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Meet the 2013 DC/Baltimore/Virginia Nurse.com Nursing Excellence finalists

Saturday May 4, 2013
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Each year, Nurse.com calls upon our readers to nominate exceptional nurse colleagues for our Nursing Excellence 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 2013 Nursing Excellence program have proved true nursing excellence is alive and well.

ADVANCING AND LEADING THE PROFESSION

Deborah Dang, RN, PhD, NEA-BC, director of nursing practice, education and research, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore


Called an innovative leader and visionary, Dang oversees 3,000 nurses and is responsible for nursing practice, clinical standards, education, research and nurse recruitment programs. Among her many accomplishments, she conceptualized the partnership between CNOs and nurse researchers to strengthen nursing research. She has led major efforts at Hopkins including a multiyear implementation of a hospitalwide redesign of the Patient Care Delivery Model, creation of the ideal medication use system, and development and implementation of a salaried compensation model for nursing and a Bridges model for managing organizational transitions. Currently, she is developing a program for nurse leader succession planning. Dang recently completed a research project on statewide nursing research priorities for the Maryland Organization of Nurse Executives. Internationally, she visited Colombia to educate nursing leadership in shared governance and served as interim CNO in the United Arab Emirates for three months. Dangís colleagues consider her highly capable of leading change with a positive attitude.

Lisa Dugan, RN, PhD, NEA-BC, chief nursing officer, Inova Loudoun Hospital, Leesburg, Va.

Dugan is seen as a transformational leader with a clear vision — one who nurtures all nursesí creativity and independent thinking. Nurses who work for her say she helps them to refocus on their professional vision and purpose when the sheer volume of change in healthcare threatens to distract them. Duganís efforts have resulted in an above Magnet average in NDNQI nursing satisfaction job enjoyment scores for three years. An example of her leadership is the success of a systemwide fall prevention program that included online education modules tailored to each departmentís roles. The initiative resulted in a reduction of 60 falls with serious injuries. Dugan has been published in journals, most recently the Journal of Nursing Economics. A poster presentation last year based on the results of her PhD dissertation on sepsis earned a first place award. Duganís excellence and role modeling empower nurses and encourage their growth.

Paula R. Graling, RN, DNP, CNOR, CNS, clinical nurse specialist, perioperative services, Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, Falls Church, Va.

Graling plays a significant role in perioperative care, improving patient outcomes through collaborative efforts and her own clinical research. Her ability to improve practice is apparent from her efforts to enhance safety in the perioperative setting by applying safety principles and engaging in safety research. She has partnered with national safety experts to develop a plan to study safety culture at her facility and has served as president of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses. The Virginia medical community recognized her skill through the establishment of the Paula Graling Award that is given annually to a surgical nurse at her facility. Graling took leadership in building an education center on the hospital campus for nursesí and physiciansí robotics and simulation training and teleconferencing. Another notable outcome is her work as AORNís representative to the National Guidelines Clearinghouse, which, for the first time, accepted AORN recommended practices, specifically AORNís aseptic practices, for inclusion in its national guidelines.

Cathaleen Ley, RN, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, director of nursing quality and research, Anne Arundel Medical Center, Annapolis, Md.

Ley plays a crucial role in multiple initiatives, councils and committees and is involved in evidence-based practice, nursing research, organizational nursing quality and nursing strategic planning. Her input affects patient satisfaction and the facilityís application for Magnet status. Co-workers say Ley is supportive with every employee when it comes to research and evidence-based practice and that she is enthusiastic, innovative and contagious about these issues. Ley is involved in the organizationís bedside scientist grant program in which bedside nurses submit grant proposals. Ley guides nurses in the grant process, with winning nurses receiving $1,000 to fund their projects. Ley meets quarterly with each grant-funded nurse to monitor them in data collection and in achieving a successful outcome. Staff say that she makes research fun and lets nurses who work for her know she values their ideas. She is open to ideas to explore new quality improvement and evidence-based projects.

Cindy Mueller, RN, BSN, clinical educator, NICU, Anne Arundel Medical Center, Annapolis, Md.

Co-workers say they are amazed at Muellerís expertise to change the culture with patient care for better outcomes, promoting safety and quality. As a clinical educator in a 26-bed NICU with a nine-bed step-down unit, Mueller works with 80 staff members and coordinates the nursing student program in the unit. She involves herself in many teams and committees to improve care and is also lead educator from her facility working for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on implementation of a new screening tool for congenital heart disease. As a member of the Academy of Neonatal Nursing, Mueller is a neonatal nurse resuscitation instructor. She spoke at last yearís ANN conference on NICU design changes for individual rooms and staffing care models to promote developmental care for neonates. Colleagues value Muellerís encouragement to nurses to apply to the Clinical Ladder; and she seeks opportunities for these nurses to help them achieve their goals.

