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Meet the 2015 DC/Maryland/Virginia GEM Award finalists

This year’s DC/Maryland/Virginia GEM Awards finalists are among the best of the best in the profession. Thirty finalists are honored from six categories: Advancing and Leading the Profession; Clinical Nursing, Inpatient; Education and Mentorship; Home, Community and Ambulatory Care; Patient and Staff Management; and Volunteerism and Service.

Here are the 2015 DC/Maryland/Virginia GEM Award finalists:

Advancing and Leading the Profession

Christina Cafeo, DNP, RN, director of nursing and patient care services for medical, surgical and cardiac services, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore. Cafeo is described as a leader who ably serves and advocates for others to achieve a win-win whenever possible. She serves as patient care services champion for teambuilding and TeamSTEPPS, and she co-created a working together workshop program to help staff communicate in a respectful and professional manner and to promote civil behaviors. She initiated town hall meetings to enable cardiac SICU staff to voice concerns and ideas for staffing solutions and then presented a multidimensional plan to achieve the goals of all stakeholders. Her vision to create a cardiac nurse fellowship program resulted in a three-year program to educate and promote expert nursing practice in cardiac surgery nursing care. She developed the curriculum and oversaw the training of experienced nurses, and in its first year, she filled all vacant staff positions in this innovative program. Cafeo is a champion and change agent for health promotion of all patients, according to her nominator. With a team from the University of Maryland Institute of Human Virology, she developed and implemented a plan for routine HIV screening for inpatients, resulting in identification and early linkage of new positive patients and engagement of patients with HIV/AIDS who were not actively receiving care. Additionally, her units have met or exceeded targets for hand hygiene, and demonstrated decreased central line-associated bloodstream infections from the innovative and best practices she has promoted.

Theresa Davis, PhD, RN, NE-BC, clinical operations director, enVision eICU, Inova Health System, Falls Church, Va. Davis led the effort that resulted in the Inova TeleICU receiving the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Gold Beacon Award for Excellence designation, making it the first Tele-ICU to be recognized with this critical care award. She works in partnership with the Northern Virginia Hospital Alliance to support 14 regional emergency departments in Northern Virginia using mobile telemedicine in the event of a mass-casualty incident. A chief medical officer from one of the system’s hospital’s said that Davis is “particularly suited to leading nurses especially in the area of evidence-based medicine and system engagement. She was key in embarking on an ambitious plan to remake intensivist and critical care nursing workflow.” She co-chaired the AACN national nursing team that co-authored AACN’s Nursing Practice Guidelines for TeleICU and chaired the American Telemedicine Association’s interdisciplinary clinical team that developed and coauthored the ATA’s industry Guidelines for TeleICU. A dedicated nurse researcher, Davis is focused on developing and testing innovative ways to improve patient care and patient experience. She was recognized for her efforts by receiving funding from the American Nurses Foundation for a study, “Effects of healing touch on critical care patients.” She is involved in a program to mentor the development of critical thinking skills in novice critical and intermediate nurses. She has mentored senior directors at Inova Fairfax Hospital and collaborated in the Inova patient-centered care delivery model in the critical care departments. Davis also was team facilitator for the Inova award winning program, Early progressive mobility in the ICU: Improving the patient experience.

Mary Dixon, MSN, NEA-BC, CNO,Inova Alexandria (Va.) Hospital. Widely respected by her peers as a visionary for the patient experience and for her innovative way of leading and inspiring, Dixon is often quoted as saying, “No challenge is too big.” To provide better care, she collaborated with nurse leaders to help ensure that patients met their required outcomes, raising outcomes to 97% in 2014. By helping implement visibility walls on each nursing unit, she brought ownership and transparency to all staff members and departments. A strong nurse advocate, Dixon worked with managers and directors to encourage specialty area certification, implementing programs to allow nurses to register and achieve certification without paying up front and out-of-pocket. This Fail Safe program has brought a steady increase in certified nurses between 2012 and 2014. She also has stimulated a rise in the percentage of nurses with BSNs, leading to an increase in RN satisfaction scores that exceed the national benchmark. Dixon supports nurses’ vision for their units. For example, she worked to provide the respective departments the means to begin their Baby Friendly journey. Leading the patient flow committee, she helped reduce patient time spent in the emergency department; the ED bed-request-to-bed-assign time improved by 40% in 2014. Through her leadership the hospital also sustained its status as a Stroke Center of Excellence. This leader has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to improving patient flow and decreasing costs through lean methodology and implementation of evidenced-based practice, with an ultimate goal of improving overall patient experience, said her nominator.

