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Nurse.com celebrates New England Nursing Excellence finalists

Monday May 6, 2013
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Each year, Nurse.com calls upon you, our readers, to tell us about
the exceptional nurses you work with by nominating them in our
Nurse.com Nursing Excellence program — and for more than 20 years now thousands of you have done that.

This year was no exception, and we once again received many phenomenal stories of nurse excellence that our RN judges narrowed down to the 30 finalists from the New England region that we proudly introduce to you now.

Winners in each category will be announced May 13 at a gala event at the Boston Marriott Newton in Newton, Mass.

To view a photo gallery of this year's finalists, visit www.Nurse.com/Galleries.

Advancing and Leading the Profession

Stephanie Ahmed, RN, DNP, FN-BCP
Director for Ambulatory Nursing
Brigham and Womens Hospital
Boston

Ahmed has made substantive and measurable differences to patients and their families, staff and colleagues. In her leadership role, she has advanced clinical practice standards and nursing expertise, which has been embraced by nurses, physicians and ambulatory leadership.
Ahmed welcomes new educational initiatives, committee leadership and organizational work to advance the professional role of nurses in the ambulatory setting, according to her nominator. She has enhanced the image of nursing practice in more than 100 ambulatory practice settings, developing interdisciplinary teams and focusing on nurses practicing to the full extent of their education.
Described as inspirational and innovative, she has made significant contributions in policy-related activities, professional and policy organizations and in improving patient and population health outcomes in the ambulatory and specialty clinics.
Ahmed serves as the co-chairperson of the Massachusetts Action Coalition Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Scope of Practice Committee, and is leading a team of 19 nurses in defining the ideal scope of practice for APRNs in the state.

Carol Conley, RN, MS
Senior Vice President and CNO
Southcoast Hospitals Group
New Bedford, Mass.

Highly respected by staff, colleagues and executive leaders, Conley is a visible and accessible leader who welcomes new ideas from staff about patient care and work environment issues. Admired for her stellar reputation, she has made dramatic changes to improve quality patient care, employee engagement and nursing practice. Promoting strong collaboration among leadership and frontline staff, Conley has created a shared vision for patient care services and helped to standardize policies and processes.
She has established two innovations units that serve as testing grounds for new ideas and changes that positively impact patient care and workplace satisfaction. She also has partnered with a consulting firm that specializes in workflow analysis to enhance bedside care through efficiency and process improvements. Conley’s vision led to the creation of a dedicated transition unit and an organizational process change in hiring and orienting new nurses, and she has been instrumental in executing a successful strategic plan to expand pediatric services.

Marie B. McCarthy, RN, MS
Vice President for Education
Lawrence Memorial/ Regis College Nursing Program and Hallmark Health System
Medford, Mass.

A consummate professional and visionary leader, McCarthy is the administrator and faculty member for the nursing program and has served as the interim CNO for the Hallmark Health System on three separate occasions. Under her leadership, the program received the prestigious National League for Nursing’s Center of Excellence designation twice, an honor bestowed on less than 10% of schools across the country.
Admired for her collaborative and determined spirit, McCarthy is spearheading a move of the associate degree program toward BSN accreditation. Working with the Hallmark system, she helped create dedicated education units, tuition reimbursement and academic bridge programs, a mentoring program for new managers and a center for professional development.
Selected as an international consultant, she led in the establishment of the Gouna Nursing Institute, the first degree and licensure program in Egypt.
As a member of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing, McCarthy has contributed to major nursing initiatives, providing key insights on accreditation issues for the state’s Department of Higher Education and the NLN Accrediting Commission.

Anne Sheetz, RN, MPH, NEA-BC
Director of School Health Services
Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Boston

Supervising school health service programs for more than 500 public school districts and 600 non-public schools, Sheetz establishes standards for these services in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Health programs and other state agencies. She oversees continuing education of staff; works with the state to make sure licensure requirements are met; oversees public funding; and ensures compliance with state laws and regulations.
She leads by example and has impacted the improvement of health screenings, immunization programs, chronic disease management and life-threatening allergies in schools across the state and country, her nominator said.
Sheetz published the Massachusetts Comprehensive School Health Manual, which is used as a standard for school health programs nationally, and established the School Health Institute to provide ongoing professional development.
She collaborates closely with others to implement programs that improve the lives of children, such as prevention and management of anaphylaxis, care of children with diabetes and recognition of victims of human trafficking.

