Each year, Nurse.com calls upon our readers to nominate exceptional nurse colleagues for our Nursing Excellence GEM Awards 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 been no different. The nurses nominated for our 2014 Nursing Excellence GEM Awards program have proved true nursing excellence is alive and well.
ADVANCING AND LEADING THE PROFESSION
Deborah A. Cruz, RNC, MSN, CRNP: Perinatal nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia
Cruz is moving her unit toward World Health Organization designation as a Baby-Friendly hospital. An expert in high-risk inpatient obstetrics, Cruz teaches both intermediate and advanced fetal monitoring to incoming staff. She chairs the New Jersey chapter of the Association of Womens Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses and has spoken at numerous conferences across the Philadelphia Tri-State area. In addition, she traveled to Indonesia on behalf of AWHONN to evaluate initiatives to improve infant and maternal care outcomes. Cruz also sits on the Philadelphia Maternal Mortality Review group, the only city-based maternal review group in the U.S. She is charged with identifying measures that would potentially prevent maternal death and making recommendations for practice changes to institutions with labor and delivery units throughout the Philadelphia region. She is a published nursing author, and her most recent article is titled, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation in the Pregnancy. Cruz is respected as a nurse, educator and leader who inspires nurses to get involved, question the status quo and strive for excellence to improve patient outcomes and safety.
Sara Hollstein, RN, MSN, AOCNP, CRNP, ANP-BC: Nurse practitioner The Path to Survivorship, Main Line Healthcare Paoli (Pa.) Hospital
Hollstein created an evidence-based survivorship program at Paoli Hospital. This program provides cancer survivors with the skills and resources they need on their journey from treatment to surveillance. Hollstein drafts a survivorship care plan specific to each patients needs that includes lifestyle, emotional and physical care options to promote health and wellness. In addition, Hollstein has developed a community web of resources that provides support to cancer survivors. Her work enhances her patients quality of life. One patient noted, I feel like I can take control of my life, and a spouse commented, I understand how to help my wife through this difficult time. Hollstein chairs the Annual Cancer Survivor Day celebration, a program that focuses on health and wellness, with an emphasis on nutrition, exercise and complementary care. She has presented her research on survivorship to the Oncology Nursing Society Annual Congress at a podium session. Hollstein publishes a newsletter Healing Matters that is distributed to patients in active cancer treatment and to those in the survivorship program. She works with an editing team that includes two cancer survivors. Hollsteins innovative newsletter provides information about healthy living from local experts and builds community through the sharing of patients cancer stories.
Cheryl Maguire, RN, MSN, CCRN: Nurse manager, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
With the leadership of Maguire, the medical ICU at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania has developed into a patient and family-focused Beacon award-winning unit. She maintains her CCRN certification and helps every staff nurse reach this goal by supporting their attendance at conferences and review courses. Maguire serves on the Southeast PA chapter of AACNs research and certification committees, and recently completed a nurse manager fellowship from the American Association of Nurse Executives. She chaired the Nurse Manager Leadership Council, and represented nursing leadership on the Board of Nursing. Recently Maguire was selected as the HUP nominee for the first Victoria L. Rich Award for Transformational Leadership. She is a strong patient advocate and consistently works to bridge any communication gap between patients, family and nursing staff. One example of how Maguire has enhanced staff communications is through a newsletter she developed, This Week in MICU. The newsletter includes informative articles, links to additional content on topics covered and feedback from patients and families. In addition, she provided staff with a mediation workshop taught by an ethicist from the University of Pennsylvania and instituted a weekly support session called Mondays with Mary to meet her staffs need for assistance with ethically challenging clinical situations.