Wayne Neal, BSN, MAT, RN-BC, FCN, patient/family education manager, Children’s National Health System, Washington, D.C. Neal exemplifies the nursing leadership role as she challenges staff to achieve excellence in their teaching skills. She spearheaded and leads the patient/family education advocacy team to support clinical nurses in the acute care setting, ambulatory areas and ED. An outstanding advocate, she is a keen patient and family educator and mentor of novice and experienced nurses. She serves as a role model for others in her exemplary interdisciplinary professional collaboration, professionalism and service excellence behaviors. Neal works diligently to educate both patients and families and staff on numerous initiatives across all disciplines. Neal brainstormed with radiology nurses to identify three to four salient teaching points for parents of patients prior to radiologic procedures. An outstanding role model and advocate, she then taught them the teach back method, increasing parental follow-through for preparation of pediatric patients undergoing the procedures. Within three months after implementation, 98% of patients were compliant with pre-procedure instructions. Neal also implemented the use of actual parents as faculty in simulation training as a part of the nurse residency program. This first-hand, scenario-based training provides nurses with comprehensive learning that builds confidence and demonstrates patient-teaching methods in a nonthreatening environment. Neal also spearheads collaborative development of education materials for families, ensures these documents and videos are inclusive of health literacy principles and reinforces the need for language translation as needed. Neal was instrumental in the initiation and development of the patient and family advisory council. In 2013, she was chosen to represent the institution at the Nurse in Washington (D.C.) Internship program.

Shari Simone, DNP, CPNP-AC, FCCM, senior NP clinical program manager, women and children’s services, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore. Simone is a nationally recognized expert in pediatric critical care advanced practice nursing and an expert clinician, developing evidence-based pediatric pain guidelines. She participated as the principal investigator in a multicentered trial for pediatric sedation practices, and is considered a quality and process improvement expert. She recently identified the area of pediatric delirium as focus for quality improvement and established an interprofessional team to address appropriate identification and treatment. Simone developed the first competency-based orientation program for pediatric critical care, which has become the institution’s model for all critical care orientations. She chairs the advanced practice council and personally oversees its strategic goal setting each year. Most recently, she participated on the APN Professional Advancement Model team, leading that work by developing the scoring matrix for the advancement criteria. As an assistant professor faculty member, Simone recently revised pediatric critical care curriculum and teaches most of the core content. Although she is viewed as a content and clinical expert, her true gift is her clarity of vision about the pediatric nurse practitioner role, according to her nominator. She provides consultation regarding the integration of NPs into the pediatric critical care setting and has an astute and organized intellect that allows her to clearly identify opportunities for improvement. As a fellow in the Society of Critical Care Medicine, she has led task forces in the advancement of the pediatric critical care nurse practitioner role.

Clinical Nursing, Inpatient

Stephanie Boese, MSN, RN, RN4, Inova Loudoun Hospital, Leesburg, Va. Boese was the driving force behind her institution’s re-application for the Beacon award in 2014. As chairwoman of the Beacon committee, Boese provided strong leadership and engaged the group in the application process. The staff was notified that the ICU at Inova Loudoun received their Beacon in January 2015. With a talent for organizing and directing a team, Boese has reinvigorated the medical/surgical adult ICU’s practice committee as its chairwoman and has received strong unit representation on many of the shared governance committees. Alarm fatigue initiatives and a pressure ulcer reduction plan are projects the unit is focusing on to improve patient care and quality. Boese continues to advance nursing care excellence in the critical care departments and has been integral in instructing fellow staff members on ACLS skills. She assists the clinical nurse specialists with mock codes and other educational offerings for the stepdown unit staff. Boese has further expanded her instructor role outside of the ICU to the PCU unit with ACLS refresher classes, and staff feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Staff has reported a new confidence and a desire for future learning and improvement. Boese is passionate that all her students understand the hows and whys behind each intervention.

Aileen Geiselhart, RN, staff nurse, Providence Hospital, Washington, D.C. Geiselhart is the go-to person on the 22-bed perioperative services unit where she works. She is highly organized and a solid, stellar performer. Patients who frequent the facility request Geiselhart and express their appreciation for her calm, focused approach to their needs. Her professional knowledge sets her apart from her peers, according to her nominator. As a member of the American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nursing and the Association of PeriOperative Registered Nurses, Geiselhart has been instrumental in helping the department purchase literature providing the most up-to-date standards of care for staff and patients. The standards of care have been included in daily practice and have resulted in effective communication of pertinent discharge instructions for patients and families. She maintains continuing education and shares her expertise throughout the department. Readily accepting difficult patient assignments, Geiselhart’s interactions with the underserved is a replica of sheer compassion, according to her nominator. She serves as a genuine patient advocate and facilitates education and learning for all parties involved. She precepted a new graduate nurse who is now proficient in the areas of admitting, recovery and discharge including obtaining certification in advanced cardiac life support. Her nominator said Geiselhart exhibits Providence’s mission of joy, care and respect and is respectful in all interactions.

