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.
Catherine Branton, ARNP, MSN, CMSRN
Broward Health Imperial Point Medical Center
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Catherine Branton mentors even the most experienced nurses who come to Broward Health Imperial Point Medical Center. The clinical specialist has been instrumental in developing a nurse-residency program that every new nurse, no matter his or her experience, is required to complete. It explains the facility’s expectations and customer service, patient satisfaction, core measures, never events, patient safety and electronic medical record documentation. As a result, the facility has lowered turnover and orientation expenses and has increased the quality of care staff provides. Branton coordinates the hospital’s skin, wound assessment team and brings in motivated nurses from various areas of the facility. She encourages them to share their ideas and suggestions with a corporate committee. She also attended a leadership training program for Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders, which allowed the facility to receive a NICHE site designation. While teaching others, she’s also learning herself by enrolling in a Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society program.
Yvonne Brookes, RN, BSc
Director of Clinical Learning
Baptist Health South Florida
Part of Yvonne Brookes’ impact at Baptist Health South Florida can be summed up with numbers. She leads a team of 34 clinical educators and specialists in educating and supporting clinical competency for 3,786 nurses, 766 clinical partners and 154 ED technicians. Her work spearheading an 18-week RN residency program has improved the 12-month retention rate of new graduates to 91% from 77%, and the 24-month retention rate to 93% from 79%. “The RN residency has changed the culture of our organization from eating our young to one of paying it forward,” her nominator wrote. Brookes also oversaw the implementation of a perioperative comprehensive educational program and development of standardized hyperthermia and sepsis protocols at the facility. Outside of the facility, she led the push for the health system to become an approved American Nurses Credentialing Center contact hour provider through the Georgia Nurses Association.
Susan Whitney, BSN, PCCN, MM, BME
Clinical Nurse Facilitator/Mentor
Susan Whitney didn’t have to be present to save a man’s life. As the co-founder of CPR Associates of America, an outreach organization to teach the public about cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator use, she has taught thousands of students. One student, who had taken a class just five months before, had to jump into action at a store when a man collapsed. The student called for help, began CPR and used the AED. The man survived and just three days later was finishing his vacation. Even before her work with CPR Associates of America, Whitney, who has a master’s degree in music, taught trumpet lessons. Her skills transferred from music to nursing when she changed careers, her nominator said. At Florida Hospital Orlando, Whitney and two other nurses organized a progressive care certified nursing class whose more than 50 now-certified students have a 94% passing rate.