Dee McGonigle, RN, PhD, CNE, FAAN, ANEF: Professor/chairwoman, Virtual College of Nursing, Chamberlain College of Nursing, Philadelphia
McGonigle is a co-leader of Chamberlains MSN informatics specialty track. She serves on the American Academy of Nursings Informatics and Technology Expert Panel and was editor-in-chief for the peer-reviewed Online Journal of Nursing Informatics for 17 years. A fellow in the AAN and the National League for Nursing, McGonigle developed the ETHICAL model for approaching challenges in information ethics and co-developed the Foundation of Knowledge Model. She co-authored Integrating Technology in Nursing Education: Tools for the Knowledge Era, which was recognized by the American Journal of Nursing as a 2010 Book of the Year. She has created virtual practicums for MSN degree students in areas where on-ground practicums are not readily available. McGonigles students have gone on to transform many sectors of healthcare IT, from creating full Web systems for improved patient experiences, to developing patient simulator scenarios for the military to streamlining online organ-donor information systems. With more than 35 years of experience in the nursing profession, McGonigle is a thought leader in the field of nursing informatics, who has made a lasting impact on the healthcare industry.
JoAnne Reifsnyder, RN, PhD: Senior vice president, clinical operations, and CNO, Genesis HealthCare, Kennett Square, Pa.
Reifsnyder is responsible for the delivery of quality care in more than 400 facilities and is accountable for achieving positive outcomes in clinical excellence goals. She has led staff to reduce in-house acquired pressure ulcers, falls with major injuries and nursing turnover. One of her first actions as CNO at Genesis was to start a blog for nurses, Lets Talk, in which she shares ideas and personal experiences, recognizes the work of others and encourages dialogue and support among staff. An advanced practice nurse with nearly 30 years of experience, she has led initiatives to advance chronic illness management and end-of-life care. Reifsnyder has authored multiple peer-reviewed articles and is an expert speaker on cancer, hospice and end-of-life care. She is past president of the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association board of directors and sits on two other national hospice association boards. She helped develop the palliative care minor at University of Pennsylvanias School of Nursing and is an assistant professor and program director of chronic care management at Thomas Jefferson Universitys Jefferson School of Population Health.
CLINICAL NURSING, INPATIENT
Deborah A. Baldassarre RN, MSN, OCN: Clinical nurse specialist, Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Eastern Regional Medical Center, Philadelphia
Baldassarre works with the oncologists to develop and implement best practice nursing care for patients. She assesses the educational needs of staff and provides a pathway of clinical competency. She has been involved in reducing the rate of central line-associated bloodstream infections and created and implemented a care and maintenance bundle. This quality initiative resulted in a 75% improvement in one year and was recognized nationally by ONS. She is a valued member of the corporate falls prevention task force, and she developed an educational tool as part of the falls prevention program. Other accomplishments include developing an oncology emergency course for all new nurses and a patient education binder for all inpatients. Baldassarre facilitates a successful Nurse Residency Program for graduate nurses and an intense three-month orientation consisting of didactic and clinical session. She is a board member for the Bucks-Montgomery County Chapter of the Oncology Nurses Society and also maintains professional memberships with Sigma Theta Tau, the Academy of Oncology Nurse Navigators and the American Holistic Nurses Association.
Dulcine Bernadette Dinsmore, RN, DrNP, BSN, CNOR, MPH: Clinical level 5 RN, Hahnemann University Hospital, Philadelphia
In 2013, Dinsmore received her doctorate in nursing practice. She chose a dissertation topic that focused on patients with interstitial cystitis, which was relevant to her work as staff nurse in the same day surgery unit at Hahnemann University Hospital, and presented this topic at nursing grand rounds. Dinsmore maintains high professional standards for herself and the nurses that she mentors in the operating room. She holds a journal club for OR nurses to stay current with evidence-based practice. She helps with the annual Hahnemann staff flu vaccination program by being on-call to administer vaccines to the weekend staff. Dinsmore participates in research projects at Hahnemann and for three years has taken an active role in the Worldwide Hospital Day of Nutrition study, which is done in collaboration with Drexel University. In 2012, she co-presented a poster presentation on Enhancing Nutritional Outcomes for Hospitalized Patients in Intensive Care Units and Progressive Care Units at the Trends in Critical Care Nursing conference. Dinsmore is active in the local chapter of the American Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, and is a certified American Heart Association Basic Life Support trainer.
