CLINICAL NURSING, INPATIENT WINNER
Anne Marie Gallagher, RN, BSN, CPON
Oncology/BMT Unit Staff Nurse
St. Christophers Hospital for Children, Philadelphia
Its more than her extensive knowledge of oncology-pathology. Its more than her gentle approach to patients and families coping with all stages of cancer. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details, and Gallagher is all over the details.
Whether she is advocating for extra housekeeping staff, more meal choices for patients who are nauseated from their treatments, or video game consoles to fend off the tedious hospital stays, Gallagher connects with every patient and family member to ensure they know she cares. Her goal is to make every child feel special and unique, and she will spend whatever time a family needs to get their questions answered and offer a sympathetic ear.
The other parts of her job are tackled with the same diligence she affords to patient care. To make lengthy and complicated protocols for bone marrow transplantation more accessible to the staff, Gallagher went through the painstaking process of condensing the information into a quick reference guide. In addition, she requested mock orders from a physician so she could prep the staff for upcoming procedures more effectively.
Gallagher diverts attention from herself in favor of celebrating her colleagues accomplishments. Even with the spotlight pointed directly on her, Gallagher shared the credit for her award. “Everything we do at St. Christophers, we do as part of a team,” she told the crowd of nearly 600 nurses, friends, family and clinical colleagues. “I accept this award on behalf of the people on the pediatric oncology unit.” Without them, Gallagher emphatically maintained, she could not provide the quality nursing care for which she was being honored.
One of many examples of her team spirit is her frequent praise and reassurance of newer nurses on the unit. Sharing knowledge is important to Gallagher. As a member of the Department of Nursings Education Council, she was one of the first to volunteer to teach when the hospital implemented traveling education sessions. She took her Fever/Neutropenia lesson to every med/surg unit in the hospital.
Outside of work, Gallagher is committed to pediatric oncology endeavors. She participates in multiple charity events that benefit this patient population or St. Christophers. In addition, she has helped with collection drives for the Women Against Abuse emergency shelter as well as visited the shelter to conduct education sessions with mothers and their children.
Susan Hansen is a freelance writer.