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Saint Clare's celebrates nurses with self-care, awards and more

Monday July 11, 2011
Many nurses took part in Cultural Competence Day, such as, from left, Nancy Wood, RN; Margie Yagumyum, RN; Norma Atienza, RN; June Marin, RN; Danette Marin, RN; Suellyn Ellerbe, RN, executive vice president, COO and CNO; Martina Mendoza, RN; Ranulfo and Desiree Besana, RN; and Debbie Regen, RN.
Many nurses took part in Cultural Competence Day, such as, from left, Nancy Wood, RN; Margie Yagumyum, RN; Norma Atienza, RN; June Marin, RN; Danette Marin, RN; Suellyn Ellerbe, RN, executive vice president, COO and CNO; Martina Mendoza, RN; Ranulfo and Desiree Besana, RN; and Debbie Regen, RN.
(Photos courtesy of Sue Weaver, RN)
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Saint Clare's staff, from left, include Leslie Hirsch, president and CEO; Silvia Martinez, RN, DAISY Award winner; Patricia Gibbons, RN, Excellence in Clinical Care; Suellyn Ellerbe, RN, Excellence in Advancing and Leading the Profession; Jennifer Waters, RN, Excellence in Management; Lauren Krause, RN, Excellence in Mentoring; Pat Kruse, RN, Excellence in Management Unit-Based; Karen Phillips, RN, Excellence in Teaching; and Tracy Oster, RN, Excellence in Teaching Unit-Based.
At Saint Clare's Health System, the Nurses Week Committee on which many staff nurses play a role, planned celebrations at each campus for National Nurses Week.

"This Nurses Week we salute the nurses of Saint Clare's for fulfilling their promise to care and thank them for their tireless dedication and devotion to the art and science of nursing," said Suellyn Ellerbe, RN, MN, NEA-BC, Saint Clare's executive vice president, COO and CNO.

Events included the second annual Distinguished Nurse Lectureship, Nurse Excellence Awards, establishing a sanctuary room, Nurturing the Nurse program and Spend a Day with a Nurse.

The nurturing program focused on nurses' self-care, which included meeting wellness and holistic health professionals. At the Denville campus, nurses received chair and hand massages, listened to a harpist and drank cups of herbal tea.


Leslie Hirsch, president and CEO, spends a day with staff nurse Karen Laitinen, RN.
"It was great to do something for our nurses and to introduce them to places and people in our community that provide healthy and holistic services," said Lorraine Lewandowski, RN, coordinator of the Denville program.

At the Dover campus, Brent Forward, MD, medical director of complementary medicine held grand rounds on integrative medicine and self-care modalities. Among other things, the nurses received hand massages and information on skin care and healthy eating. Nurses who worked at Dover General Hospital in the 1950s and 1960s were honored with a luncheon and tour of the building.

Cultural Competence Day was a special event for Saint Clare's in which nurses from different countries proudly shared their food, native outfits, customs and dances. Beth Smith, RN coordinated this event at the Denville Campus and The Phillipine Nurses Association presented a traditional folk dance 'Pandanggo sa Ilaw', a dance of lights that simulates fireflies at night. Donna Esposito, RN, and Diane Hassa, RN, led the Cultural Competence event at the Dover Campus.


Sister Saundra McKeta blesses the hands of Maria Wright, RN.
The Second Annual Distinguished Nurse Lectureship featured Anne Wojner Alexandrov, RN, PhD, CCRN, FAAN, professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Nursing, with a joint appointment as a professor of neurology within the UAB Comprehensive Stroke Center. Alexandrov is a nationally known nursing scholar, who is widely published and a true nursing innovator. She inspired Saint Clare's nurses with her presentation on "Synergy at Saint Clare's: The Impact of Safe Passage."

Two annual Nurses Week events at Saint Clare's Health System are the Nurse Excellence Awards and the Blessing of Hands. Saint Clare's takes time during Nurses Week to present Nurse Excellence Awards for nurses in seven categories: Advancing and leading the profession, mentoring, teaching, management, community service, clinical care and team. Nursing scholarships, a Friends of Nursing Award and the health system's first DAISY Award also were presented. The Blessing of Hands is a way to remind nurses that their work is sacred and part of a healing ministry.

A sanctuary was opened at the Dover Campus during Nurses Week to offer nurses a place to retreat and take a break from the unit. The room offers a relaxing ambience, quiet time, music, guided imagery tapes, massage units for feet and back, aromatherapy, herbal tea and lemon or cucumber water. The Complementary Medicine Department and Barbara D'Alessio, RN, were instrumental in creating this sanctuary and in the first few days there were more than 65 visits to this room.

Spend a Day with a Nurse was a new event this year inspired by CNO Suellyn Ellerbe, RN, MN, NEA-BC. Administrators, pharmacists and human resource staff were invited to spend two hours with a bedside nurse to learn more about what nurses do on a daily basis to improve patient care.

"Saint Clare's nurses are caring, compassionate and dedicated to the healing mission and we are proud to honor them during Nurses Week," said Debbie Regen RN, MA, executive director of nursing at Saint Clare's.


Sue Weaver, RN, MSN, CRNI, NEA-BC, is shift administrator at Saint Clare's Health System in New Jersey. Send letters to editorNJ@nurse.com or post a comment below.