Renae S. Lewis, RNC, BSN: Clinical nurse, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Lewis is known for her diligence, expert skills and knowledge. As a clinical nurse III for the 86-bed newborn/infant ICU at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Lewis often assumes the role of charge nurse or clinical resource nurse. She assists the nursing unit during times when there is less of a formal leadership presence on weekends and during off-shift hours and is an invaluable resource to the unit staff. She is an expert bedside nurse capable of caring for the sickest of patients in the NICU. Her colleagues praise her for her ability to jump in and take on any task to assist them with critical patients. Her excellent assessment skills enable her to detect the slightest change in patient status, thereby preventing a crisis for her complex patients. Lewis also is known as a patient and family advocate whose focus is improving patient outcomes. She does not hesitate to speak up about a familys concerns and move through the chain of command if necessary. She also coordinates CPR certification for more than 300 nurses and care providers. Lewis is a valued mentor to newer nurses, especially in helping them start IVs on the units very tiny patients.
Andrea McGlinsey, RN, BSN, CCRN: Registered nurse, Albert Einstein Health Network, Philadelphia
During any clinical situation, McGlinsey is able to focus on the patients immediate needs, while maintaining awareness of the familys, team members and units needs. McGlinsey is a member of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and teaches certification review courses. She was involved in the ICUs restraint initiative and co-presented a poster on restraint reduction at a national nursing education meeting. With a strong commitment to evidence-based practice, McGlinsey reviewed the professional literature and became the lead author for two publications used as teaching tools at Einstein. A Gift for Saving Lives explores clinical management of the organ donor, and Neurological Assessment discusses techniques to use in assessing critically ill patients. McGlinsey take an active role in community health by participating in community blood drives and helping to recruit blood donors. She also volunteers at safety and health fairs for senior citizens, performing blood pressure screenings and teaching risk reduction for stroke and heart disease. She participates in the Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative and advocates for best practices in this area.
Denise Scott RN-BC, CRRN, WCC: Staff nurse, Main Line Health Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital, Malvern, Pa.
Scott cares for patients after orthopedic surgery, spinal cord injury and amputee surgery, as well as for patients who are deconditioned with neuromuscular disorders. She is wound care certified and plays a key role in the hospitals dermal defense team, providing timely skin assessments on newly admitted patients. She is known for her superior insight into clinical and social issues which affect patient care. For example, in caring for an Amish patient, Scott was sensitive to his cultural needs and created a safe environment of trust and open-ended communication. She taught all 10 of this patients siblings about their brothers care and ensured they were competent in caring for him at home. Scott is a self-motivated life-long learner who constantly seeks new experiences and clinical knowledge. Staff consider her a key resource on clinical issues and patient education. Scott mentors both student nurses and new staff on the unit. She also is involved with patient teaching on a group level and educates patients on pressure ulcer prevention and diabetes management. As a certified pain management nurse, Scott helps patients maintain comfort during the intense therapy needed for recovery.
EDUCATION AND MENTORSHIP
Salvador Benitez, RN, PhD, MSN, WCC, DNC: Skin wound ostomy care, Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Eastern Regional Medical Center, Philadelphia
Benitez manages education and training for more than 200 nurses and patient care technicians. During his eight years of employment at CTCA, Benitez earned graduate degrees in healthcare and nursing administration and a doctoral degree in public health with a minor in epidemiology. Certified in dermatology and wound ostomy care, he has achieved diplomate status from the American Professional Wound Care Association. He worked with the APWCA to create the first wound ostomy preceptorship that enables nurses to gain certification in wound care. One staff nurse he mentored achieved certification in wound and ostomy care with an additional certificate in diabetic wound care. Benitez created the Wound Care Program at ERMC and cares for patients with advanced cancer to not only heal their wounds, but to improve their self-esteem and satisfaction with outcomes. Many of the patients Benitez sees have stage 3 or 4 cancer and have completed previous treatment elsewhere. Benitez uses compassionate creativity to solve each patients unique problems with the goal of giving them as much freedom and functionality as possible.