Lisa Wichmann, RN, BSN, MS. ACM
Nurse Director, Ambulatory Care Coordination
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston

Described as a visionary leader, Wichmann is someone who leads with purpose to improve the lives of patients and families.
She has overseen two landmark Medicare demonstration projects that focus on high-risk care management and readmission risk assessment. Within two years, the projects have demonstrated the impact of nursing practice in reducing healthcare costs and improving patient outcomes. She has expanded the program from five to 14 RN care coordinators in primary care sites, and is collaborating with physician specialists and nurse experts to develop these services in mental health, heart failure and palliative care.
Because of the excellent nurse-sensitive outcomes from the high-risk project, the hospital initiated an accountable care organization agreement, and Wichmann led her team in managing 3,000 high-risk patients and setting up new models of interdisciplinary care.
With commitment and compassion, Wichmann has advanced care coordination to great heights at BWH, and the true beneficiary of her transformational skills have been patients and families.

Clinical Nursing, Inpatient

Roger C. Blanza, RN, BSN, CCRN
Staff Nurse
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston

Blanza demonstrates sophisticated skill, advanced knowledge and exquisite attention to the patients he cares for in the cardiac surgery ICU. Known for his calming presence and natural aptitude for the nuances of critical care nursing, Blanza develops a trusted and caring relationship with each and every patient that often is reflected in Press Ganey surveys.
Bringing a broad range of critical care clinical experience to the position, Blanza is compassionte and kind to his patients, uses a holistic approach in care and provides a clinically sound and safe environment during their recovery, according to his nominator.
He has precepted, mentored and oriented many RNs, assuring that they have the clinical knowledge and resources needed to excel on the unit. As a ventricular-assist device superuser, Blanza possesses in-depth knowledge of the patient population and the device, and is involved in a number of unit-based quality and educational initiatives, including ventilator-associated pneumonia and pressure ulcer prevention and prevalence.

Kimberly Chapman, RN, MS, CNL, PCCN
Discharge Advocate, Project RED
Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
Dover, N.H.

Chapman is recognized as a brilliant clinician, a talented leader and a gifted patient advocate.
As the discharge advocate for Project RED, an initiative to reduce readmission of patients with chronic congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Chapman designed a successful implementation strategy.
Despite the extensive data collection and reporting requirements, Chapman has managed its demands while still keeping the patient as the central focus, said her nominator.
Chapman develops discharge plans that are patient-friendly, individualized and relevant to post-hospital care transition. She works closely with care managers to develop the best approach to patient care, scheduling appointments, sharing pertinent patient information and identifying gaps in care.
Recognized as a committed regional project colleague, she recently presented her success strategies at the Health Research and Educational Trust national conference. She also assisted in the selection, implementation and staff education of a new patient education system, which patients can use to access disease management information.

Julie Cronin, RN, MSN, OCN
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston

Cronin’s responsibilities include staff development, needs assessment and development of quality improvement initiatives. An invaluable resource for clinical issues including chemotherapy, wound management and end-of-life care, she serves as the liaison for new policies and procedures on the unit and throughout the hospital.
Cronin created a graduate nurse mentoring program. In collaboration with others, she has organized monthly ethics rounds and applied for a Schwartz Center Grant to bring therapeutic services to the gynecology and oncology services department.
Cronin has helped make measurable contributions to the unit, and has spearheaded countless initiatives that benefit patients and bring recognition to her staff and unit, said her nominator. Through a two-year grant supported by the facility, her unit participated in the Care Innovations and Transformation program. The knowledge and positive outcomes are being shared throughout the hospital and nationally. In less than a year, Cronin has helped staff implement more than 20 innovations that have enhanced patient safety and care delivery.

Eleanor DiCenso, RN
ICU Staff Nurse
Winchester (Mass.) Hospital

As a seasoned critical care nurse, DiCenso delivers patient care compassionately and effectively, and is recognized as one who serves as a fierce patient advocate. Admired for her strong leadership, she maintains excellent communication with her colleagues and serves as a mentor and clinical resource to novice nurses and the interdisciplinary team.
As a charge nurse, she possesses expert assessment capabilities and is highly regarded for her clinical knowledge, skills and collaborative efforts with patients and their families, nurses and the interdisciplinary team. DiCenso uses her expertise to quickly assess patients during rapid response team calls, and works with others to deliver safe and effective care to unstable patients.
She is respected for her ability to boost staff morale and offer education, support and guidance wherever it is needed. Active in professional organizations, DiCenso advances herself professionally through participation in leadership and rapid respond team conferences, and recently presented in Schwartz rounds on family presence in the ICU and a difficult patient case study.