Deborah LaFond, DNP, PPCNP-BC, CPON, CHPPN, nurse practitioner, Children’s National Health System, Washington, D.C. LaFond has influenced patient care by designing and implementing a feasibility study that measures the impact of promoting comfort through early palliative care consultation and standardized palliative care interventions for all children undergoing bone marrow transplant. As a result of the study, early palliative care consults for children undergoing BMT have become standard-of-care in the institution. The success of this study contributed to wider acceptance of palliative care support throughout the hospital. A passionate advocate of palliative care support in BMT, LaFond helped create a culture change and strengthened the case that palliative care is an important part of curative care. LaFond collaborated with team members to rewrite the palliative care module, giving new RNs greater confidence and empowering them to seek palliative care for their patients and families. LaFond’s nominator observed that her passion and tireless commitment to palliative care and promotion of early integration of palliative care for children undergoing BMT may be the platform for the early integration of palliative care for all children, adolescents and young adults with high-risk cancer and other life-threatening conditions. One patient’s family said of LaFond, “We got to know her in BMT; she remained such a comfort and helped us when [our son] went to PICU. When we wanted to take him home, she was so supportive helping us obtain the services we needed. It made such a difference to all of us.”

Kristine McGough, BSN, RN, PCCN, clinical nurse 4, Howard County General Hospital, Columbia, Md. McGough is described as someone who always remembers that the patient is a human being. As a member of the ICU staff, she displays excellent assessment skills and is known for handling emergencies in a calm yet efficient and methodical manner. She stays up-to-date on the latest evidence-based practices in patient care and follows hospital protocols. McGough is said to be a wealth of information and can clearly explain concepts to fellow nurses or a care plan to a patient’s family. As an integral part of the hospital’s Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program. McGough arranges monthly meetings, discusses safety concerns with staff and prepares the minutes, and she regularly meets with staff nurses and physicians regarding safety concerns and initiatives. Her nominator said McGough has a way of putting herself in another’s shoes, seeing a situation from that person’s point of view, and she treats all patients as if they were her own loved ones. McGough is well respected by her peers, and nurses often seek her out for clinical knowledge and professional advice regarding their patients’ care. Always seeking new opportunities, she is involved in the wound care committee, auditing charts and assessing patients’ wounds for treatment efficacy.

Amminikutty Ninan, MSN, RN, CMSRN, advanced clinical nurse, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore. Referred to as a multidimensional nurse, Ninan is considered a role model for younger, less experienced nurses. Her nominator said she is respected by all as an educator, change agent, innovator, mentor, leader and a resource nurse for chemotherapy/biotherapy, CAPD and IV insertion for the entire hospital. Ninan successfully initiated and implemented the RN bedside hand-off process after recognizing that nurses were not exchanging standardized reports. She initially analyzed the process and then developed a report sheet that ensures all clinically pertinent patient information is exchanged during bedside handoffs. The process also ensures that patients are seen within the first half hour of the shift, decreasing the likelihood of adverse patient events. A tireless patient advocate, Ninan took the initiative to improve pain management on her unit. Ninan educated RN staff by giving them one-on-one instruction about documenting pain in a timely manner, resulting in 100% compliance. Observing that new nurses were depending on charge nurses to insert IVs, she also initiated a successful project to educate them on correct IV insertion techniques. As a clinical instructor for IV therapy, Ninan collaborated with the CNS to include IV insertion techniques in the new graduate orientation program. Her nominator said Ninan successfully empowers her staff with the clinical knowledge and technical skills they need to provide safe and quality patient care.

Education and Mentorship

Carol Esche, DNP, MA, RN, NE-BC, CNS in evidence-based practice and research, MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, Baltimore. Esche has demonstrated exemplary teaching and mentoring skills for more than 1,200 acute care RNs in her institution. She is able to seamlessly move teams through the evidence-based practice process, starting with question identification to practice implementation and finally dissemination, including publications and podium presentations at the national level. She established an EBP internship program, completed by 16 nurses, and created and teaches a four-part series on publications and presentations for nurses and interdisciplinary teams. Applying her natural ability to encourage nurses, she offers suggestions to guide them in advancing their clinical practice and has been part of a state award-winning project mentoring nurses to improve hand hygiene and patient equipment cleaning compliance. Hand hygiene compliance increased from 45-60% to 90-100% and germ counts fell to normal. She also collaborated with an interdisciplinary team to remove anti-embolic stockings from the organization; following implementation, no increase in deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism has occurred and significant cost savings was realized. Since inception of the nurse residency program two years ago, Esche has mentored six cohorts who completed 27 EBP projects resulting in specific practice and/or policy changes involving the hospital’s Baby Friendly initiative, sitter utilization and other areas. Improved outcomes for patients, staff and students have resulted from Esche’s efforts. While mentoring staff nurses in an EBP project regarding bedside shift report, the nurses expressed the difficulty in transitioning to an evidence-based format. Esche then developed a repeat education program to support them.