Susan Lynch, RN, MSN, CNE, CNOR, RNFA: Clinical educator, surgical services, Main Line Health Riddle Hospital, Media, Pa.
Lynch is the clinical nurse educator for seven departments within surgical services. Her nominator calls her a collaborator, role-model and star who inspires staff to achieve outstanding patient outcomes through continual growth and professional development. Lynch uses innovative methods to engage her staff in learning, including daily safety huddles and computer-based modules. She implemented the idea of having staff members report a safety story at the OR morning safety huddle, and she developed an error prevention tool that is a component of the health systems Culture of Safety Initiative. Lynch also initiated a surgical services journal club and has increased professional AORN membership and specialty certifications among nursing staff. She is a member of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses and has published articles in AORN. In addition, she is a member of the Pennsylvania Organization of Nurse Leaders and the National League for Nursing. She held the position of Succession Chair for Sigma Theta Tau, Delta Tau chapter, and is a member of a community college Surgical Technician advisory board. Lynch is pursuing her PhD in Nursing Education and Research.
Jamille Nagtalon-Ramos, RN, MSN, CRNP, WHNP-BC, IBCLC: Associate director, Womens Health Nurse Practitioner Program/Womens health nurse practitioner, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia/Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Nagtalon-Ramos is known as a hard-working clinician and dedicated educator. She is associate director of the Womens Health Nurse Practitioner program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and was the first NP to be incorporated in the obstetrics inpatient teams at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Nagtalon-Ramos is responsible for recruiting and admitting students, orienting and mentoring new faculty, advising undergrad and graduate students, developing curriculum and incorporating simulation in teaching. She engages students with innovative projects, such as creating videos about the WHNP role and smartphone apps to assist patients with questions about breastfeeding and other issues. She recently published Best Evidence-Based Practices: Maternal-Newborn Nursing, which was recognized by the American Journal of Nursing as third place in the Child Health Category for Book of the Year. Nagtalon-Ramos is secretary of the executive board of directors for the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Womens Health. She chaired the NPWH conferences in 2012 and 2013 and presented Theres an App for That: Technology Improving Clinical Practice. She is on a NPWH and AWHONN collaborative task force to revise the Womens Health Nurse Practitioner Guidelines for Practice and Education.
Emily Turnure, RN, MSN, NEA-BC: Administrative director of education/accreditation, Inspira Health Network, Vineland, N.J.
Turnure supervises an interdisciplinary staff consisting of clinical nurse educators, accreditation specialists and community educators. She also chairs the Quality Management Council and is the administrative liaison for the Professional Development Council and the information systems department. She is dedicated to empowerment through education and support. She was instrumental in obtaining grant funding to implement a Health Intervention Program for obese school age children in partnership with local YMCAs. More than 190 at-risk children were enrolled and received education on exercise, nutrition and healthy lifestyle changes. More than half of the participants had measurable improvements in their BMIs. Turnure helped secure the sustainability of this successful program through ongoing funding, community partners and organizational support. Her work was recognized by the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality and she won the American Health Associations Community Fitness Innovation Award. Her leadership as director of the clinical ladder program, Professional Recognition in Developing Evidence or PRIDE, has resulted in significant increases in the numbers of clinical ladder participants, nationally certified nurses and nurses holding a BSN or higher.
Susan L. Weaver, RN, MSN, PCNS-BC, CPN: Pre-op/PACU clinical nurse specialist, Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Del.
Weaver is responsible for improvement and maintenance of evidence-based perioperative care. She is known by colleagues for her compassionate care, professional commitment, ethical decision-making and humor. Weaver served on the team that implemented the computerized documentation system at Nemours and was recognized by the chairman of the Nemours board. Her surgical unit has one of the hospitals highest percentages of nurses with national certifications. Weaver implemented the AACN Synergy Model for Patient Care, matching nurse competencies to patients needs and improved patient and staff satisfaction scores. She contributes to the nursing profession through poster and podium presentations at local, state and national conferences. Weaver organized the nursing professional development teams community activity of serving dinner to families who are staying at the Ronald McDonald House. She also coordinates basic lifesaving classes for teenage parents in Sussex County, Delaware. Recently, Weaver began mentoring pediatric CNS students as part of the University of Delaware graduate nursing faculty and is receiving outstanding evaluations by the nurses.