CLINICAL NURSING, INPATIENT

Kadijatu W. Brew, RN, BSN, CMSRN, registered nurse, Inova Alexandria (Va.) Hospital


Known for her contagious positive attitude, Brew routinely exemplifies nursing best practices, such as critical thinking, compassion and professionalism. Colleagues consider her a knowledgeable resource who mentors new staff. She has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and frequently is charge RN for the 46-bed med/surg oncology unit. She is devoted to improving the cohesiveness of the staff on the unit as well as patientsí overall satisfaction during their hospitalization. Brew involves herself in hospital committees, notably the clinical practice council, the unitís shared governance body, where she serves as the co-chair. Her efforts have improved morale on her unit. Brew also has taken the lead in improved patient assignment practices on her unit, increasing nurse job satisfaction and improving shift change communication. She is a well-informed nurse who has furthered her career, becoming a certified med/surg registered nurse. She has continued her education by completing the systemís oncology fellowship and chemotherapy administration course

Sandra P. Davis, RN-BC, nurse, medical unit, Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, Fairfax, Va.

As a staff nurse who is board certified in gerontology, Davis is considered a great team member with a can-do attitude. The medical/oncology unit where she works serves patients with a variety of health issues, and most have multiple comorbidities. Davis efficiently facilitates communication between departments for patientsí best outcomes. Colleagues recognize her as a skin-and-wound-care expert, noting her unwavering dedication to skin care and prevention of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers. She performs meticulous skin assessment on every admission and documents her findings. She conscientiously turns patients every two hours, earning the respect of colleagues for her role modeling. Davis also contributed to a medical unit oxygen pilot study, educating staff and following up on progress, which has increased the safe, successful weaning of patients using oxygen. Davis is known for her respect and caring, particularly of geriatric patients, helping them maintain their optimal level of independence while hospitalized.

Jessica Fluharty, RN, FNE-A, neuroscience specialist, Shore Health System, Easton, Md.

Fluhartyís compassion and dedication have brought about exceptional care for victims of sexual assault in her facility and in the community. She became interested in forensic nursing as a child and became committed to this area of nursing when a friend became a crime victim. Now a certified forensic nurse, Fluharty provides support and care for each sexual assault victim at her facilityís ED. Colleagues say she is quick to provide a hand to hold and a listening ear. Her efforts include collaborating with many outside agencies, such as the stateís attorneyís office, which sometimes results in her providing expert testimony. Fluharty also devised Operation Power Purse, a program for providing a set of clothes and bag of toiletries for sexual assault victims. She brought the concept to the hospital and then the community, enlisting support and setting up a nonprofit foundation to provide for patientsí needs. Colleagues affirm Fluhartyís compassion and vision.

Staci Lea Moser, RN, BSN, CEN, registered nurse, Meritus Medical Center, Hagerstown, Md.

Moser is a level 4 RN and resource nurse in the ED and is known for going the extra mile for patients, their families and her peers. Moser takes an active role in working with educators as a new grad preceptor and has received excellent feedback from those she precepts. She challenges new grads but never lets them feel they are alone. She also volunteers to orient nurses returning to the profession. Co-workers note her ability to boost morale and keep a positive atmosphere in her department. Staff consider her an informal leader, helping to integrate new processes or changes in the ED. Moser has taken on the role of resource (charge) nurse when needed; this is often seen as an overwhelming assignment in an ED that sees 80,000 patients annually. Moser works to improve patient safety, helping develop a new staffing matrix and completing evidence-based research for proper testing for nasogastric tube placement.

Kelly Ann Turner, RN, ADN, staff nurse, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore

Infections have been greatly reduced, and hand washing has dramatically increased since Turner became committed to these areas as a staff nurse in the medical ICU. She leads the team working toward the statewide central-line-associated bloodstream-infection initiative, taking accountability for all central-line infections. The medical ICU has gone more than 300 days without a bloodstream infection. Turner is considered a valuable resource for education, demonstrating proper central-line care to new medical residents. Turner also ensures that all staff nurses understand and participate in the unitís performance improvement initiatives. She took on the task of improving hand washing, which has resulted in the medical ICU moving from the lowest to the highest percentage of compliance in the organization. The hand hygiene of the facility was noted in a recent survey by The Joint Commission that validated the organizationís action toward hand hygiene. Turner is seen as a clinical expert in her unit and an excellent role model.

