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Meet the New England Nursing Excellence Winners

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

“We are all truly fortunate there are so many deserving nurses, shining the light of advocacy, compassion, critical thinking, teaching and leadership into the lives of patients, families and students,” said Judith Mitiguy, RN, MS, executive vice president of nursing communications & initiatives at Nursing Spectrum. “I wish we could honor them all.”

It was fitting the May 11 awards dinner fell on the 100-year anniversary of the death of Florence Nightingale. “Her teachings and her spirit live on in the practice of the nurses in this ballroom, this region, this country and the world,” Mitiguy said.

Nursing Spectrum also thanks the sponsors who made the awards dinner possible. Gold Sponsors include Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston; Children’s Hospital Boston; Hartford (Conn.) Hospital; Lahey Clinic, Burlington, Mass.; and Tufts Medical Center, Boston. Silver Sponsors include Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston; Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; MGH Institute of Health Professions, Boston; North Shore Medical Center, Salem, Mass.; Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, Boston; Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, Dover, N.H.; and Winchester (Mass.) Hospital. Table centerpiece arrangements were courtesy of MidState Medical Center in Meriden, Conn.


Kathleen M. Stolzenberger, RN

Kathleen M. Stolzenberger, RN, PhD, director of professional practice and research, Middlesex Hospital, Middletown, Conn.

Passionate about inspiring staff to achieve higher levels of excellence in nursing as leaders have inspired her, Stolzenberger worked tirelessly to develop a professional practice model known as CARE to Make a Difference. Each letter of the word CARE introduces an idea of professional practice already embedded in the culture.

“Throughout my career, the single most influencing factor in my practice has been the nurse leader to whom I reported,” Stolzenberger said. “Five women stand out in my professional life as administrators who created a practice culture where excellence was expected and supported. Each one had more confidence in me than I had in myself. They opened doors, trusted me, gave me the freedom and resources I needed and expected me to fly. Each one became my mentor, role model and close colleague.”

Stolzenberger said her award wouldn’t have been possible without her colleagues. “You are the inspiration,” she said in her acceptance speech. “Listening to the accolades of my colleagues is humbling. I’m proud to be a nurse.”


Dorothy M. Beke, RN

Dorothy M. Beke, RN, MS, CPNP-PC/AC, CICU clinical nurse specialist, Children’s Hospital, Boston

Exemplifying excellence in her holistic approach to family-centered care and patient advocacy, Beke influences standards of care and evaluates care processes for cardiovascular patients and their families.

“Over the years, I have been privileged to care and learn from children with complex heart disease through life and in death,” Beke said. “It is the patients and families that are most inspiring, mainly their courage, resiliency, humility and strength in the face of adversity and life-threatening illness that have taught and inspired me throughout my career.”

Beke freely shares information and mentors those who share her practice. “I have also been blessed with wonderful parents who, by their example, have instilled in me a sense of care and compassion for others as well as a strong work ethic,” Beke said. “In addition, the many mentors I have had throughout my career have taught me how to care for critically ill children through life and in death.”


Egidia Rugwizangoga, RN

Egidia Rugwizangoga, RN, BSN, staff nurse, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston

As a local and global volunteer, Rugwizangoga’s mission is to give back to the community. “As individuals we can all contribute to community development in one way or another,” Rugwizangoga said. “I think by even changing one person’s life and trying to guide them in a positive way you can change their life.”

In Boston, she helps YMCA teens navigate college and other life choices and encourages nursing students through their studies at the University of Massachusetts.
Globally, her involvement with the Team Heart organization, which performs open-heart surgeries in developing countries, has been integral to her nursing practice.

Since 2008, she has been traveling annually to Rwanda to assist the team with open-heart surgeries. During the two- to three-week missions, Rugwizangoga also teaches local nurses how to care for cardiac surgery patients, such as what to expect, signs of infection and how to address side effects of medication.


Gaurdia Banister, RN

Gaurdia Banister, RN, PhD, executive director, The Institute for Patient Care, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

Banister has led the charge to launch major initiatives that will significantly impact and advance the profession of nursing, while providing unprecedented opportunities for countless minority nurses.

“The extraordinarily gifted and talented colleagues who I work with each day inspire my practice,” Banister said. “They are passionate about delivering evidence-based, patient-centered care, committed to expertly preparing the next generation of nurses to practice, embrace the need for diverse nurses to address disparities in healthcare and are engaged in creating and translating new knowledge. Having the incredible opportunity to manage and lead these initiatives is a true gift.”

Marking a milestone this past year, MGH partnered with an urban nursing school to launch the Clinical Leadership Collaborative for Diversity in Nursing, which supports the leadership development of 18 diverse nursing students. Banister also helped develop a dedicated education unit model for students.


Vivian Donahue, RN

Vivian Donahue, RN, MS, CCRN, CNS-BC, clinical nurse specialist, cardiac ICU, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

As a mentor who “walks the talk,” Donahue sets an inspiring example for staff through her teaching, nursing knowledge and pursuit of best practices. Humbled when colleagues ask for her advice, she provides them with support in a non-threatening environment.

“The most important part of my practice that contributed to my award is the development of trusting, respectful relationships with my colleagues,” Donahue said. “Mentoring involves mutual respect and reflection. It is a synergistic relationship meant to promote professional development for both the mentor and mentee.”

Working in a hospital culture at MGH that embraces professional growth and development, has helped shaped her professional practice. “I have been incredibly fortunate in my career to have mentors and colleagues who have been willing to give tirelessly of themselves to support my personal and professional growth,” Donahue said. “A mentee is more likely to become a mentor.”


Marcie Brostoff, RN

Marcie Brostoff, RN, MS, NE-BC, director of nursing education and staff development, Children’s Hospital Boston

As a teacher and leader, Brostoff works tirelessly to transform pediatric nursing policy and practice through education and professional development. She also is honest with new nurses about the challenges and rewards of working at Children’s. “I mentor and usher in a lot of nurses to the world,” Brostoff said in her acceptance speech. “I tell the nurses what it’s like to be an RN at Children’s, and I mean what I say.”

Recognized by colleagues as a visionary who creates innovative education programs, she keeps her focus on patient care. “The most important part of my nursing practice that has contributed to this award is having a deep understanding and commitment to the care of children and their families,” Brostoff said. “I believe that the privacy of patients and families, and the individual needs of the patient and their family, drive nursing competence.”

By | 2020-04-15T14:34:59-04:00 July 12th, 2010|Categories: National|0 Comments

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