HOME, COMMUNITY AND AMBULATORY CARE
Marc Fliegelman, RN, BSN: Care manager, clinical instructor, 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University, Philadelphia
Fliegelman provides care to patients at the family health center, and he visits patients homes to conduct psychosocial assessments. The population he serves often have difficulty managing their multiple chronic conditions, find it challenging to locate specialty care and frequently use ED care. He considers the social, economic and environmental variables that contribute to disease and helps his patients build self-sufficiency in meeting their health goals. He helps patients navigate the healthcare system and manage their conditions through coordinated care. In addition, he mentors nursing students to instill confidence and strengthen skills needed to work in a community setting. Fliegelman embraces holistic care and conveys this to students as he guides their nursing assessments and intervention. Through his example, nursing students learn that to improve the health of individuals, a nurse must enhance the health of society and embrace the role of social justice activist. Fliegelman exemplifies someone who possesses a population health perspective to care as he mentors others to assess the health of the community, integrate preventative practices and work within multidisciplinary care teams to enhance patient health and wellbeing.
Gillian Reeve, RN, MSN, CWOCN: Wound care specialist, Kennedy Home Health Care, Voorhees, N.J.
Reeves work at Kennedy Home Health Care contributed to its recognition as a Top Agency of the 2013 HomeCare Elite, a national award given to high performing home health agencies in the U.S. Reeve developed the RN orientation program in wound, ostomy and continence nursing. She mentors other home care nurses to become wound care certified. She developed a wound care process for home care patients and initiated staff training in this process. Reeve also is credited for creating and continually updating a formulary for wound care supplies that has decreased costs and improved the quality of supplies. She developed a patient education wound care booklet to enhance patient and family knowledge. Nurses throughout the system contact her for expert advice regarding challenging wound care cases. Reeve was ahead of her time in regard to transition of care processes. She is working on a program for nearby assisted living facilities that will increase referrals and Kennedys presence in the community. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau and the Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses Society. Reeve approaches each patient with compassion, an eye for detail and hope for healing and recovery.
Rosemary Scardino RN, BSN, MPH: Community health nurse, Public Health Management Corporation, Philadelphia
Scardino has devoted her life to compassionately providing care to a disadvantaged population. She works closely with the Mary Howard Health Center, which provides primary care for the homeless in Philadelphia. Scardino visits shelters weekly to provide medical support, triage healthcare needs and help her patients utilize appropriate resources and agencies. Patients who have experienced her care praise her for her considerate and respectful attitude and her ever-smiling face. She is known for going above and beyond to meet patients needs. She is loved by her colleagues for being someone who is always ready to offer advice and support. Scardino treats each staff member, even the new and younger nurses, with respect and appreciation for what each team member can contribute. She takes an assertive and proactive role with her homeless clients and uses innovative thinking to help them achieve holistic health and well being. Working in an environment where continuity of care is often a challenge, Scardino maintains a stable, patient and kind-hearted demeanor.
Andrea Vettori RN, MSN, CRNP: Clinical director, family nurse practitioner, Public Health Management Corporation, Philadelphia
Vettori leads a nurse-managed healthcare team whose goal is to address gaps in care. She is responsible for seeing that all patients receive quality care, and as network clinical director, she also provides oversight to other PHMC clinical directors. She is known for her unwavering compassion and dedication to meeting the unique needs of the patients she serves. Vettori promotes accessible care by ensuring the Mary Howard Health Center opens at 7 a.m. for walk-in patients. Her approach includes coordinating care with neighboring healthcare partners. If patients with chronic conditions also have mental health disorders, she coordinates their care with psychiatric nurse practitioners and develops care plans that incorporate self-management skills. She expanded the centers specialty care with a cardiologist who performs echocardiograms on site. Vettori also provides primary care in places beyond the health centers walls, such as The Hub of Hope, a program that makes care more accessible by serving people who seek shelter from the brutally cold winter in the Suburban Station concourse.
