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Excellent RNs

DC/Maryland/Virginia region’s top nurses honored

Monday August 9, 2010
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The long lists of accomplishments of Nursing Spectrum’s 2010 Nursing Excellence Awards finalists inspired the nurses, colleagues and family members gathered June 8 at Martin’s Crosswinds in Greenbelt, Md.

“Because of you, I am proud to be a nurse,” said Theresa Gaffney, RN, MPA, vice president of nursing communications & initiatives for Gannett Healthcare Group, publishers of Nursing Spectrum.

Thirty finalists from the DC/Maryland/Virginia region were honored in six categories during Nursing Spectrum’s 2010 Nursing Excellence Awards gala. Each received healthy applause and sometimes boisterous cheers for their impressive achievements, which ranged from procuring online continuing education for full- and part-time nurses to developing clinically based research projects for nurses.

Nursing Spectrum thanks the sponsors of the event. Silver Sponsors were Southern Maryland Hospital Center, Washington Hospital Center, Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, University of Maryland Medical Center, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, St. Mary’s Hospital, Frederick Memorial Hospital, Shore Health System/University of Maryland Medical System, Howard County General Hospital, Inova Fairfax Hospital, Chamberlain College of Nursing and Kernan Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation.


Yolanda Copeland, RN
Advancing and Leading the Profession

Yolanda Copeland, RN, BSN, MA
Sr. Vice President of Patient Services and CNO
St. Agnes Hospital, Baltimore


Copeland would have been happy just attending the awards gala because of the special feeling she had knowing that her staff had nominated her.
But her nominators wanted her to win and gave her a standing ovation as her name was announced.
Copeland has worked hard to engage her staff, including creating eight councils on which staff nurses can share their input on policy changes.
“It helps their work environment because they get to determine how they do what they do,” she said.
Copeland, a 35-year RN, also makes sure the needs of her nurses are met. She was able to arrange for all full-time and part-time nurses at the hospital to have access to continuing education, despite the down economy.


Kelly Kingsbury-Simonton, RN
Clinical Care

Kelly Kingsbury-Simonton, RN, BSN, CCRN
ICU Staff Nurse and Education Specialist
Franklin Square Hospital Center, Rosedale, Md.


Kingsbury-Simonton has been a nurse for six years, but she already has made an impression on her colleagues — and they’ve made an impression on her.
As she accepted her award in the Clinical Care category, she thanked her friends and colleagues for pushing her “far beyond where I think I can go in nursing,” she said.
So far, that has included her work in the ICU while pursuing a master’s degree in nursing education. She works to ensure positive clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction, her nominating colleague said.
But Kingsbury-Simonton doesn’t limit her efforts to the ICU. By serving on several councils and task forces, she is able to use her experiences to improve other areas of the hospital.


Julia F. Warner, RN
Community Service

Julia F. Warner, RN, MSN, NE-BC
Patient Care Director
Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, Alexandria, Va.


Warner loves the movie “Pay It Forward” and has been able to do just that through Operation Walk Virginia, a nonprofit organization aimed at helping patients who have joint problems in developing countries.
She organizes annual trips to countries such as Nicaragua and Ecuador and coordinates everything from gathering supplies to getting permission from governments for the surgeons and nurses to perform joint surgeries for patients in those countries, she said.
The grueling weeklong trips help those patients improve their quality of life. “It’s a way to give back,” Warner said.
She encouraged all nurses to go on a medical mission. “It’s truly a life-changing experience and worth every bit of sweat that goes into it,” she said.


Betsey Lewis Snow, RN
Management

Betsey Lewis Snow, RN, BSN, MPH
Senior Director
Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children, Falls Church, Va.


Snow welcomed the chance to speak to the roomful of nurses and colleagues after winning Nursing Spectrum’s Management award. “I’ve never turned down the opportunity to talk to a group,” she said.
Working in a group setting is comfortable for Snow. She gathered together key leaders at the hospital for regular meetings to improve communication. She also coordinated a service excellence training seminar, which resulted in a one-year increase of patient-satisfaction scores from the 7th percentile to the 80th percentile ranking.
Snow said the work she does is all for the patients, but along with thanking her staff, she thanked her husband and son who have made or held dinner for her so she could achieve her goals.


Susanne T. Fehr, RN-BC
Mentoring

Susanne T. Fehr, RN-BC, MS, CE
Nursing Resources Manager
Inova Alexandra (Va.) Hospital


When Fehr started working as a nurse, she had a mentor who she looked up to and wanted to be like. Now as her hospital’s nursing resources manager, “I’m trying to be that for the newer nurses,” Fehr said.
She said she tries to make Inova Alexandria a “home away from home” for new nurses, just as it is for her.
Fehr challenges nurses to conduct clinically based studies in their respective specialties. But she also teaches new nurses the three things she wished she knew when she started as an RN: get certified in your specialty, go to educational conferences and make friends at your job to make work fun.


Catherine A. Miller, RN
Teaching

Catherine A. Miller, RN, MSN, CCRN
Clinical Education Program Manager
Howard County General Hospital, Columbia, Md.


Along with feeling shocked at winning Nursing Spectrum’s Teaching award, Miller said she felt blessed.
At Howard County General Hospital, Miller is able to combine her passion for teaching with nursing in her role, she said.
She excels at problem solving, including this example from the colleague who nominated her: The vendor for the hospital’s new digital ECG management system had not yet developed the necessary training materials, so even though she wasn’t the lead on the project, she wrote a detailed training program and ensured its implementation. Her efforts made sure the project was completed on time.

Karen Long is a freelance writer.


To comment, e-mail editorDC@nursingspectrum.com or post a comment below.
Johnson & Johnson Supports Nursing

The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future is the national sponsor of the 2010 Nursing Spectrum Nursing Excellence Awards. Through its campaign, Johnson & Johnson brings attention to the severe shortage of faculty in our nation’s nursing schools. The company offers a faculty scholarship fund to help qualified RNs obtain the advanced education they need to transition into teaching.
Nursing Spectrum supports the campaign’s efforts by donating $5,000 to the campaign’s faculty scholarship fund, which is administered by the Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association.
The donation is made in the name of the national winner in the Nursing Excellence Awards’ Teaching category, which will be announced later this year.