For more than a decade, Nurse.coms Nursing Excellence Awards program has recognized the extraordinary contributions Texas 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 five nurses in each of six categories, for a total of 30 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 d
MentoringAndrea James, RN
Andrea James, RN, MSN
Nurse Clinical Manager
Harris County Hospital District-Ben Taub General Hospital
As one of the leaders behind the formation of her hospital’s Rapid Response Team, James spent countless hours training and educating her staff members as primary responders. Naturally, apprehension about the team abounded, however, James was determined to see the project become a reality. Oftentimes this meant providing additional, after-hours guidance to her employees until they felt confident in meeting the project goals. James’ fortitude in providing staff members support and guidance in a multitude of areas that require personal growth, including implementation of a code blue team, stroke activation team and completion of the APEX training module — is evidenced in her staff’s willingness to follow her — they see that what she is doing is what’s best for the patient. As an instructor, her willingness to share expertise extends to students and instills in them a confidence about their role as a nursing professional.James Kariyaparambil, RN
James Kariyaparambil, RN, BSN
Director of Patient Care
Memorial Hermann Health Care System/ Prevention and Recovery Center
As someone who’s worked with patients suffering from chemical addictions for the past 30 years, Kariyaparambil has witnessed the shortage of nurses trained in the field. For the past nine years he’s created a series of trainings, internships and rotations to attract nurses and physicians to his facility. He personally assists in teaching many new trainees, ensuring they receive the most up-to-date education. Among his own staff he promotes higher education and has helped numerous LVNs become RNs, which enables them to take on more responsibility and learn best practices associated with medically managed withdrawal. Ever present in his thoughts are how to make this side of nursing more attractive and fulfilling to nursing students and nurses considering a career change. Known as a quiet leader, his commitment toward recruiting and training nurses to work with this special population speaks loudly.Tonya S. Pena, RN-BC
Tonya S. Pena, RN-BC
Methodist Mansfield (Texas) Medical Center
When Pena recognized a communication breakdown among nurses in her department, she implemented a daily communication briefing called Circle Up, during which nurses discuss key findings in their patients. At first her colleagues resisted the idea and had to be reminded to attend. But Pena was undeterred and during each meeting thanked attendees for taking the time to participate, all the while engaging them in the communication process. Within just two months, employees began arriving without reminders and became so invested in briefings they began holding them on the night and weekend shifts. Her dedication to finding solutions to problems for the betterment of her employees extends into the personal realm as well. When one of her employees related she was having a major surgery, yet none of her family members could come to the hospital, Pena rearranged her schedule so she could be present when her employee woke up.Jerithea Tidwell, RN
Jerithea Tidwell, RN, PhD, PCNS, PNP
Clinical Nurse Specialist – Advanced Practice Manager
Children’s Medical Center of Dallas
To her employees, Tidwell is a fire starter — she creates flames of excitement in her employees that mirror her own. Her devotion to helping others become better caregivers is seemingly unending. She implemented a process improvement initiative known as ‘The Race’, which motivated staff to embrace evidence-based practice while improving collaboration and creating a multidisciplinary process and personally taught new and experienced nurses the best way to implement evidence-based practices, opening herself up to colleagues in need of advice. On a grander scale Tidwell has shared her knowledge through teaching at two universities, publishing numerous articles and serving on the ANCC Content Expert Panel for the Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist Exam. By setting daily examples of going above and beyond the call of duty, she not only motivates others to do the same, but inspires excitement while they go about doing it.Luzviminda R. Zamora, RN
Luzviminda R. Zamora, RN, BSN
Baylor Medical Center of Waxahachie (Texas)
Last year Zamora, who began her nursing career 35 years ago as an instructor at Far Eastern University in the Philippines, was invited to attend the 30-year class reunion of the last group of students she taught before moving to the U.S. At the event one of her former students — many of whom are now directors of nursing, nurse practitioners and clinical instructors — told her about the impact Zamora had on her life and that she attributes many of her nursing successes and nursing values to Zamora. It’s a gratitude that countless others share and is evidenced by the respect she garners from employees as well as physicians. Zamora’s ability to lead and influence has been recognized by receiving Nursing Administration’s Nurse of the Year award, hordes of written feedback and several pins acknowledging her commitment to patient and staff satisfaction that she wears proudly on her uniform.