Veronica Whyte, RN, BSN: Population health manager, Kennedy Health Alliance, Stratford, N.J.
In 2010, Whyte was hired as a population health manager to help build the Kennedy Medical Group, a health system-based multispecialty physician group. Under Whytes leadership and guidance, the organization has grown from one to more than 50 physicians. She attended the Duke University population care coordinator program and led her team with a new healthcare model aimed at improving patient outcomes by identifying risk factors, influencing chronic disease management, managing preventative care measures and providing health education. She created a program that engages and empowers patients and helps bridge the gaps in care between inpatient and ambulatory care settings. Whyte hired and trained several new graduate RNs to be ambulatory care nurses, developing the role into one that enables them to work to their full scope of practice. She is also responsible for driving improvements and meeting milestones for innovative projects, such as a transitions of care initiative and the Horizons Patient-Centered Medical Home initiative. She organized a cancer fundraising event and recruited nine runners to represent Kennedy, which was named the highest fundraiser group for 2013. According to her nominator, Whyte has collaboratively built a platform for patient care based on creativity, ingenuity, research, best practice and hard work.
PATIENT AND STAFF MANAGEMENT
Monica M. Boyle, RN, BSN: Nurse manager, Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Del.
Boyle is known for creating an environment of open inquiry and motivating her staff to do their best work. She developed a class for nurse assistants to develop their skills and increase their confidence in patient communication, using role playing in the process. She sends anniversary cards to staff members to acknowledge their years of service at Nemours. When the unit became a NICU Step-Down Unit, she ensured that the team was trained and she supported them with her expertise and confidence. Boyles unit was awarded the hospitals spirit stick two years in a row, a coveted award that goes to the unit demonstrating the highest level of engagement and enthusiasm for nursing practice. Boyle developed a multidisciplinary leadership team to promote positive changes on the unit. The team is working on a research project to develop a daily patient schedule. She encourages compassionate care while maintaining professional boundaries and presented a poster on this topic at the 2013 national Children’s Network Conference. Her units nurse satisfaction scores are among the highest at Nemours.
Margaret Conrad, RN, DNP, MPA, BC, CTN-A: Chief nursing administrator, University Correctional Health Care/Rutgers State University of New Jersey, Trenton, N.J.
Conrad provides leadership for 700 RNs and LPNs. UCHC provides primary and mental health care, dental care and sex-offender treatment to 23,000 inmates in adult correctional facilities and 450 residents in juvenile facilities. Conrad promotes recruitment, recognition and retention of nurses and assures all care models and staffing standards are evidence-based and meet compliance requirements. Conrad encourages correctional nurses to be proud of their careers and acknowledges their role in a challenging environment that encompasses both caring and custody. She instills in nurses the belief that quality healthcare is a basic human right for everyone. Conrad implemented the Stanford Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, which empowers patients to take an active role in their treatment and presented the program at the National Conference on Correctional Health Care. By engaging her staff in Performance Improvement projects, Conrad has helped improve clinical outcomes in inmates, including significantly lowering rates of hypertension and hyperlipidemia. A champion for respectful, compassionate and nonjudgmental nursing care, Conrad founded the Transcultural Nursing Society Mid-Atlantic Chapter of New Jersey and organized a cultural diversity conference for nurses.
