For more than a decade, Nurse.coms Nursing Excellence Awards program has recognized the extraordinary contributions Florida nurses make to their patients, each other and the profession. This year, nurses from the region came forward to tell us about the unsung heroes of nursing RNs who make a difference in the profession every single day.
The grateful peers of these exceptional nursing professionals sent detailed nominations for Nurse.coms 2011 Nursing Excellence Awards. The nominees include staff nurses, specialists, nurse practitioners, vice presidents and nurse executives, and 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.
Nurse.com hopes their stories will inspire all of our readers to reach for excellence.
From the many tributes we received for this years program, we narrowed the competition down to three nurses in each of six categories, for a total of 18 finalists.
Advancing and Leading the Profession: RNs who have made contributions that advanced and strengthened the nursing profession or the delivery of patient care. These nurses have made broadreaching contributions that affect the entire profession rather than a single organization.
Clinical Care: RNs who demonstrate excellence in direct-care delivery in any clinical setting. This category celebrates nurses who work directly with patients and their families.
Community Service: 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.
Management: 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.
Mentoring: 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.
Teaching: RNs who have made significant contributions in education, professional development and/or long-term learning of nursing professionals.
Advancing and Leading the ProfessionShelli Alyce McLeod, RN-C
Shelli Alyce McLeod, RN-C, WHNP-C, CCE, SANE-A, PLNC
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Hospital
Fort Gordon, Ga.
While characters on “Law & Order: SVU” try to solve sexual-assault crimes on TV, Shelli Alyce McLeod is trying to prevent them in reality. McLeod, a nine-year women’s health nurse practitioner, is passionate about preventing sexual assault and has developed the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program at her facility. The program has become a standard of practice and protocol at her facility. She has trained more than 20 sexual assault nurse examiners and has taken her educational program to institutions in Miami and Mississippi. The program is so successful it soon could become standard at all Department of Defense facilities. McLeod is active with rape crisis center projects and participates in the International Association of Forensic Nurses and National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health. Because of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners program’s success, she has been appointed Medical Resident Expert and acts as a liaison for area hospital’s sexual assault and recovery programs.Patricia Rackstein, RN-BC
Patricia Rackstein, RN-BC, BSN, MA-BMH
Morton Plant Mease Health Care
Patricia Rackstein helped plant the seed of Morton Plant Mease Health Care’s nursing education department, and it has blossomed into a program that helps students achieve their dreams of becoming nurses. An annual golf tournament that Rackstein coordinates has raised more than $300,000 for nursing education and scholarships. She has developed specialty internships, onsite learning programs, distance learning programs, a systemwide nursing documentation standard for nine hospitals and a nursing website for staff and prospective nurses. Rackstein — a 36-year-nurse who worked as a critical care nurse, education specialist and now Magnet program director — spearheaded an advance directives project in her community that led to the Community Education and Access to Advance Care Planning initiative. She also coordinated a healthcare ethics conference, Ethical Perspectives: Today’s Challenges; Stand UP! A Call for Moral Courage. She also encourages nurses in the hospital system to contribute to Nurses Notes, a bimonthly nursing newsletter she started in 1991 and continues to edit.Deborah A. Raines, RN
Deborah A. Raines, RN, PhD, EdS, ANEF
Consultant, Educational Technologist and Professor
Boca Raton, Fla.
Students in Deborah Raines’ online classes might be surprised to receive responses to postings at all hours, but those efforts are part of her belief in “anytime, anyplace learning,” her nominator writes. Her leadership in online learning and classes that include virtual field trips, games, roundtable discussions and debates was recognized in 2007 with e-College’s Excellence in Online Teaching award.
That’s not Raines’ only award. She received recognition for her evidence-based Perceptor of Excellence program, which started in 2004 and brings together nurses from facilities across the country. Raines is a perinatal specialist and research consultant for the neonatal Home Environment Learning Program at a nonprofit organization, serving institutions across the county. She was a member of the original science team for the neonatal skin care project for the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. And as a result, she led a group in the development of evidence-based guidelines distributed to the more than 22,000 members of the association.