EDUCATION AND MENTORSHIP

Carol Chandler, RN, MSN, director of education, practice and research, Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, Rockville, Md.


Chandler believes education and knowledge are invaluable tools for quality improvement and best patient outcomes. Responsible for on-boarding, orientation and competency assessment for all nursing personnel, she impacts nursing through her leadership and expertise. She led the development of the nursing Clinical Ladder program and championed purchase of continuing education online programs. She provides professional development workshops serving hundreds of employees and ensures new staff have the knowledge and tools they need. As the liaison between the nursing staff, educators and the informatics department, she has been instrumental in the successful launch of the electronic medical record. Chandler has brought in nationally recognized speakers to provide programs for staff nurses and mentored several as she encourages them to further their education. Through practice changes and education, Chandler has had an impact on pressure ulcer care, supporting the bedside nurses in developing new skin care protocol to reduce pressure ulcers. Chandlerís vision and practice improve nursing care facilitywide.

Treza James, RN, MS, NNP-BC, clinical practice and education specialist, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore

As clinical practice and education specialist for an NICU, Jamesí teaching style encourages staff to apply evidence to their practice, formulate more research questions and share their successes through poster sessions and presentations. She uses data to target opportunities for improvement, such as evaluating patient outcome data for retinopathy of prematurity. James led a multidisciplinary team to review evidence and develop a nurse-driven algorithm for oxygen management in very-low-birth-weight babies, resulting in an overall decrease in the retinopathy rate from 55.3% to 38.9% and a decrease in severe retinopathy cases to zero. She also led a team to implement an improvement in the management of hypothermia in neonates. James is a neonatal resuscitation instructor and works in the community to provide infant education to mothers and grandmothers. She is a lifelong learner who seeks to expand her knowledge and expertise and leads by example.

Shawn Patrick McNamara, RN, EdD(c), MS, nursing program administrator and assistant dean, School of Health Professionals, Community College of Baltimore County

Responsible for a large undergraduate nursing program, McNamaraís leadership has brought about the implementation of an innovative concept-based curriculum. Throughout the implementation of the new curriculum, CCBC maintained its excellent NCLEX pass rates. The college where he serves is one of the first in the U.S. to use this curriculum, which focuses on nursing concepts as opposed to the traditional medical model. McNamara recognizes that many nursing students are nontraditional. The school he leads provides alternative schedules, such as evening/weekend programs and an online hybrid program. McNamara is also deeply involved in end-of-life care, identifying a need for a facility in the community for those without willing and able caregivers. He is leading an effort to open the first hospice residence in the county. In all his nursing endeavors, co-workers observe McNamaraís passion for educating healthcare providers to increase their ability to provide evidence-based quality care.

Joan Insalaco Warren, RN-BC, PhD, NEA-BC, director of nursing research, MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, Baltimore

Warren is on the faculty at the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore and the National Center for Human Factors Engineering In Healthcare at the MedStar Institute for Innovation in Washington, D.C. She mentors staff in designing, writing and submitting research proposals to the institutional review board and is actively engaged in grant writing for nurses. Warren oversees the nursing peer review committee and evidence-based practice and nursing research. She has located innovative programs at Western Governors University, an online program based in Salt Lake City, specifically designed for adult learners. As a hospital-based nurse scientist/administrator, she has successfully led two hospitals in establishing evidence-based practice and research programs for nurses, garnering more than $2.6 million in grant funding for advancing the professional nursing workforce. Her ability to motivate nurses to advance in their profession, whether through formal education, certification or use of evidence-based practice or research, is what sets her apart from others.

Michelle Zimmer, RN, MS, CCRN-CMC, senior clinical nurse 2, University of Maryland Medical Center

Zimmer is the senior clinical nurse on the 24-bed cardiac progressive care unit. She holds a variety of leadership responsibilities, serving both as a skilled bedside nurse and an exemplary mentor and role mode to staff. Zimmer organizes and plans orientation for all incoming nurses, finding each one their niche on the nursing care team. She mentors and develops each senior clinical nurse. One nurse said she is full of knowledge, a resource who is supportive of an individualís progress through education, project navigation and identifying oneís strengths to push themselves to reach new levels. Zimmer has used her experience to guide a team in completing an evidence-based project on delirium. She most recently helped complete the expansion project for intermediate care unit heart-failure patients, resulting in a successful transition for the staff, patients and associated departments, including the hiring, educating and orientation of 23 new nurses.