Michael Coveney, RN, MSN: Director of nursing resource department, Hahnemann University Hospital, Philadelphia
Coveney is counted on to think outside the box and never hesitates to voice an idea. In 2011, he was named Falls Champion and spearheaded a project to reduce and prevent patient falls within the hospital. Coveney formed the multidisciplinary falls reduction and prevention committee, which consisted of nurse leaders, direct care nurses and staff from PT and OT, pharmacy, risk management and information technology departments. They worked on a weekly basis to create falls reduction strategies, such as a falls alert team, post-fall investigations, increased bed alarms for inpatient units and related educational tools. Coveneys team organized a National Falls Awareness Day that featured Falls Champions greeting staff and patients in the lobby to pass along information to reduce falls in the hospital and in the community. Through his efforts, Hahnemanns falls rate decreased by 28% in one year, and Coveney has presented at regional and national healthcare conferences on this accomplishment. Coveney also is recognized for the innovative staff orientation process he implemented as director of the interventional cardiology unit, which he presented at the ANCC National Magnet Conference.
Ann Marie Flory, RN, MSN, NE-BC: Nurse manager med/surg/tele., interim manager step down/ICU, Kennedy Health System, Cherry Hill, N.J.
Flory oversees clinical, financial and human resources within the nursing unit. She works collaboratively with her staff to improve patient outcomes and has piloted such initiatives as discharge patient callbacks and nurse manager rounding. Flory works closely with clinical informatics to monitor compliance with clinical documentation expectations and suggests revisions to improve nursing care documentation. The clinical educators she works with agree that her support of high quality, evidence-based care empowers them to provide effective and relevant education programs and professional development. She encourages her nurses to achieve national certification and to assume ownership of their clinical practice and health outcomes. Her dedication to safe, efficient and high-quality care have resulted in consistently improving patient satisfaction scores. Flory is an active member of the Nursing Performance Improvement Council, supporting staff nurse PI projects and mentoring staff on project selection, design and follow-through. Her units clinical outcomes, particularly patient fall rates, have exceeded target goals. In addition, Flory has received praise for her dedication to precepting BSN students at Rutgers College of Nursing.
Terri L. Spoltore, RN, MSN, CCRN: Administrative director of nursing/Magnet program director Inspira Health Network/Inspira Medical Center Vineland (N.J.)
Spoltore oversees more than 200 clinical staff and nine nurse managers in five units: intensive care, step down, acute care/telemetry, a NICHE geriatric unit and a new clinical decision unit. She excels at translating evidence into clinical practice. Spoltore designed focused-learning laboratory opportunities for clinical nursing students from a local community college. The strategy was so successful it has been adopted by other clinical instructors and nurse educators within the network who work with new graduate nurses transitioning into clinical practice. Another example is her initiative in forming an Advanced Practice Nurses Council to help transition APNs into the hospitals nursing shared governance structure. Spoltore co-chairs the organizations highly successful severe sepsis committee and the ventilator-associated pneumonia prevention team. Her exemplary leadership ability is evident in the practice environment cultivated on her nursing units. Each of her units consistently experience minimal staff turnover. Employee engagement scores on her units exceed regional and national norms for the 10 domains measured. Spoltores dedication to excellence was recognized by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and when one of her units was given their highest honor, the Gold Beacon Award for Excellence.
VOLUNTEERISM AND SERVICE
Kara Anne Chromiak, RN: Med/surg, telemetry nurse, Methodist Hospital, Philadelphia
Chromiak co-chairs the nursing shared governance community outreach committee at the Methodist division of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. She has helped organize and participated in numerous outreach activities. She provided free blood pressure and blood glucose screenings at a community health expo. She prepared meals for families staying at the Gift of Life Family House. Her committee created a T-shirt and held a bake sale and raffle to raise funds for Light the Night Walk fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Chromiak and her committee participated in the Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival and doubled their fundraising goal by raising $5,000. She also helped organize a hat, scarf and glove drive for children at a neighborhood elementary school. Chromiaks humanitarian service goes beyond the hospital outreach committee initiatives. For eight years she has volunteered as a counselor at the Mid-Atlantic Burn Camp, Camp Horizons, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The camp serves children age 8 through 17 who have survived burn injuries. She uses a week of her vacation time and pays all of her own expenses as a Camp Horizon volunteer.
Heather Donohue, RN, BSN, CNOR: Perioperative registered nurse, Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital, West Chester, Pa.
