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Looking forward, looking back: Nurses celebrate 2014 accomplishments, focus on 2015 goals

Q: What was the proudest moment for your unit or hospital this year? Why?

Mary Yogus Davis, RN

As 2014 comes to a close, nurses from around the region have plenty of accomplishments to celebrate. We asked local nurses about their proudest moments and triumphs along with their objectives for 2015.

Here are their thoughts:

A: “The proudest moment for me occurred this past summer. Up until June, the PACU had the lowest staff absenteeism of any part of the Barnabas Health Ambulatory Surgery Center. Suddenly in June, three full-time nurses had unexpected leaves of absence.

With summer vacations also starting, I had real concerns about staffing and the impact this would have in caring for our 50-70 or more patients daily. My entire nursing staff, including two nursing assistants, really stepped up to the plate.

Besides offering to change their vacations and work extra hours, they came to work every day with their usual smiles, positive attitudes and worked together as a team. Being a nurse is more than just a job for my staff.

They approach their work with a caring and unwavering ability to make every patient and their families feel special, comforted and confident in our services. I am a proud manager.”

— Mary Yogus Davis, RN, Barnabas Health Ambulatory Surgery Center, Livingston, N.J.

Thomas Caren, RN

A: “To define only one proud moment in the cardiac surgical ICU at HackensackUMC would be tough. I believe the ways the unit works on a daily basis are the proud moments.

To be working when it unexpectedly turns hectic, and to watch the staff pull together truly makes me proud.

As we hand off a busy shift to the night staff, then to come back 12 hours later, it is wonderful to see the patient extubated, out of bed and tolerating food. The unit works in a collaborative fashion.

There are no individuals here, but a team approach that enables the unit to function. I am overwhelmingly proud to be a part of this team.”

— Thomas Caren, BSN, RN, cardiac staff nurse, CSICU, HackensackUMC, Hackensack, N.J.

Marge Lilienthal, RN

A: “I was proudest this past year when The Mount Sinai Hospital received Magnet redesignation.

During the survey, I took part in many unit visits and interview sessions where I witnessed the front-line nursing staff eloquently speak about their clinical practice and the impact they had on patient outcomes using evidence-based practice.

Quite impressive.”

— Marge Lilienthal, MS, RN, NEA-BC, associate director of nursing/nursing educator, women & children’s services, The Mount Sinai Hospital, Manhattan

Q: What is the best thing you did to advance your life or career in 2014? Why?

Tara Cullen, RN

A: “I have been fortunate enough to be able to advance my career by accepting the ED director position at Clara Maass and by continuing with my MBA, which will be completed six weeks from now.

To be a part of such an amazing team dedicated to providing the highest level of quality care is an opportunity that does not come around too often.

I am so proud of what the ED has accomplished as a team both at Clara Maass and within the Barnabas Health system in 2014, that I look forward to even more accomplishments in 2015.”

— Tara Cullen, BSN, RN, ED nurse, Clara Maass Medical Center, Barnabas Health, Belleville, N.J.

Lynette Joy Romanovitch, RN

A: “There is a saying among bodybuilders — ‘No pain, no gain.’

The same goes for career building. Stepping outside your areas of expertise or taking a new role can be painful.

But if you really want to develop new skills, solidify your employability and expand your career horizons, you have to step out of your comfort zone and take on some new tough challenges.

This year is my ‘moment.’ As a Mount Sinai nurse for 14 years, the best thing I’ve done to advance my career is to take a new role and responsibilities. I was given an opportunity by my nurse manager, Simone Smith, RN, to take a role as Magnet champion and Magnet escort during our recent third Magnet designation.

It was a role that made me experience a great learning opportunity, enhance my skill in leading innovations and managing change and mentorship from our own bright and accomplished nursing leaders.

Taking a new role and responsibilities inspired me to reach higher. It made me develop characteristics of energy and zeal [and helped me realize] that learning is truly a lifelong endeavor.”

— Lynette Joy Romanovitch, BSN, RN, CRRN, in-patient rehab nurse, The Mount Sinai Hospital, Manhattan

Lovely Simon, RN

A: “Coney Island Hospital is currently on a wonderful journey of becoming breast-feeding friendly.

This year, I had the opportunity to attend and complete a certified lactation consultant course.

This certification will help assist Coney Island toward its goals by having staff educate and encourage patients to breast-feed.