Jeanne Marie Richard, RN
Perioperative Staff Nurse
Boston Children’s Hospital

Instrumental in the coordination and implementation of the first MR-OR hybrid OR installation in the country, Richard has co-written policies and presented at conferences on the development and implementation of the hybrid OR. Admired for her professional and exemplary clinical practice and knowledge, she coordinated an orientation program for staff nurses, surgeons, clinical assistants and environmental services on the new OR.
Accountable for the neurosurgery service, including the MRI OR suite, she possesses an unwavering commitment and strong work ethic, putting the patients’ needs at the center of her care. With a giving spirit and superior clinical knowledge, she also oversees the trials, implementation and troubleshooting of neurosurgical equipment, and communicates with surgeons to consider the best options for patient care.
A collaborator in care, she works closely with radiology, hospital management, surgeons and nursing colleagues and is respected for her patient advocacy, excellent communication, and dedication to improving care and outcomes in the OR.

Education and Mentorship

Gail Alexander, RN, MSN, CCRN
Professional Development Specialist
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston

Involved in the center for clinical professional development, Alexander coordinates the new graduate critical care residency program and facilitates orientation, training, continuing education and inservice education programs. In the simulation program, she designs, implements and evaluates high-fidelity, manikin-based programs for nurses and interprofessional teams.
She is described as an expert in delivering content, coaching and mentoring the learner, encouraging self-directed learning and supporting application in the clinical setting, all of which is accomplished in a fast-paced changing environment.
Alexander also served as a project manager for the design, implementation and evaluation of an orientation program for 80 nurses hired to open a new ICU, and created a two-week immersion experience to build team spirit and facilitate RN transition into the new practice area.
Alexander is a mentor in the Massachusetts Association of Registered Nurses’ yearlong mentor program, where she has coached and advised her mentee through various issues, including patient safety, work-life balance and career progression.

Ellie Bergeron, RN, MSN
Nursing Educator/Director
Center of Excellence
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston

Bergeron leads the nursing team in the education of all newly licensed, novice and experienced RNs and facility educators in simulation and patient education. She is respected for her ability to help nurses successfully adapt to the acute care setting, complete simulation activities and adjust in role socialization.
Bergeron possesses laser focus, according to her nominator, on the education of seasoned staff, as well as superb interpersonal skills and excellent critical-thinking skills. She is universally admired for ensuring that education, clinical skills and patient outcomes are meaningful and applicable to the practice of new nurses.
Said to have made unique, enduring and measurable contributions to staff education and mentorship, she leads the nurse educator group, which is responsible for the clinical education of all staff and from which all new initiatives that affect nursing practice are rolled out.
Bergeron serves as a mentor on evidence-based practice projects; presents at regional and national forums; serves on formal research committees; and is responsible for highlighting staff’s contributions to evidence-based practice and research.

LaDonna Christian, RN, BSN, MSN, APHN-BC, CAGS
Associate Professor of Practice, Director of the Dotson Bridge and Mentoring Program
Simmons College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Boston

Christian oversees one of the first mentorship programs that assist diverse nursing scholars toward academic excellence and successful passing of the NCLEX-RN licensing exam.
She pairs students with experienced and well-educated mentors, who bring the students to a higher level of sustained performance, confidence and greater potential. She facilitates monthly meetings with the mentors to discuss the students’ clinical progress and performance challenges, and they describe her as a supportive and influential leader.
Admired for her generosity and kindness, Christian welcomes students to join her in educating patients on preventive healthcare and screenings at community health fairs.
Christian also established a relationship with the Hausman Fellowship program from Massachusetts General Hospital in which students of diverse backgrounds are assigned with nursing staff from various specialties for six to eight weeks. She has created workshops on test-taking strategies, medication calculation and a pre-immersion program. All nursing students are encouraged to use these services, which has resulted in camaraderie and unity in the school.