Donohue was one of the first nurses to achieve Clinical Ladder Level 3 and is pursuing an MSN degree in nursing leadership. She is known for facilitating change, gaining consensus and minimizing conflict to create a positive and proactive nursing culture. She is a member of the relationship-focused care council. When this council was tasked with revising the visitation policy, Donohue conducted the literature search and became a strong proponent for open visitation, which successfully began in July 2013. In May 2013, Donohue traveled to Honduras on a medical mission trip. Her team of healthcare providers offered medical, dental, optical and pharmaceutical assistance to the impoverished population there. Their medical clinic attracted people from surrounding islands and delivered free medical services through mobile clinics that served more than 700 Hondurans. Donohues team also brought clothing, shoes and toothbrushes to the children and adults. Donohue was so affected by the poverty that she donated her personal belongings and returned home with only the clothes she was wearing.
Patricia Hewson, RN, CRNP: Pediatric nurse practitioner, Public Health Management Corporation, Philadelphia
Hewson works at two nurse-managed primary care clinics and serves infants through adolescents living in North Philadelphia public housing communities. In addition, Hewson precepts graduate students from Temple, Villanova and Drexel universities. An outstanding humanitarian, Hewson recruits nurses and other healthcare providers to work at Camp Dreamcatcher, a therapeutic and educational program for children who are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. She travels annually to Africa with other volunteers and in 2011 won a grant for her project, HIV Education and Support for Orphans and their Caretakers in Cameroon, Africa. The primary goal of her project, the SHAHICA project, is to prevent the unnecessary death of HIV positive orphans by increasing knowledge about the mechanisms of treatment. Hewson and her team are addressing the lack of awareness about HIV through education about how medications can decrease viral load and increase immune function. Hewson persists in her heroic work, despite challenges such as inadequate financial resources for medication and transportation to medical facilities and the unfortunate persistence of stigmas attached to the disease and families reluctance to admit they are infected.
Marian Nowak, RN, DNP, MPH, MEd, FCN, CSN: Assistant professor of community health nursing, Rutgers University School of Nursing Camden (N.J.)
Nowaks passion for community health started as a student when she helped develop an advocacy program for the homeless at a Camden, N.J., soup kitchen, a project that has grown to serve more than 400 meals daily. She has been practicing nursing for more than 37 years with a particular focus on disadvantaged populations. She developed the first student nurse public health emergency preparedness certificate program in cooperation with the Philadelphia Department of Health, division of Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness. Her efforts increased the number of medical reserve corp volunteers. Nowak also volunteers as an American Red Cross nurse and served in a disaster relief shelter assisting victims of Hurricane Sandy. An expert in school health services, Nowak developed the first schoolwide drug education program, as well as programs on pregnancy prevention, heart disease, teen smoking cessation and violence. Nowak is an expert at creating innovative public health solutions. One technique is the three-step procedure for disaster triage called START (Simple Triage and Rapid Transport). Nowak has traveled worldwide to share this technique, including to China, Japan, Australia, Ireland and Saudi Arabia.
Kate Wentzel, RN, BSN, OCN: Registered nurse, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Besides being a bedside nurse, Wentzel acts as a nursing student mentor, staff preceptor and elected member of the shared governance unit council. As the nursing practice core council liaison, she updates the council and staff about practice changes and initiatives. Outside the hospital, Wentzel devotes her personal and vacation time to international humanitarian missions. She has traveled to Masaya, Nicaragua and with Volunteers for Intercultural and Definitive Adventures. With a team of nursing and pre-med students and a physician, she provided medical care to patients at various villages. On a mission to Kumasi, Ghana, with Habitat for Humanity, Wentzel assisted in the construction of affordable housing for a family in a local village. She was a triage nurse in health clinics in Copan, Honduras, with the Rice Foundation and provided health education on the importance of hand washing and drinking clean water. She also visited Yangon, Myanmar, and worked in mobile health clinics, providing toys and school supplies to children at the Hope for Myanmar Children Orphanage. Wentzel also fundraises and participates in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Societys Light the Night Walk in Philadelphia.