documentation for observation levels and restraint and seclusion protocols. Morello is an excellent resource for staff and provides direction when staff members are performing literature searches. He continually works with the nurse managers to plan and develop in-services to meet the staff’s needs. He chairs the nursing evidence-based practice committee, increasing staff awareness related to evidence-based practice. Morello has developed a new model of education for the service, bringing the training to the point of care. This has increased attendance by 75% compared to the previous model. Nursing staff and managers continue to express satisfaction with the new approach and its responsiveness to the emerging needs in mental health nursing and the service. Morello, who has taught at two community colleges and a local university, is responsible for the mental health nursing orientation program. He makes himself available to discuss issues with staff and acts as a role model and reference source. He provides leadership in identifying and addressing ethical issues. Morello is mindful of the diverse populations throughout the service and accommodates his presentations to meet the needs of the patients and staff.

Patricia Pierce, RN

Patricia M. Pierce, RN, ARNP, PhD, FAAN
Nurse Educator
Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, Bay Pines

Nominated by: Diane Johnstone, RN, MSN, NEA-BC

Patricia Pierce is recognized by peers and colleagues as a master teacher. Her students not only love her for her gentle, open approach but also admire her teaching ability and willingness to go the extra mile to help ensure they build successful careers. Pierce is a stickler for basing care on evidence. She constantly reviews the literature and attends continuing education programs to remain current in her own practice. Best practice standards are fully integrated into Pierce’s teaching and practice. Her students are well aware of the influence research has on practice and how nursing theories lead research efforts. Through her teaching and role modeling, Pierce raises the standards of nursing practice and encourages curiosity about every nursing procedure. Before beginning a clinical day, Pierce’s students spend time reflecting on how they will impact the lives of their patients and their own lives. During her tenure at a major teaching university, Pierce designed a case management model and developed a new curriculum to guide nurse case managers in their learning. The nurse case managers provided direct intervention, as well as taught family members to manage the pediatric patients’ health needs. This project was recognized by Harvard University School of Public Health as one of five innovative national programs that created new models of care to improve the health of children. This model served as a framework for other states as they developed care delivery for chronically ill children. Pierce also wrote and was awarded a major teaching grant to initiate a family nurse practitioner program at a university. A major emphasis of the grant was to improve health delivery in rural areas. Pierce authored the book “Stressed Out About NCLEX,” a primer for nursing school graduates as they prepare for their licensing examination.

By | 2020-04-15T14:14:40-04:00 June 14th, 2010|Categories: Regional, South|0 Comments

About the Author:


Leave A Comment