It has greatly advanced my career as a labor and delivery nurse by broadening my knowledge and skill set in all the benefits of breast-feeding.

Helping and teaching my patients to breast-feed has also allowed me to develop a more intimate nurse-patient-family relationship and witness their bond grow.”

— Lovely Simon, RN, staff nurse, labor and delivery, Coney Island Hospital, Brooklyn

Q: Who was your most memorable patient and how did he/she impact you?

Joanne Lombardi, RN

A: “I truly don’t have just one memorable patient. They have all affected me so much in one way or another.

The ones who stand out the most are the ones who express how much better I made them feel, stating that I answered their questions when no one else did and gave them reassurance and education.

I love when they tell me I chose the right profession, that my passion for their care is evident.

I will never forget the patients and families who made me feel so blessed for the privilege of being entrusted with their well-being.”

— Joanne Lombardi, RN, home care nurse, Barnabas Health Home Care, Toms River, N.J.

Janine Bodden, RN

A: “Throughout nursing school, being a nursing assistant, student nurse extern, RN and now an APN at HackensackUMC, I am truly fortunate to have some wonderful memories of caring for patients.

One patient who has had a strong impact on me battled through many surgeries and complications, yet always seemed to find the bright side, even when a bright side didn’t exist.

He was well aware of his poor prognosis at the time, but somehow found the strength to fight on.

He worked hard in his recovery and fought through setbacks.

His contagious optimism was frequently present. His strength of mind is something I will never forget.”

— Janine Bodden, MSN, RN, APN, ONC, joint coordinator, HackensackUMC Orthopaedic Institute, Hackensack, N.J.

Suzette Williams, RN

A: “I was working with a patient suffering from uncontrolled diabetes for many years. He experienced some complications, but thought he was doing his best. During our first meeting, I explained my expectations for him to improve his diabetes and prevent further complications.

After continually missing his goals, he said, ‘I’m trying, but you are tough. I can’t meet your expectations.’

This made me realize I was not always listening to the patient. I want the best for them, but my goals are not always their goals.

That experience influenced my approach to patient care throughout the years. Since that experience, treating the disease is a team effort.

We celebrate victories and regroup when we miss our goals.”

— Suzette Williams,
FNP-BC, RN, certified diabetes educator, Kings County Hospital Center, Brooklyn

Q: What is your biggest professional goal for 2015?

A: “My goal for 2015 is to mentor and provide a nurturing, collaborative environment for our newly hired nurses.

At HackensackUMC, we have a healthy work environment. Our nurses participate in shared decision-making and are very active in nurse-led councils.

Managing sophisticated technology, learning about numerous medical advances and handling rapid patient turnarounds is routine.

This pace is challenging for the new graduate or less experienced nurse.

As a nurse leader, I see the need to retain this specific group of talent because they are our future.”

— Denyse Addison, MSN, RN, NE-BC, nurse manager, nursing staffing office and float pool, HackensackUMC, Hackensack, N.J.

A: “I would say that one of my professional goals for 2015 would be to become more involved in my local Oncology Nursing Society chapter so I could help to implement change at a grassroots level.

I would like the opportunity to meet nurses from other oncology institutions to discuss their problems and how they found solutions. Also, my unit is developing a professional practice committee.

I am hoping to become involved with its development. I feel it is important for nurses to always strive to stay current and maintain professionalism.”

— Miwa Saito, BSN, RN, OCN, oncology nurse, Ruttenberg Treatment Center, Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai, Manhattan

A: “I started my career as a staff nurse in the med/surg unit.

I wanted to work with patients requiring more specialized care, attention and close monitoring, so I transferred to the ICU. I found it personally rewarding to be an advocate for my patients.

Therefore I will be attending a patient-centered and culturally competent course provided by Queens Hospital Center to enhance my communication skills in caring for diverse populations.

My goals for the coming year are to pursue my CCRN and continue to improve in offering quality care with patient/staff engagement, and providing optimal and safe treatment to all of my patients.

I hope to become an inspiration and role model to my colleagues who strive to advance their nursing careers.”

— Allan Kristoffer Agcon, RN, staff nurse, ICU, Queens Hospital Center, N.Y.

Stefanie Dell’Aringa is a freelance writer.

By | 2020-04-15T09:27:04-04:00 December 5th, 2014|Categories: New York/New Jersey Metro, Regional|0 Comments

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