Katherine Patterson Kelly, PhD, RN, PCNS-BC, CPON, nurse scientist, Children’s National Health System, Washington, D.C. Kelly easily relates practical clinical questions to an evidence-based practice or research project in terms that clinical nurses can understand. She motivates and supports teams interested in pursuing research projects and makes them seem manageable. A hematology-oncology advanced practice nurse, she skillfully combines her passion for caring for children with cancer and their families and nursing research on treatment decision-making. She collaborates with other researchers from Children’s National and across the country in studies to enhance understanding of treatment decision-making that is transferrable to the nurse at the bedside. Kelly’s positive regard for nursing research makes her a natural role model for nurses at all career levels interested in conducting research, and the knowledge generated positively impacts the patient experience for children with cancer and their families. She also has conducted studies to understand the experiences of patients with severe obesity and weight-management treatments and to develop community partnerships to support children with other chronic illnesses, such as type I diabetes and sickle-cell disease. She has authored dozens of peer-reviewed publications, mainly on treatment decisions and the impact of childhood cancer on families. In her work, Kelly also addresses the implementation of evidence-based practice projects and preferred methods of data collection for qualitative studies. She is a member of the hospital’s institutional review board, serves as a member of the nursing research advisory council and is an active member of the children’s oncology group.

Barbara Nubile, MSN, RN, associate dean/director of nursing, Montgomery College, Takoma Park, Md. Recruiting, mentoring, supporting, encouraging and retaining new faculty and staff is Nubile’s prime objective and she excels in these roles in every way, according to her nominator. Faculty and staff are reflective of the diverse demographics of the school’s student population and the surrounding community, and she has successfully increased the numbers to reflect racial, ethnic and other minority groups. Nubile also encourages all faculty, staff and students to continue to pursue educational goals, exponentially increasing the numbers of master’s-prepared faculty and staff as well as doctoral candidates. Nubile has worked with other entities in the college to eliminate barriers and ensure a smooth transition for students. As a result, she has bridged the gap between the college and other institutions by collaborating in these matriculation efforts, including the acquisition of millions of dollars in grant money from local, state and federal entities. These efforts have produced a well-trained faculty and staff who have ensured student enrichment, development and success. Nubile has made it possible for student enrollment to significantly expand by increasing the pool of qualified and diverse faculty, physical space and student resources. She also has worked closely with college entities in directing and developing support for pre-admission preparation of all students coming into the nursing program, including special and diverse populations. In her involvement with state and national organizations, she continually promotes the profession of nursing, and in December 2014, she received the Outstanding Mentoring Award at the Maryland Nurses Association Convention.

Charles Sederstrom, MSN, RN, nurse educator, Medstar Washington Hospital Center, Washington, D.C. Sederstrom’s extensive involvement with the Ebola viral disease preparedness training program has carried his facility to national and local attention. Through his considerable contributions in Ebola training, Sederstrom has had a tremendous impact on ensuring staff and patient safety. To provide a seamless transition from classroom to practice, he coordinated the training schedule that covers didactic and simulation and facilitated many of the training classes. He used his organizational skills and experience as a unit leader to coordinate and lead the MWHC Ebola Training Task Force that included infection control, emergency management, critical care, ED, respiratory therapy, physicians and the nursing staffing department. Sederstrom efficiently coordinated, communicated and implemented the task force’s training decisions and timelines, and his knowledge of nursing workflow helped facilitate a patient-centered care model. As a member of the institution’s human epidemic respiratory disease committee and through daily review of the CDC website, he stayed abreast of the fast-changing nature of EVD preparedness. During off hours, when a suspected Ebola patient arrives, Sederstrom is in the ED to assist with logistics, communication and personal protective equipment protocols. He also was part of the management team that transitioned a medical/surgical ICU to a neuroscience ICU, and his poster abstract on this innovation was presented at the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Greater Washington Area Chapter’s Spotlight on Critical Care Conference 2014. The poster won a first place award for excellence in evidence-based solutions. An outstanding leader, Sederstrom has a passion for education, said his nominator.

Cindi Wood, MSN, APRN/PMH-BC, CPHQ, clinical nurse specialist, psychiatry and addictions, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore. Wood is not content just to meet expectations, but strives to exceed them at every opportunity, according to her nominator. The programs she has developed far exceed regulatory requirements; she tirelessly advocates for additional resources to ensure clinical staff are practicing in safe environments. Her leadership enhances clinical outcomes and advances the quality of care provided throughout psychiatry and substance abuse. As the subject matter expert on behavioral clinical standards, she oversees all aspects of quality review and is the institutional expert on state standards and regulations. Her oversight and contributions have helped develop the Resilience in Stressful Events Program Support, which provides support for healthcare providers and employees who are involved in patient-related adverse events or medical errors, and as a result, experience emotional and sometimes physical distress. Wood oversaw the training effort for a select group of nurses to serve as volunteer responders and also oversees the institution’s crisis prevention program to ensure training of staff in psychiatry and substance abuse and the ED. She collaborates with colleagues including crisis prevention trainers, representatives from security, human resources and leadership, and oversees the development and implementation of the actual training to more than 700 staff annually. She also collaborates with human resources to ensure the delivery of computer-based learning modules on workplace violence and prevention for all JHBMC employees, working directly with the security training department to provide ongoing crisis prevention and aggression management training classes for all newly hired security staff.

