The stage was set May 8 for a night of celebration and admiration for the 30 regional finalists of Nurse.com Nursing Spectrums 2012 Nursing Excellence program. The stellar event, held at the beautiful Loews Philadelphia Hotel, culminated in the regional awards presentation in which six of the 30 were named regional winners.
The evening was hosted by Donna Novak, RN, MSN, CRNP, a director in the nurse executive team for Gannett Healthcare Group, publisher of Nurse.com, who expressed the companys continued commitment to honoring the many exceptional nurses who can be found in the Philadelphia Tri-State area.
“We consider it a true privilege to recognize nursing excellence in this beautiful way,” Novak said . “We wait with great anticipation for this night all year; truly it is one of the highlights of the year for us at Nurse.com.”
During the course of the evening, guest facilities that participated in the Honor Your Own program presented their staff honorees with certificates of appreciation. Each of the 30 Nursing Excellence regional finalists were garnished with a corsage and received a plaque bearing his or her name and regional achievement. Of those 30, six extraordinary nurses were chosen to represent Philadelphia Tri-State in the national Nurse Excellence awards to be announced this fall. The six regional winners each received an elegant sail-shaped, metallic, etched glass award to commemorate the evening.
ADVANCING AND LEADING THE PROFESSION WINNERJames Ballinghoff, RN
James Ballinghoff, RN, MSN, MBA, NEA-BC
Director of Critical Care and Cardiology
Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Philadelphia
For Ballinghoff, managing nine hospital units — including the national Beacon Award-winning SICU and MICU — provides a venue for improvement. The projects he facilitates are grounded in the potential he sees in his direct reports. Whether he is encouraging nurses to pursue higher education or helping implement nursing shared governance, Ballinghoff seeks to provide nurses throughout the hospital with the resources they need to provide excellent patient care.
For example, as co-chair of the Code/Rapid Response Team — one of his many titles beyond clinical director — Ballinghoff headed up a project to inventory and standardize the hospitals defibrillators. Now, instead of wondering which of 12 different models of defibrillators they will encounter during a code call, the responding nurses can focus their attention on the patient, rather than the technology.
But asking Ballinghoff to talk about his accomplishments caused him to disappear amid his colleagues. Enter Bill Hudson, RN, BSN, OCN. Unsatisfied with Ballinghoffs modest comments about being a finalist for a Nurse.com Nursing Spectrum award, Hudson stepped forward to sing the praises of the nurse whose nomination he had penned.
“Without him, we wouldnt have gotten Magnet designation,” said Hudson, Magnet program director at Penn Presbyterian, which recently received the American Nurses Credentialing Centers recognition for excellence in nursing practice.
As Hudson noted in his nomination, Ballinghoff finds a way to provide his nurses with the resources they need to provide excellent patient care, even under extraordinary circumstances. When an off-site fire interrupted network connectivity to all electronic information systems, he helped set up a Disaster Command Center. Ballinghoff developed a work plan to increase staffing in nurse and ancillary roles to assure no interruption in patient care occurred.
Leading by example, Ballinghoff expresses appreciation for his staff. His gentle, easygoing nature lightens the mood in an otherwise high-stress, critical care environment. Ballinghoff offered a glimpse of this side of himself as he accepted his award. As he tipped his hat to Penn Presbyterian CNO Michael Becker, RN, MSN, CCRN, who “continually challenges me to go outside my comfort zone,” Ballinghoff added with a grin, “You can get off my back now.”
Susan Hansen is a freelance writer.