Janice Costello, RN, MSN
Chairperson
Goodwin College Nursing Program
East Hartford, Conn.

Costello has raised the academic caliber of the program by expecting a full commitment from students. At the same time, she demonstrates care and compassion for every student, faculty member and staff person.
Recognized as the “go-to” person when something needs to be accomplished, Costello often serves as a mentor to new program chairpersons and faculty.
Said to instill a high standard of accountability and professionalism, Costello motivates students to excel, overcome odds and persevere under any circumstance. She has developed many clinical sites and uses her knowledge and experience to improve patient outcomes through education. Incorporating the NLN Advancing Care Excellence for Seniors project in the curriculum, Costello successfully developed it to be the largest in the state, according to her nominator.
Costello is always searching for ways to strengthen the program, and collects data from recent graduates to learn from their ideas and concerns.

Heidi Fantasia, RN, PhD, WHNP
Assistant Professor
University of Massachusetts Lowell School of Nursing

An exceptional teacher, Fantasia recognizes the strengths of her students, encouraging their growth and maturation and helping them make the most of their educational opportunities. She has the unique ability to assess difficulties while encouraging students to overcome barriers to success in academics, according to her nominator. An outstanding clinician, Fantasia works with and motivates patients to change and assists them to better manage their health.
Inspiring others to excel, she is admired by students and patients for her caring, can-do attitude, sense of humor and charisma. Students who have been precepted by Fantasia in clinical practice or have had her as a classroom educator never forget how she influenced their lives and challenged them to do their best, according to her nominator.
Fantasia mentors students and colleagues in writing for publication and serves on advisory boards. Committed to the profession, she also serves as a manuscript reviewer for several journals, as a self-assessment module reviewer for her professional certification body and as an expert nurse consultant.

Home, Community and Ambulatory Care

Patricia Grady, RN, BSN, CRNS, FABC
Associate CNO and Executive Director of Ambulatory Practice and Clinical Services
Lahey Medical Center, Peabody, Mass.

Grady has empowered and challenged the team to develop strategies and interventions that have made dramatic improvement in patient and staff satisfaction.
She has made transformational changes that support team building, improve patient care and result in a culture of excellence. Most notably, she brought the ambulatory clinics together, established nursing councils, unit-based councils and learning conferences. As a result, practice and processes are more standardized; there is stronger communication among the teams in different locations; and staff nurses are more involved in decision-making that impacts their work and patient care.
Grady is said to have incorporated evidence-based practice into nursing services in new and profound ways. For example, managers began internal audits to ensure compliance with quality and safety, and these audits resulted in identifying nursing practice changes.
Grady has been instrumental in developing the comprehensive breast health center and the patient-centered medical home, both of which have made substantial improvements in patient outcomes and have created strong alliances with the community.

Jennifer McCrave, RN, BSN, CNRN
Clinical Coordinator and Charge Nurse
Boston Children’s Hospital

Along with her clinical coordinator and charge nurse roles in the ambulatory pediatric neurology clinic, McCrave is the research nurse for the tubular sclerosis clinic and manages patients in the neonatal clinic. Said to be patient and kind and possess superb clinical skills, McCrave serves as the role model for nursing excellence and leadership in the department and the facility.
McCrave is committed to the advancement of all staff and challenges everyone to achieve. She encourages nurses to pursue evidence-based practice fellowships and disseminate the project results, which have resulted in unit- and hospital-wide practice changes. McCrave has examined the clinical and economic impact of triage nurses in ambulatory specialty areas, in relation to the number of ED visits avoided and medication errors prevented.
She is the quality improvement nurse for the unit, stays current and informed on the latest research for the special populations the clinics serve, and works closely with the interdisciplinary team to ensure quality patient care.

Mary Beth Singer, RN, MS, ANP-BC, AOCN, ACHPN
Oncology Nurse Practitioner and Patient Program Manager
Tufts Medical Center
Boston

A recognized national leader in the field on oncology, Singer created a cancer education program for the Asian community in collaboration with interpreter services. In the program, Cantonese-speaking cancer patients participate in a weekly drop-in session where Singer and her colleagues provide culturally-sensitive support, education and compassionate care.
Singer implemented the Five Wishes advanced directive document for the cancer center and uses it regularly with her patients. Respected as a clinical expert, she makes home visits to dying patients, is the first to volunteer to assist her colleagues and the first to help resolve patients’ problems.
Admired for setting the highest professional standards with a modest and quiet leadership style, she has developed programs in complementary therapy, NP mentorships and lymphedema research. Singer is the consummate educator and mentor, whose kindness and compassion for her patients and families is unsurpassed.
Serving on statewide and local oncology committees, she has been invited to participate in podium presentations at the Oncology Nursing Society’s annual symposiums.

