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Meet the New York, New Jersey Nursing Excellence Winners

For more than a decade, Nursing Spectrum’s Nursing Excellence Awards program has recognized the extraordinary contributions New York and New Jersey nurses make to their patients, each other and the profession. This year, almost 500 nurses attended the awards banquet to show their support — our biggest turnout ever.

“By the very fact that you’re here tonight … you demonstrate the dedication you have to your profession, you show clearly your willingness to make a difference every day in the care you give your patients, and you make evident your own personal recognition of what excellence in nursing is all about,” said Eileen P. Williamson, RN, MSN, vice president of nursing communications & initiatives at Nursing Spectrum, published by Gannett Healthcare Group.

Nursing Spectrum also thanks the sponsors who made the awards dinner possible. The National Sponsor was Johnson & Johnson: The Campaign for Nursing’s Future. The Gold Sponsor was NewYork-Presbyterian. Silver Sponsors included Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, Montefiore Medical Center, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Mountainside Hospital, Nassau-Suffolk Nurse Recruiters Association, New York Methodist Hospital, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene — Office of School Health, NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, Saint Peter’s University Hospital, South Nassau Communities Hospital, Vassar Brothers Medical Center, Visiting Nurse Service of New York and White Plains Hospital Center. The cocktail reception was courtesy of the Bernard Hodes Group.


Trish O’Keefe, RN

Trish O’Keefe, RN, MSN, NE-BC, PhD(c), chief nursing officer, Morristown (N.J.) Memorial Hospital

“I am honored to receive this award, but it is truly a team effort of intelligent nurses who make changes, motivate one another, and work off of one another’s energy to make a difference in our facility,” O’Keefe said after she received the Nursing Excellence award.

O’Keefe is viewed by others as the “engine that drives the organization,” who provides clarity in a complicated system. She manages a $270 million budget, advocating for nurses and patients in a persuasive, quietly relentless and goal-driven manner. During her impressive tenure, she has improved RN retention rates and care outcomes and structured nursing in six hospitalwide councils, bringing nurses and health professionals into shared governance and practice ownership.

Because she is an advocate of research-based practice, 24 nursing research studies and other EBP projects were completed or in progress last year alone. O’Keefe serves as adjunct faculty at a local university and views the mentor-professional relationship as essential to succession planning.


Michele DeFilippis, RN

Michele DeFilippis, RN, CCRN, CNRN, unit educator, ICU, Morristown (N.J.) Memorial Hospital

DeFilippis is a “peer coach” providing clinical leadership to ICU and neuroscience nurses. She is a leader in shared governance, a charter member of the wound care team and chairperson of the unit educator committee. “As unit educator in staff development, I can share my passion in neuroscience, whether it be in orientation, new product education or in teaching or reviewing clinical competencies,” DeFilippis said.

DeFilippis coordinates activities using a holistic approach, which along with her knowledge and clinical skills has earned her universal respect as a clinician. She brings education to the night shift right at the nursing station, several times a month as needed. As leader of the ICU quality improvement committee, she developed a plan on bedside monitoring safety and record keeping, achieving significant results.

DeFilippis reviews wound and skin care policies and procedures and updates evidence-based references for the manual. Because she is an ICU “wound care champion,” hospital-acquired pressure ulcer prevalence decreased by 62%.


Marilyn Lugo, RN

Marilyn Lugo, ACRN, MSN, CNS, clinical nurse specialist, maternity, newborn, pediatrics, Visiting Nurse Service of New York-Home Care, Brooklyn

A nurse who actively cares for people in her community, at home and abroad, Lugo provides short- and long-term skilled home care nursing services to medically fragile children and their families.

Since last fall, Lugo has been instrumental in the pilot program for VNSNY’s pediatric palliative care program based in Brooklyn, where she uses her Spanish language skills to recruit patients from the community.

Last year, she contributed to a Spanish-language radio show and has given interviews to Univision educational radio to discuss teaching parents of children with asthma how to manage the chronic condition. Using her expertise as an AIDS certified nurse, Lugo has traveled to Chile to provide HIV prevention education and has collected clothing and other essentials that were shipped to Chile before and in the wake of the 2010 earthquake.

“I’m an idealist,” Lugo said. “I want to save the world.”


Joan M. Sorich, RN

Joan M. Sorich, RN, MS, clinical nurse manager, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, N.Y.

Sorich says many ingredients go into good management, all of which are integral to creating an environment in which staff members feel valued. “Excellence in clinical practice and possession of the ability to make sound judgments are like flour and eggs,” Sorich said. “They are the basic ingredients that form a substantial foundation on which the other variables, or qualities, can develop and flourish.”

But the most important ingredient is “to have a vision that incites passion and energy in your staff to want to always strive to individually and collaboratively work to deliver the best patient care,” she said.

Sorich is well-versed in oncology nursing practice standards and serves as a resource in working with the bone marrow transplant team to improve care across the continuum. Patient satisfaction scores for her unit are among the highest in the 1,200-bed institution.


Josephine Marcantonio, RN

Josephine Marcantonio, RN, MSN, CPN, clinical nurse specialist, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian, New York, N.Y.

When asked why she loves to help staff meet their educational and professional goals, Marcantonio simply said, “I, myself, was mentored well.” A role model, mentor and motivator, Marcantonio has a keen eye for staff learning needs. Her skills include identifying new graduates who need extra support and helping them apply for the hospital residency program.

She facilitates hands-on, on-the-job learning, freely sharing articles, resources and learning materials, and organizes weekly sessions to provide information for staff on new techniques, procedures, ethical issues or any developments that may affect their nursing practice. She also has initiated monthly mock codes to give staff hands-on experience, and help expand their decision-making skills.

“My managers gave me opportunities, but they also helped me learn what steps I needed to take to go after opportunities, as well,” she said. “I hope to pass that on.”


Barbara Doran, RN

Barbara Doran, RN, MA, BC, FN-CSA, education specialist, nursing, Newark (N.J.) Beth Israel Medical Center

Doran has an impressive clinical and education background that prepared her well for her education specialist role at a 550-bed urban medical center. As adjunct faculty when the facility partnered with a college to provide nursing clinical residencies, preceptors and students alike applauded her and invited her to attend their pinning and capping ceremony.

A student interviewing for a summer nurse extern position said she applied because she’d heard about Doran from student participants; a seasoned nurse in her preceptor course said she had never experienced such effectiveness, quality or professionalism in a teacher. “Ever since I was little, I felt that once I heard information, I could take it and explain it to others in a clear way,” Doran said. A community volunteer, researcher, expert witness and award winner, staff and management consider her a “superb” clinical and education expert and resource.

By | 2020-04-15T14:09:23-04:00 June 28th, 2010|Categories: New York/New Jersey Metro, Regional|0 Comments

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