HOME, COMMUNITY AND AMBULATORY CARE

Karen A. Armacost, RN, BSN, MSA, FNGNA, director, Hopkins ElderPlus (retired), Baltimore


Armacost has demonstrated commitment, intense focus and energy on the goal of making the community a better place for the elderly. Her co-workers said she is a wealth of information and wisdom, and they see her as an irreplaceable geriatric nursing resource. Armacost led a staff of 70 who care for 150 medically frail elderly individuals who reside in the community. The programís mission is to assist frail older adults to remain in their own homes and community, avoiding unnecessary hospitalization and premature nursing home placement. These residents have their needs met by the interdisciplinary team Armacost supervised. She also contributes to the education of nurses working in the community, advising and mentoring young healthcare leaders. She presents on topics such as keeping the frail elderly in their homes and how to access mental health resources for elderly Medicaid recipients. The program reported many positive outcomes under Armacostís capable leadership.

Megan M. Clay, RN, BSN, clinical coordinator, Sentara North Virginia Medical Center, Woodbridge, Va.

As the clinical coordinator of the Sentara OB Clinic program, Clay makes every effort to ensure that high risk and uninsured women in the community have free prenatal care services. She assumes the nurse navigator role, helping women get the care they need and find maternity homes that best suit their situations. The program includes a mobile clinic that Clay oversees and where she fills in when needed, even driving the van. Clay developed the community outreach program, as she recognized that many women do not receive prenatal care because they lack insurance. She presents the program at no less than 10 community events or organizations a year, often on her own time, and partners with other agencies to provide prenatal care. The percentage of walk-in pregnant women to the medical center has decreased by 30%, much due to Clayís involvement. Her greatest contribution, co-workers say, is her compassion.

Judith Elinor Pratt, RN, school nurse, Harford County Public Schools, Bel Air, Md.

Pratt is senior nurse at John Archer School, providing medical and emotional care to students, families and staff. The school serves more than 135 severely disabled, medically fragile students ages 3 to 21. Pratt manages the health suite budget and medical records and is a liaison between families, healthcare providers, community resources and the school, dedicating herself tirelessly to provide quality medical care while offering a refuge in the health suite for needy students. Pratt supports families as they understand the challenges of a special-needs child and employs her vast network of community resources to ensure students have medical equipment, clothing and financial help. She works to provide holiday meals to families who canít provide their own and for 35 years has organized two annual fundraisers that help pay for programs and resources for her students. Pratt never tires of making studentsí lives as productive and full as possible.

Shannon Seek, RN, OCN, staff nurse, Shore Health System — Shore Regional Cancer Center, Easton, Md.

Working in the outpatient chemotherapy department of a community hospital, Seek provides direct patient care and has taken the lead in telephone triage. She excels in management of chemo side effects, and patients find comfort in her confident, efficient manner. Seek took upon herself the responsibility to complete a chemotherapy biotherapy trainerís course so that she can train others at her facility and remedy the need for trained nurses. Co-workers say Seek exemplifies excellence in her nursing practice, patient advocacy and approach to interdisciplinary teamwork. She has helped raise funds for the local oncology nursing societyís Patient In Need fund and worked on a project to ensure patient safety and improved unit workflow, resulting in development of a dashboard that has enhanced productivity. She mentors nursing students with outstanding positive results. She also developed a clinical practicum and mentored med/surg nurses who now can provide chemo treatment for inpatients.

Mary Alice Vanhoy, RN, MSN, CEN, CPEN, NRP, nurse manager, Queen Anneís Emergency Center, Queenstown, Md.

Vanhoy has played an integral role in designing the emergency center from blueprint to personnel training and management, providing a freestanding rural emergency facility for the community. She trains and educates nurses as well as other patient care staff, all of whom are cross-trained to provide a wider spectrum of patient care. Vanhoy assures that state-of-the-art technology is available and that staff are trained in its use. The increased efficiency of the emergency center is seen in its time-to-discharge, which is lower than the national average, and in its higher-than-average patient satisfaction scores. She is president-elect of the local emergency nurses association chapter and teaches emergency classes regularly. Vanhoy is seen as a phenomenal clinical resource, and staff say her enthusiasm for advancing the profession has been their inspiration to climb the clinical ladder.