Home, Community and Ambulatory Care

Mary Boyle, RN, CCM, nurse care coordinator, Erickson Advantage/Erickson Living, Springfield, Va. As a care coordinator, Boyle has helped countless members with serious health conditions receive the care they need in the most efficient and cost effective way, and at times, coordinating care in complex situations. She is an independent thinker and problem solver who continues to play an instrumental role in meeting the goals and objectives of the health plan, according to her nominator. Boyle takes a holistic approach to every situation, treating members with respect, love and kindness. She takes their physical, functional, psychosocial and emotional status into consideration with every intervention. In addition, she conscientiously visits hospice patients, and after they’ve passed away, provides that same level of care and support to their grieving families. She has helped members gain more self-confidence, helping them to embrace the aging process, providing them with a positive external perspective and encouraging them to focus on excelling in their abilities. Her nominator related numerous examples of the contributions Boyle has made which have brought about positive change for members and the organization. One member with underlying medical and psychiatric issues lacked confidence and a sense of meaningful calling for herself. Through trust, respect and encouragement from Boyle, this member developed an idea to help new residents with difficulties and formed a group, which has been widely embraced. As a result of Boyle’s encouragement and support, the resident has new meaning and purpose to her life.

Tara Carlson, MS, RN, manager, business development, R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore. Carlson co-founded the Center for Injury Prevention and Policy at the Shock Trauma Center to oversee prevention programs that impact more than 22,900 residents of Maryland on an annual basis. In 2012, as part of the shared governance structure, she initiated the trauma nursing prevention council to encourage new clinical nurses to volunteer and participate in outreach prevention strategies. These nurses are trained to deliver prevention programs to high school students and to high-risk juveniles and adults remanded by the courts. Carlson initiated a multi-professional intimate partner violence work group, resulting in $75,000 in grant awards and a program with resources and around-the-clock on-call coverage for victims of domestic or intimate partner violence. Since inception, she has secured $375,000 in grant funding to support the program. Thanks to her energy, leadership and creativity, she has developed unique strategies to keep these programs self-sustaining, according to her nominator. Carlson is a skilled advocate for injury prevention policy, and provides testimony to the Maryland General Assembly every year regarding policy tactics to reduce drunk driving and to promote injury prevention strategies for children. Involved and committed, Carlson is president for Trauma Net and is the injury prevention chairwoman for the Trauma Center Association of America, as well as a board member for the Partnership for a Safer Maryland focused on injury prevention throughout Maryland. She presented at the TCAA national conference on developing partnerships for injury prevention, and initiated an annual well-attended gala to support the Violence Intervention and Prevention Program.

Mary Kerner, MSN, RN, CHPN, RN case manager, Capital Caring Hospice, Washington, D.C. Kerner is responsible for the day-to-day care and coordination of 18 to 22 hospice patients, coordinating and administering advanced hospice therapies to include thoracic and abdominal drains, IV medications and treatments. She coordinates the care of multiple disciplines to include social workers, chaplains, nurses aides and volunteers. Adeptly managing patients and families at the end of life while successfully helping them cope with grief and loss, she demonstrates exemplary performance by working with some of the most challenging populations who have the greatest socioeconomic need. Kerner attains consistently top outcomes for pain management and dyspnea while being one of the most efficient in the management of resources, and she effectively collaborates with multiple disciplines to ensure those top outcomes. In addition, she supports long-term care staff in the nursing homes she serves, developing comprehensive programs with resources to educate them on managing end-of-life patients and grief associated with their care. She is an office resource for internal medicine residents in their palliative and hospice rotations, and she has provided experiences for students from other health-related discipline in hospice care. Kerner volunteers at Camp Erin Bereavement Camp for Children, contributing 100 hours per year in the preparation and implementation of this program that provides grief and loss support to children.

Todd Milliron, RN, senior clinical nurse I, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore. Milliron is described as someone who goes above and beyond his duties to make sure patients in the infusion center receive the information they need about their disease while ensuring that therapy is administered safely. Regardless of the nature of the “crisis of the hour,” his nominator said he remains steady and always maintains a positive attitude and sense of humor. In addition to running the infusion center operationally, he also provides direct patient care, coordinates and trains new staff, performs administrative responsibilities and identifies and solves problems to ensure patients receive the high quality care they deserve. He is said to be relentless in identifying new methods to improve patient care in the infusion center. Milliron is participating in a performance innovative program aimed at optimizing patient flow in the infusion area and improving patient satisfaction. He organizes and coordinates a monthly educational patient and family program in the outpatient cancer center, arranging for speakers and providing information on diseases and treatments. He spends a tremendous amount of time volunteering to support fundraising efforts for the patients he treats in their fight against cancer, and he has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the annual Maryland Half Marathon, which benefits the patients of University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center. A colleague said, “There are so many times, on so many days that his leadership makes a difference, from code situations to infusion reactions, to problems with orders.”