Christine Wyrsch, RN-C, BSN, MEd
Clinical Nurse
Center for Pain Management
Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
Dover, N.H.

Described as the ultimate professional and a role model for colleagues, Wyrsch is a clinical expert in the management of pain.
With a passion for best practice and a can-do attitude, she designed and implemented the pain resource nurse program, which identifies RNs from the acute care units who are passionate about best practices in pain management. After special training, they serve as clinical experts, focus on improving patient satisfaction outcomes related to pain management and develop other initiatives that emphasize quality outcomes. Respected as someone who demonstrates extraordinary care, Wyrsch developed and implemented a pain support group for patients with chronic regional pain syndrome.
Collaborating with staff preceptors to update content, Wyrsch designed the unit’s orientation program, which meets the educational objectives for working in the specialty. Since the redesign, 10 RNs have successfully completed the program with a retention rate of 90%. She designed the “Lock Your Meds” campaign that has been expanded to other patient care units and departments.

Linda Zabbo, RN, BSN
Cardiac Care Remote Monitoring Coordinator
VNA of Care New England
Warwick, R.I.

Zabbo played a key role in identifying best practices during the creation of a collaborative model aimed to improve safe care transitions from hospital to home for patients with congestive heart failure. Under Zabbo’s leadership, the project team was charged with oversight and development of protocols and processes in six key elements.
With the cardiac care program in place, the full pilot went live for one year, and 30-day rehospitalization rates decreased from 29.8% in 2011 to 17.9% in 2012, representing a 40% decrease and an estimated $10,000 per patient savings for avoidable hospitalization costs. She is admired for her ability to seek out every alternative, listen to colleagues and apply her expert skill set in developing services that make a tremendous impact.
As a result of her work, the cardiac care program is receiving support through the Project Change Leaders initiative to develop patient self-management skills and competencies, and she has been recognized by the parent health system with the highest quality and customer satisfaction award.

Patient and Staff Management

Edward Burch, RN, MS
Professional Development Manager
Tufts Medical Center
Boston

Central to Burch’s nursing roles is his focus and passion to educate and teach the practice, art and science of nursing. He is admired for his ability to incorporate knowledge, compassion, rigor and an inquisitive and critical mind into seeking innovative improvements in care delivery.
His expertise in hospital-acquired and alcohol-related delirium, along with fall and injury prevention, reflect his passion and drive to achieve results. Burch spearheaded new delirium and bedside handoff models that are part of a quality initiative, both on the unit and housewide. He developed an orientation program for nurses focused on the postop care of the cardiac patient and for those in transition from critical to intermediate care, and created a multidisciplinary heart transplant manual.
Described by his nominator as a transformational and fully accountable leader, he is a passionate in the areas of evidence-based practice and nursing research. He is admired for his ability to lead by example and to take complex cases or concepts and individualize the teachable moment.

Jean D. Brown, RN, MS, NE-BC
Director of Emergency Services
Winchester (Mass.) Hospital

Accountable for the quality and safety of both the ED and the walk-in/urgent care center, Brown is described as one who leads with vision and exceptional clinical knowledge. She initiated and executed a comprehensive plan to improve ED workflow, enhance the quality of care and improve patient satisfaction scores.
Using the Lean Six Sigma methodology, Brown created team energy and enthusiasm, engaged staff and interdisciplinary members, and recruited and coordinated the teams. As a result of her leadership, patient satisfaction dramatically improved to the 99th percentile, and wait times for patients to see a physician or receive an inpatient bed decreased significantly. The evaluation process and care of patents with behavioral problems also improved, and more than a year later, the operational changes are firmly in place with sustained positive outcomes, according to her nominator.
Brown is admired for her ability to create a future vision, enlighten the organization and communicate the departments’ and individuals’ important contributions in achieving the changes.

