Its that time of year to salute the six nurses singled out as the winners of the 2010 Nursing Spectrum and NurseWeek national Nursing Excellence Awards. Nominated by peers, managers, students and sometimes patients, each of the winners was selected from a pool of up to nine regional winners, in one of six categories: Advancing and Leading the Profession, Clinical Care, Community Service, Management, Mentoring and Teaching.
Each is a genuine example of how personal caring and professional care can bring the art and science of nursing together in six practice areas, according to Eileen Williamson, RN, MSN, senior vice president, Nursing Communications & Initiatives, Gannett Healthcare Group.
These six nurses can truly be called the best of the best in nursing, Williamson says. Their experience and expertise, in concert with the passion and commitment they have for what they do, makes them most worthy recipients of the honor that has been bestowed on them. What they contribute to healthcare and the profession of nursing is nothing short of outstanding. We at Nursing Spectrum and NurseWeek were privileged again this year to be introduced to hundreds of outstanding nurses from coast to coast in our regional Nursing Excellence Awards program, and to find … our 2010 nurses of the year, who are excellence personified. They are inspirational in their leadership and management, mentorship and volunteerism, and in the clinical and educational expertise they bring to the practice of the profession they love.
ADVANCING AND LEADING THE PROFESSION: Patricia Gerrity, RN, PhD, FAAN, associate dean for community programs and director of the 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University, Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professionals, PhiladPatricia Gerrity, RN
Gerrity shines for her commitment to her community and to improving health outcomes for urban populations. A colleague wrote about her work with the 11th Street Family Health Services: She has been selfless in developing one of the most innovative nurse-led centers in the country. The American Academy of Nursing cited this nursing center as a national model.
Gerrity says that she is proud of her award because it reflects what is possible when nurses use their knowledge and skills to be innovative and creative. Nurses have a critical role to play in leading health reform and need to make themselves visible and heard, she says.
CLINICAL CARE: Dorothy M. Beke, RN, MS, CPNP-PC/AC, CICU, clinical nurse specialist, acute care and primary care PNP, and coordinator cardiovascular program bereavement, Children’s Hospital, BostonDorothy M. Beke, RN
Beke has enormous influence on setting standards of care and evaluating care processes for cardiovascular patients and their families. Beke has a special gift for mentoring younger staff, which contributes to a highly successful retention rate in the cardiovascular ICU. Above all, some of my greatest teachers have been the many children whom I have had the privilege to care for throughout my career, Beke says. Their courage, resiliency and humility, both in life and death, continue to inspire me to bring the best of myself to situations and further my clinical care practice.
COMMUNITY SERVICE: Priscilla Patti Taylor, MN, CNS, FNP, lecturer, UCLA School of Nursing, Los AngelesPriscilla Patti Taylor
Since March 2007, through Operation Mend, Taylor has been a case manager to wounded soldiers. The person who nominated her says soldiers and their families are her passion. She meets soldiers and their families upon arrival to Los Angeles and is their ambassador for the entire surgical experience. She is at their bedside in the recovery room as they awaken in order to decrease their anxiety postoperatively.
I say, Thank you. This is for you! to military nurses, active and reserves, as well as those who have previously served their country, for giving not only their minds and hands but [also] their hearts in caring for these remarkable heroes, Taylor says.
MANAGEMENT: Jill Fargo, RN, MSN, FNP, NEA-BC, director of med/surg and SSU, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Orange, Calif.Jill Fargo, RN
Fargo supported the unit educator to sponsor on-site certification preparation. She recognized that the med/surg units were key to efficient patient throughput, so she put in place evidence-based strategies and monitored results. Although there has been a 20% increase in ED admissions to med/surg, wait time has decreased by 14%. At the onset of the economic downturn, this assertive leader took the initiative to review and adjust the patient care model on four med/surg units. My duty as a nurse leader is to have the courage to address anything that distracts us from serving our children, Fargo says.
MENTORING: Josephine Marcantonio, RN, MSN, CPN, clinical nurse specialist, NewYork-Presbyterian HospitalJosephine Marcantonio, RN
Marcantonio is an exceptional role model, mentor and motivator who constantly encourages and engages staff members to learn. She designed a free on-site pediatric certification review course. She also identifies new graduate nurses who may need extra support and helps them apply to join the hospitals residency program. Marcantonio says the key is remembering what it was like to be in another persons shoes. Mentoring is crucial to nursing because it is a profession based on caring and, as nurses, we have a calling to help those in need but often dont help ourselves or each other, she says.
TEACHING: Theresa Pape, RN, PhD, CNOR, associate professor, Texas Womans University, College of Nursing, DentonTheresa Pape, RN
Pape is nationally known for her pioneering medication safety research. Her ideas have been implemented and successful in reducing medication errors within Kaiser hospital systems in California and Hawaii, and other hospitals across the country.
Pape says teachers must have an inner desire to see students succeed and taking a genuine interest in them. They are our future, and, in a sense, represent our immortality in that our values may live on in them, she says. It is also important to love your subject with an unparalleled passion so that it shines through in each course. Being prepared ahead of time but willing to change course if things are not working as well as you planned is imperative.