Each year, Nurse.com Nursing Spectrum calls upon our readers to nominate an exceptional nurse colleague for our Nursing Excellence program. For more than a decade, we have received thousands of entries that contain stories of phenomenal nurse leaders, mentors and clinicians. This year has proven no different. The nurses nominated for our 2012 Nursing Excellence program have proven true nursing excellence is alive and well.
Nurse.com Nursing Spectrum has chosen five finalists from the Greater Chicago region for the Advancing and Leading the Profession category in our 2012 Nursing Excellence Awards program.
The finalists will be recognized May 15 in a ceremony at the Chicago Marriott — Schaumburg, where a winner in the category also will be selected.Lydia Dacenko-Grawe, RN
Lydia Dacenko-Grawe, RN, BS, BC-CVRN
Director, Patient Care Services
Saint Francis Hospital, Evanston, Ill.
As Magnet director, Dacenko-Grawe leads the hospitals Magnet steering committee and the staff nurse Magnet Champion group. The past year, she was instrumental in the hospitals transition to an electronic medical record system. She is the principal investigator of a research study on falls at Saint Francis Hospital. She developed the hospitals falls prevention protocol in 2002, which has resulted in a significant reduction in patient falls. Her work was published in an article in the MedSurg Nursing Journal in August 2008, and last year she presented a poster about falls prevention at the National Patient Safety Foundation Conference in Washington, D.C. She has emphasized the importance of enhancing Saint Francis nurses education opportunities, and more than half of the hospitals nurses have achieved board certification.Colleen J. Klein, RN
Colleen J. Klein, RN, PhD, FNP-BC
Director of Professional Development and Nursing Research
OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, Rockford, Ill.
Described by her nominator as a “champion mentor,” Klein provides administrative direction to professional nursing practice, shared governance and Magnet designation at the 254-bed hospital. She stresses the importance of nurse engagement in their practice and involvement. She has been a member of Saint Anthonys Institutional Review Board since 2009. She has encouraged and engaged direct care nurses to consider serving as co-investigators for studies and has helped nurses to disseminate research findings at regional and national conferences. She coordinated the redesignation of the hospital as a Magnet facility. Klein has made more than 20 professional presentations throughout the country, including addressing health professionals at the National League for Nursing Education Summit. She was one of 5,000 nurses from across the country approved by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to be part of a panel of subject matter experts for exam item development.Ruth M. Kleinpell, RN
Ruth M. Kleinpell, RN, PhD, FAAN
Director, Center for Clinical Research and Scholarship
Rush University Medical Center, Chicago
Kleinpells research and publications on the ACNP role have been widely cited and used for the ACNP Scope and Standards of Practice. Last year, Kleinpell was elected president of the World Federation of Critical Care Nurses, an organization representing 400,000 critical care nurses worldwide. She has won many awards for her research, including the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties Research Award and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses Flame of Excellence Award, both in 2010. She is a member of the editorial boards of several prominent national journals, is a fellow of three major national organizations, serves on the board of directors of three influential national groups, served for four years as committee chairwoman for the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties and is serving a second term as the program chairwoman of the American Academy of Nursings annual conference.Carol Polinski, RN
Carol Polinski, RN, APN, NNP-BC, MA
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago Medicine
Polinski has practiced as an NNP for more than 30 years. She is described by her nominator as a “tireless patient-and-family advocate.” In the past year, her work with a 27-week premature infant who developed necrotizing enterocolitis that required intestinal resection and silo replacement led to a positive outcome. Polinski has worked at numerous teaching hospitals in the Chicago area and has published journal articles on a variety of neonatal topics. She provides lectures to NNP students at Rush University and has precepted many aspiring NNP students. She is an active member of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses and has served as the local chapter president for the past several years, overseeing the educational programs offered quarterly by the chapter for which candidates receive continuing education hours. Polinski received the hospitals 2011 Award for Nursing Excellence in a Specialty Role.Jill K. Rogers, RN
Jill K. Rogers, RN, PhD, NEA-BC
Director, Professional Practice and Development
Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago
Rogers efforts to promote educational opportunities have led to a dramatic increase in the number of certified nurses at the hospital: from 167 in 2006 to more than 750 today. She has championed opportunities for associate-degree nurses to complete a BSN by creating a partnership with a local college to provide nurses with a tuition discount and by obtaining $20,000 in scholarship funding to further defray tuition costs. By establishing strong relationships with deans and faculty at local colleges of nursing, Rogers — over a three-year period — increased the hospitals nursing school affiliations from six to 14 and increased the number of nursing student placements from 400 to 800. She has been a speaker at the ANCCs National Magnet Conference for the past two years. In 2008, Rogers helped a staff nurse establish the Chicago chapter of the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, which was named the organizations national chapter of the year in 2010 and 2011.