PATIENT AND STAFF MANAGEMENT

Angela B. Greenfield, RN, BSN, nurse manager IMCU, St. Agnes Hospital, Baltimore


Greenfield is recognized for her high level of leadership, creating a healthy work environment and reducing barriers to patient care. She is credited with renovating her unit, which suffered from employee dissatisfaction, unfavorable quality outcomes and a lack of teamwork. Her hard work and perseverance have resulted in a reorganized department with above-target patient satisfaction scores and strong preceptoring of new staff. Greenfield has successfully coordinated resources and care in the IMCU, an adult step-down unit, initiating evidence-based practice. She has helped the organization to reduce throughput and length of stay, and she helped reduce patient delays. Greenfield also initiated a performance improvement initiative and revised admission criteria to reduce inappropriate admissions. Her evidence-based noise reduction effort included patient gift bags with earplugs and eye covers, which raised patient satisfaction scores within a month. This practice was adopted by the critical-care division with the goal of it becoming hospitalwide.

Susan H. Kraeuter, RN, BSN, MS, patient care manager, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore

As an advocate for safe and excellent patient care, Kraeuter has successfully made her staff accountable, resulting in sound patient care. Her employee engagement techniques have influenced formerly disinterested staff to become professionally active, presenting at local and national conferences. Kraeuterís development of a staff-led, comprehensive unit-safety program resulted in reducing central-line-associated bloodstream infections. As co-chair of the critical care septicemia team, Kraeuter created a sepsis oversight committee that developed, educated and implemented a screening tool to aid in early identification of septic patients. These tools are credited with a direct reduction in deaths due to severe sepsis. Kraeuter also initiated monthly leadership rounds that include not only leaders but also any interested staff members, including novice nurses whose ideas she values. Kraeuterís commitment to patient care and staff involvement has brought about several poster presentations at statewide conferences as well as speaking opportunities at national events.

Kathy E. McNamara, RN-BC, MSN, NE-BC, director of nursing administration and clinical practice, Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, Alexandria, Va.

This director of nursing administration and clinical practice is accountable for the nursing float pool, nursing supervisors, professional practice department, IV therapy department and the wound care department. Staff say McNamara exhibits exceptional leadership in these areas as well as personal professional growth, integrating research with daily clinical practice. She raised standards among her nursing supervisors by requiring them to be masterís prepared and to possess appropriate clinical knowledge in their positions. Under her leadership, the wound care department has successfully implemented a process that provides better cleaning of deep tissue infections. She is recognized in her organization for the accomplishment of the IV therapy departmentís 99 infection-free insertion sites, even with continually shrinking reimbursements. Her facility is beginning the process for Magnet recognition, and McNamara advocated for 15 of the best nurses to attend a Magnet workshop to push for this recognition.

Leighann Sidone, RN, MSN, OCN, CENP, director of professional practice and nursing quality, Suburban Hospital, Bethesda, Md.

Through her vision and dedication, Sidone has inspired 80 nurses to participate in nursing councils that influence patient care, staff performance, research and interdisciplinary coordination. Staff note that her efforts are felt in every hospital department. She works tirelessly to develop the profession of nursing at her facility, insisting on attending monthly meetings at 1 a.m. to keep in contact with night staff. Her enthusiasm brings about change in nurses and their departments. For example, the quality council has reduced the fall rate with a unique initiative and fall team. It also is performing inpatient skin assessments, monitoring hand washing and working on catheter-associated urinary tract infections. The evidence-based practice committee has completed several nursing-based research projects accepted for presentation at national conferences. Sidoneís leadership has produced a nearly 100% success with pneumonia and influence vaccination. This nurse leader is considered compassionate, an accomplished mentor and an energetic role model to staff and patients.

JoAnne Thomson, RN-BC, MN, director of nursing informatics and practice innovation, Shore Health System, Easton, Md.

Thomson integrates nursing with computer and information science to support professional nursing care. She is responsible for driving the transformation of care at the bedside using information technology. She works collaboratively with other nursing directors to identify information technology initiatives to support the health system and nursing strategic plans. Among her accomplishments are the creation of the documentation committee in which she has worked with frontline nurses and other disciplines to improve patient care and electronic documentation through evidence-based care. Her evaluations of core measures produced recommendations to improve compliance, such as with documenting pneumonia and flu vaccines. Through Thomsonís efforts, the health system has implemented a medication reconciliation process that improved the accuracy of medications reconciled and reduced clinician time in reconciling meds, which improved core measure composite scores. Thomson is valued by co-workers for her excellent communication and leadership as well as her expertise.