Cheryl Smith, MSN, RN, Lt.Col. USAFR (Ret.), NC, community health nurse II/school health nurse, Charles County Department of Health, White Plains, Md. As a health department employee working in the public school system, Smith is described as someone who is proactive in effecting changes that result in significant improvements and positive outcomes. Screening immunization compliance, facilitating annual vision and hearing screenings, acting as liaison between parents and staff in specific medical situations, training new nursing staff in school health, participating in student nurse on-site evaluations and daily triage of sick students and staff are among Smith’s daily responsibilities. Relentless in her efforts, she has a keen interest in making electronic documentation more user-friendly for her colleagues, initiating an electronic visit log, creating spreadsheets for tabulation of monthly statistics and implementing data collection of non-compliant students related to new immunization laws. She also provides tools for carbohydrate counting related to the diabetic population and organizes the health rooms for better flow of care and functionality. Generous with her time and talents, Smith has shared these accomplishments with more than 30 school nurses in the district. Focusing on prevention, she spearheads a wellness club for the students to educate them about health issues that affect the adolescent population and encourages them to pursue the nursing profession. She also participates in the annual career day and provides a weight loss program for staff members. Away from work, she is an active member of her church, reaching out to the community in fundraising efforts at the annual health fair or participating in “safe nights” that help the homeless.

Patient and Staff Management

Jennifer DuVal, MSN, RN, CPN, professional practice specialist, Children’s National Health System, Washington, D.C. DuVal has made significant quality improvements in patient safety, patient satisfaction, and in highlighting the nurse’s role in improving the institution’s financial outlook. She has worked on numerous performance improvement activities using Lean methodology, which included achieving and sustaining a 25% decrease in the time between “patient discharged” and “room ready for next patient” by changing how nurses manage discharge paperwork. She also made substantial improvements around the discharge planning process, ensuring nursing staff plays an active role in coordinating and communicating discharge planning. Most recently, DuVal has helped make marked improvements around Pediatric Early Warning Scores. After re-educating the nursing staff, the percent of accurately scoring PEWS significantly improved from 33% in August 2014 to 83% in December 2014. She is a driving force for many improved patient outcomes on her unit as a result of her established interdisciplinary relationships, according to her nominator. One of her specific contributions was streamlining the ordering process for unit supplies. DuVal and her team used the Lean methodology to organize the supply room and set up a weekly ordering system, resulting in less waste and less time spent searching for and ordering supplies. DuVal created a performance board for the unit, which was so successful that she has been asked by many other departments to assist in developing their performance boards. She is described as an innovator and ambitious and committed leader, who always strives to do what is right for the patient and family.

Gale Ford, BSN, MHA, RN, administrative supervisor, Providence Hospital, Washington, D.C. As administrative supervisor, Ford is called upon to address everything from ceiling leaks to de-escalating conflicts. She is responsible for the supervision of patient flow, staffing, coordination of the centralized bed management system, optimizing occupancy and avoiding delays in service. Ford is said to display every day the organization’s mission, which is to serve all persons with joy, care and respect. Soon after she enters the facility, she has her finger on the pulse of the organization, managing the hustle and bustle of patient flow while addressing patient grievances, employee concerns, maintenance issues and staffing needs, according to her nominator. She gives her all with each interaction and has mentored many to be nimble in a complex environment. She recognizes individual strengths and assists staff members in finding their career path, motivating many to return to school, gain certifications and reach higher in their career development. In her unwavering commitment to develop a culture of patient safety, Ford has been instrumental in implementing improvement programs, such as the initiation of the fall risk protocols, which led to a decrease in falls at the institution. Ford is described as someone who anticipates needs, assesses conditions, and always brings something strong and influential to the table. She is an example of an excellent team leader who is highly respected by all.

