Nurse.com Nursing Spectrum has chosen five finalists from the Philadelphia Tri-State region for the Staff/Patient Management category in our 2012 Nursing Excellence Awards program.
The finalists will be recognized May 8 in a ceremony at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, where a winner in the category also will be selected.
Michele Sowa, RN, MSN, CCRN, CPEN
Nurse Manager, Critical Care Transport Department
Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Del.
Sowa played key roles in Nemours switch from using a ground vendor ambulance service to taking over the ground transport experience, first as the shared governance representative to Nemours transport ownership meetings and then as transport nurse manager. During the past two years, she worked with the medical director, transport staff members and experts from the ED to create a strong acuity scoring system to assist the team in triage determination and resource utilization. She also was instrumental in developing and implementing the conversion of transport documentation to an electronic medical record. Sowa was involved with the revision of New Jerseys regulations regarding specialty care transports, spending many hours with a multistate group of pediatric transport leaders to assist in the rewriting of the regulations. Sowa gradually has cemented team members into working committees that participate in the decision-making process, leading to improved morale.Debra S. Ruddy, CMSRN
Debra S. Ruddy, CMSRN, MSN
Nurse Manager, Telemetry/Oncology Unit
Paoli (Pa.) Hospital — Main Line Health
Ruddy improved performance and morale on the unit in a short period of time. She focused first on increasing RN competency, and the unit went from having 17% of its RNs certified in chemotherapy administration to 75% in 18 months. In national certification, the unit went from having 4% certified in oncology nursing to 26%. In patient satisfaction survey results, there was a significant improvement regarding the skill of the nurses. Ruddy was instrumental on the systems oncology team in standardizing physician chemotherapy orders and practice, resulting in significant RN satisfaction gains. She is a member of the Oncology Association, the Pennsylvania Organization of Nurse Leaders and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Organization of Nurse Leaders. She volunteers for several organizations, including the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She helped raise more than $5,000 from hospital staff members to help a part-time staff RN diagnosed with breast cancer who had no health benefits.Patricia Baroni, RN
Patricia Baroni, RN, MSN
Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Philadelphia
Baroni, during the past year, took on simultaneous leadership roles for several units. She covered for the coronary care unit for several months after it lost its manager, and for the nurse manager during her maternity leave. She also is covering for the surgical ICU and picking up shifts when needed as the patient care coordinator. In addition, she was called upon to cover the clinical director for critical care and cardiology nursing role several times. Baronis leadership has resulted in outstanding patient outcomes and patient satisfaction scores. At the time of Baronis nomination, the cardiac care unit had gone 1,500 days without a bloodstream infection and more than 400 days without a urinary tract infection. She is a member of the Education Committee for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Organization of Nurse Leaders, the Oncology Nursing Society, the Philadelphia Chapter of the ONS, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and the Pennsylvania Organization of Nurse Leaders.Michele Zucconi, RN
Michele Zucconi, RN, MSN, CCRN
Administrative Director for Cardiac Care
South Jersey Healthcare, Vineland, N.J.
Through Zucconis leadership, her unit became only the 12th in the country to win the Beacon award three consecutive years. She has been invited by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses to serve as a reviewer for the Beacon process. Zucconi served as the co-investigator of an original nursing research study investigating the impact of canine-assisted ambulation on the ambulation outcomes of hospitalized heart failure patients. The research has received local and national recognition, beginning with its publication in the peer-reviewed Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing. In the past three years, under Zucconis leadership, the unit has played a key role in the organizations certification for heart failure (by The Joint Commission) and as a Primary Stroke Center (by Det Norske Veritas). In the past year, the unit was accredited by the Society of Chest Pain Centers.Alice Farrell, RN
Alice Farrell, RN, BSN, CEN
ED Nurse Manager
Kennedy Health System, Turnersville, N.J.
Farrell has implemented several nursing roles within the ED, such as the pivot RN. This person serves during periods of peak volume and functions to greet patients, assign an emergency severity index level and direct the patient to an available treatment area. Another role implemented in the ED has been the triage, discharge and admission nurse, who greets and triages EMS patients who arrive by ambulance, assists the primary caregivers with discharging patients and facilitates movement of admitted patients to their inpatient beds. These changes have resulted in a 5% decrease in length of stay for discharged patients and a 7% reduction in length of stay for Express Care patients. Simultaneously, the overall patient satisfaction score and the likelihood to recommend score, as measured by Press Ganey, have increased. Farrell has made significant accomplishments while meeting financial targets. She also encourages staff to seek certification and advanced education.