VOLUNTEERISM AND SERVICE

Karen Doyle, RN, MBA, MS, NEA-BC, vice president of nursing and operations, R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, Baltimore


Doyleís work has influenced nurses and patients not only in Maryland, but also globally. In her executive team position, she designs clinical services and assures compliance with professional nursing and allied health professional standards. She is considered open, honest and supportive by those with whom she works, promoting creativity and inspiration. Other staff see her as an energetic and optimistic nurse leader who role models ethical behavior and instills pride. She has overseen the implementation of flexible family visiting and reorganized the centerís governance structure to give greater decision-making authority to staff. For example, she developed and implemented a nurse-driven protocol to remove bladder catheters and changed the equipment process, reducing catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Doyle also has facilitated growth of the center to become a global leader in trauma care by supporting international initiatives for staff to be involved in providing expertise in China, Haiti, Brazil and India.

Alan E. Skiles, RN, BA, cardiac rehab education nurse, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore

Well known as an expert in providing education to cardiology and pulmonary patients, Skiles regularly advocates for safe patient care and demonstrates teamwork among co-workers. He is highly respected on his unit for his commitment to quality and providing clinical nursing care and education to patients. Skiles also mentors others to teach patients. He is credited with introducing the evidence-based teach-back methodology for education, which is now part of all computerized education documentation. Skiles demonstrates his commitment to quality and safety in his organization by volunteering to serve on committees and projects that improve patient outcomes, including the falls and restraints committee and the nursing informatics council. As a member of the wound care committee, he educated nurses on current practices, monitored patients for skin breakdown and implemented initiatives to reduce pressure ulcers. Patients and staff recognize Skiles for his teamwork and successful patient education strategies.

Debra Stanger, RN, MSN, NE-BC, professional practice manager, Inova Loudoun Hospital, Leesburg, Va.

Stanger continually advances the nursing profession through touching lives and encouraging professional growth among nurses at her facility. She helps nurses define their goals, see their strengths and weaknesses and identify their professional paths. Stanger makes sure nurses have the resources and opportunities to be successful in their profession. As part of the organizationís Magnet redesignation team, she created a professional practice day, with educational presentations and speakers, to celebrate nurses. To enhance communication, she became involved in creating a nursing page on the health systemís website where nurses can find committee opportunities and professional practice initiatives. As a community volunteer, Stanger works on local coat and food drives and a back-to-school backpack initiative. She co-organized the Womenís Living Fit conference in 2012. She has volunteered as a first aid provider at Girl Scout camps and is a troop leader. Stager empowers nurses to be masters of their own destiny.

Julie Warner, RN, MSN, NE-BE, patient care director, Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, Alexandria, Va.

Warner directs activities on four nursing units, including total joint replacement and inpatient rehabilitation and has been working with a systemwide best-practices team in joint replacement. The teamís results were published in Orthopedics Today. Co-workers observe that she comes in on weekends to help when one of her units is short staffed, even if to serve as the unit secretary. She prepares a Thanksgiving dinner every year for staff who work on the holiday, and she instituted ice cream Fridays as a thank-you to staff who work Fridays. Warner also devotes hours each week to the volunteer organization, Operation Walk-Virginia, which provides 60 joint replacements to underprivileged populations in Virginia and worldwide. She coordinates the overseas trips, from planning to execution to debriefing, and helps the medical team organize fundraising efforts. Through her volunteer work, 10 local uninsured individuals also receive total joint replacements at her facility every year.

Margaret Rose Widner-Kolberg, RN, BSN, MA, CPA, clinical faculty, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore

As a hard-of-hearing individual, Widner-Kolberg is an advocate for others with this disability. As a nursing clinical instructor, she mentors hard-of-hearing students and teaches all students about hearing loss and caring for their own hearing. She volunteers as an in-service provider at hospitals, schools, nursing grand rounds and conferences on helping the hard-of-hearing student, types of hearing loss and communication strategies. Widner-Kolberg also mentors people through the process of having a cochlear implant and donates time at a school for children with hearing loss. As president of the Hearing Loss Association of Greater Baltimore, she participates in the National Walk4Hearing. Widner-Kolberg recently was asked by an assistant dean at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to teach a course on disabilities to medical students to help them understand the problems of patients who are hard of hearing. She is an example to many nurses.

Karen Schmidt, RN, is a freelance writer.


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