Kimberly Krakowski, MSN, RN, CAHIMS, director, informatics and innovation, Inova Health System, Falls Church, Va. Krakowski manages a team of 65 informatics liaisons, informatics analysts and senior informatics analysts who support the needs of five hospitals and more than 300 clinics. She ensures strong, collaborative relationships and communication with the executive leaders, education department, information systems, training, human resources, stakeholders and vendors. She is recognized for providing strategic leadership in the development of workflows and ongoing continuous process improvement of nursing and clinical information systems. Krakowski uses quality processes and evidence-based practice to provide streamlined solutions that meet the business needs related to clinical support applications, nursing work processes, and the redesign and enhancement of the core clinical IT platforms and workflows. Over the past year, she led a dozen Kaizens that resulted in improved outcomes for patients across the system, related to CAUTI and DVT reduction, decreasing readmission rates, improved nursing workflows with medical and pediatric early warning systems, and improved workflow that decreased patients’ length of stay. Determined and dedicated to patient care, Krakowski also led the team that developed standardized documentation, which allowed the organization to receive more than $18 million for their attestation of meaningful use. She values education and certification, and through her strong encouragement, 100% of her eligible staff holds advanced certification. She has hosted delegations from the Netherlands, the Department of Defense and other hospitals to share work that has been accomplished, and a nursing informatics book she co-authored will be published this spring. Krakowski creates a practice environment that has no barriers, is built on the spirit of inquiry and reflects a culturally competent professional nursing staff supportive of patient-focused values, according to her nominator.

Simone Odwin-Jenkins, BSN, MBA, RN, nurse manager, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore. Odwin-Jenkins is described as someone who is outcomes-focused, encouraging staff participation in best practices and improvement initiatives. As a result, her units have achieved excellent clinical outcomes and strong staff engagement in adopting best practices and initiating change, according to her nominator. She assists other nurse managers with initiatives and is a mentor and adviser to new nurse managers. She continues to foster the development of the next generation of nurse leaders, successfully guiding and promoting three nurses to the senior clinical nurse role. During twice daily huddles, her teams use a tool they created to discuss falls, wounds, urinary catheters, central lines, drips and the Walking Buddy to assure adherence to best practices and protocols. Introduced on one of her units, the Walking Buddy program is a joint initiative with colleagues from rehabilitation services. With the goal of increasing patient mobility earlier in the hospitalization, the program’s metrics included compliance with the process and length of stay; year to date, length of stay has improved for the vascular surgery patients. Odwin-Jenkins also identified the need to support the intermediate level of care for vascular surgery patients to decrease care transitions and improve patient satisfaction and quality outcomes. She and her team established and implemented an aggressive educational plan. She also supported an organizational initiative to provide routine HIV testing, worked to involve her staff, determined champions and initiated the program on her units with positive results.

Kristina Presgrave, BSN, RN, CPEN, RN 3, Inova Loudoun Hospital, Leesburg, Va. Her nominator said Presgrave serves as a resource, preceptor and mentor who demonstrates leadership skills in decision-making and problem-solving and consistently provides safe, therapeutic care in the pediatric ED. She has been her unit’s safety coach for three years, attending safety committee meetings to bring back relevant information for the staff and performing line safety and fire safety exercises with the staff on a monthly basis. To improve workflow, she helped identify the need to reduce alarm fatigue on the unit. After reviewing the research, she developed guidelines to decrease the number of audible alarms on the unit, which included adjusting limits according to patients’ ages. She also collaborated with physicians to get their feedback. Committed to the care of patients and their families, Presgrave helped to develop a welcome letter given to patients while they are waiting to be admitted to the unit. Because the letter includes important patient and family information, such as what can be expected during a child’s visit, the triage process and what services or tests may occur, it has been well received and recognized as a positive patient care initiative. Because education is important to Presgrave, she finds relevant, recent research articles and posts them in the staff breakroom, helping staff members keep up to date with current research and best practices.

Volunteerism and Service

Daniel Ampomah, PhD, RN, NE-BC, faculty instructor, Chamberlain College of Nursing Arlington campus, Arlington, Va. After teaching nursing classes each week, Ampomah shares health information around the world through his talk show on Ghana Tourist Coach Radio; many listeners are members of the large Ghanaian community in Northern Virginia. Ampomah was motivated to reach out to the community with health promotion after meeting many Ghanaians and Africans who asked for his health advice. He began sharing his knowledge by giving presentations on hypertension, diabetes and other important health topics at African churches in Virginia. That effort led to the radio program, which can, on any given Sunday, have more than 7,000 listeners. He also was involved in helping found the Ghana Nurses Association of Virginia in 2008. The association has a membership of about 210 nurses and nursing students. Ampomah has provided leadership, guidance and motivation to his nursing colleagues, and through the association has embarked on health outreach programs, educating the community on high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and other health issues that impact the African community. As a result, the association activities have brought health awareness and personal care to the Ghanaian community in Virginia. In 2010, Ampomah founded the Ghana Nursing and Health Center with the primary goal of providing health education material tailored to meet the healthcare needs of Ghanaians living in West Africa or other parts of the world. Last year, he was chosen as a panelist on a Diaspora Health Conference organized by the Ghana Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Joyce Brittain, RN, coordinator, volunteer nurse program, Atlantic General Hospital, Berlin, Md. Brittain serves as a retired nurse coordinator for approximately 25 retired nurses who volunteer at Atlantic General Hospital. She started the program in collaboration with the CNO approximately four years ago and has grown it from four nurses to its current size. The nurses provide follow-up phone calls to discharged patients in the inpatient and emergency areas and also make pre-op calls, collecting valuable data for the preadmission testing nurse. In addition, they work in the patient centered medical home, following up on patients who are at high risk for readmission. Volunteering up to 30 hours a week, Brittain has established a program others can trust. She has served in this role since 2007, when the hospital created the nurse volunteer department, and after much research she helped develop the existing model. From this role she has become an even larger contributor to the hospital’s overall volunteer department of more than 400 individuals. She serves as a recruitment coordinator for the hospital auxiliary. In this position, she interviews prospective volunteers and reviews all policies with them, processes their applications and places them in departments suitable to their abilities and preferences. In 2013, Brittain received the Retired Nurse of the Year award from the organization.

Marybeth Daniels, MS, RN, PCCN, community case specialist, Shore Wellness Partners, University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, Easton, Md. In addition to her work as a community case specialist, Daniels is an energetic community volunteer. She was instrumental in cultivating ideas and organizing fundraising for the American Heart Association, engaging an entire unit of nursing staff and most of the medical staff to meet the fundraising goal. Over the past four years, her leadership and involvement in the food bank at St. Paul’s Church has received most of Daniels’ time and attention. Five years ago, St. Paul’s was giving out approximately 40-50 grocery bags per month. Under Daniels’ involvement, that number has increased to 150-200 bags. A unique food donation program, it requires no income documentation and nobody is turned away. Daniels advertises the need for food bank donations, picks the donations up and organizes church and civic groups’ donation drives. She maintains robust relationships with Dorchester County service providers, such as the Dorchester County Department of Social Services, the county health department, adult protective services, other home health agencies, and her coworkers throughout Shore Regional Health. On Christmas Eve, she recruited her husband and others to fill and deliver meals, some of which were to patients. Last Christmas the program provided more than 200 meals to families in need, and she has agreed to serve as the chairwoman of the program for Christmas this year. Her nominator said Daniels is an amazing person who has spent a lifetime trying to improve the lives of others.

Darlene Foreman, MSN, RN, CPN, clinical nurse supervisor, Children’s National Medical Center, Laurel, Md. Foreman works in pediatric ambulatory care, and through her creativity and innovative efforts, she obtains contributions from retailers and donations to support the mission of patient and family-centered care. She led an organization-wide change project with the theme “Never Forget Who We’re Caring For,” connected with the facility’s care model. Foreman initiated a greeter campaign by offering coloring activities while patients are in the waiting and exam rooms. In collaboration with Project Linus, she coordinates the providing of handmade quilted and crocheted blankets for children with illnesses. She also initiated a “Go Green” action plan for patients, families and staff to facilitate a new recycling program. Foreman became a member of Practice Greenhealth, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing guidance for healthcare organizations in creating better, safer, greener workplaces and communities. Tireless in her efforts, she also worked directly with the Accent Health/CNN-Family Education monitoring system to install monitors in the clinic waiting room that continually provide information designed for the pediatric population. She initiated a community bridge between the orthopedics and speech therapy departments with neighboring physical therapists, promoting consistent, trustworthy relationships and also facilitates clinic blood drives for staff and the community. Foreman recently introduced the practice of palliative and end-of-life care to the ambulatory setting. She attended the End of life Nursing Consortium conference, and is working with the organizational team to establish a dedicated conference at the hospital, with the goal of developing a local pediatric hospice program.

Asma Hanif, RN, executive director, Muslimat Al Nisaa, Baltimore. An advanced nurse practitioner, Hanif has worked tirelessly in providing care for the homeless, refugees, trafficking victims and women who are victims of domestic violence for more than the past 30 years. In 1987, she established a holistic, health, education and social services center, Muslimat Al Nisaa, a faith-based practice that provides health services for underserved and uninsured women and children. Hanif opened her home in 2007 to shelter homeless women and children and women victims of domestic violence, and to assist them as they struggle to achieve self-esteem, self-worth and self-sufficiency. Being a resident in her own shelter, she donates her own monetary resources to maintain the shelter she established. Her work includes providing and organizing volunteer health services in public schools, as well as providing health services to the homeless, to women in shelters, to those in group homes and to those in foster care. She performs physicals for the mentally and physically challenged, which allows them to be able to participate in the Special Olympics. An APN on a mission, Hanif provides free blood pressure screenings in community centers for the elderly, and cancer and vaginal health awareness seminars with free breast exams at women’s conferences. She teaches workshops on “How to Prevent Breast Cancer through Diet and Self-Breast Exams,” and “How to Achieve or Avoid Pregnancy through Fertility Awareness.” She also authored a rape prevention pamphlet entitled “What A Woman Doesn’t Know Can Hurt Her,” and also participated in a panel at the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s Pandemic Flu Consultations.


By | 2021-05-03T14:45:53-04:00 May 4th, 2015|Categories: Nursing Awards|0 Comments

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John Roszkowski is a freelance writer.

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