Jennifer Ghidini, RN, APRN, MSN
Patient Service Manager
Yale New Haven (Conn.) Hospital

Ghidini approaches all responsibilities with intelligence, enthusiasm and open-mindedness, her nominator said. Assuming a leadership role during the move to Smilow Cancer Hospital, she took on the challenges with confidence and a spirit of collaboration, expanding the unit to 41 beds and adding 15 step-down beds.
Ghidini ensures and expects a culture of excellence and has made significant change using results from the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators. She has led multiple unit and committee teams, such as healthy skin, throughput, healthy work environment, end-of-life, peer review and patient- and family-centered care, to name a few.
She helped write a grant to fund a unit-based project for families of patients who have died, and involved the unit team members in the process.
Ghidini supports the nursing professional advancement process. As a result, the medical intensive care unit staff had the largest group to date that advanced in all clinical ladder levels. She encourages and assists staff in writing abstracts for poster presentations and award nominations.

Lucille P. Marvin, RN, BS, CDE
Program Manager of HealthReach Diabetes
Exeter (N.H.) Hospital

A caring and compassionate manager, Marvin is recognized as a leader in changing how the facility delivered diabetes care. In collaboration with the leadership team, she expanded the role of inpatient diabetes educators; transitioned and standardized the role to support the bedside nursing team; and supported CDEs in identifying patient learning needs and systemwide teaching tools. With her care team, she developed, organized and delivered a diabetes education curriculum for system colleagues.
Marvin serves as a resource to RNs, dieticians, medical providers, acute and ambulatory work groups and pharmacists, and she is recognized for her ability to face new challenges with an analytical mind, collaborative spirit and exceptional and insightful communication skills. She actively engages team members in new learning opportunities for professional growth.
She improved the diabetes outpatient team workflow while aligning policy with practice and applied standardized hand-off care based upon risk level. Using evidence-based resources, Marvin transitioned the organization from sliding scale insulin administration to the basal-nutritional-correctional approach.

Karen M. Reilly, RN, MBA
Nurse Director, Cardiology
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston

Reilly is the true essence of an outstanding nursing leader who inspires a commitment to excellence, her nominator said.
With a participatory leadership style, she encourages nurses to serve on hospitalwide and nursing department committees. As a result, the unit often is asked to participate in new initiatives. Currently, her unit is serving as an innovation unit to pilot a discharge bundle that has demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in readmissions.
Reilly possesses strong negotiation skills, and her influence has impacted nursing practice throughout the hospital. She led the emergency response committee to change the placement of the defibrillators on a rolling cart on every unit, which resulted in a decreased time from arrest to defibrillation, and she developed and implemented orientation guidelines for all ICU nurses when floating to another ICU for the first time.
Encouraging research and the integration of evidence-informed practice, Reilly and her staff are examining the effects of intentional actions by RNs on patients and the use of ethics and nursing practice rounds.

Volunteerism and Service

Margaret Beturne, RN, MSN, CPAN, CAPA
Assistant Nurse Manager
Baystate Medical Center
Springfield, Mass.

Beturne has served as team leader while traveling to countries throughout Europe and China with People to People Ambassador Programs, an organization that brings professionals from around the world together.
As president of the American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses, she represented the organization at collaborative healthcare symposiums both nationally and internationally and enabled the organization to assume a stronger role in mentoring younger nurses by creating “Up and Comers,” which assists new members in maximizing their leadership potential.
When she completed her ASPAN presidency, Beturne became more active with the Massachusetts SPAN, and now serves on their board of directors. She is involved in the Ronald McDonald House of Springfield, where she serves as president of the board, as well as with the Spanish Nurses Association.
Admired for her ability to have a profound effect wherever she works, she is the first to welcome anyone new to a group and is passionate about helping others, whether in a mentoring relationship or in a volunteer project.

Patricia P. Donlan, RN
Staff Nurse
Signature Healthcare Brockton (Mass.) Hospital

As a PACU nurse with Medical Missions for Children, Donlan has volunteered in nine missions over the past five years. On the most recent mission to Antigua and Guatemala, she served as the lead PACU RN on a 24-volunteer member team. She is respected for her direct patient care, management skills and patient and family education, and she serves as an outstanding liaison between the OR, PACU and other units.
Her mission co-workers describe her as someone who is fully engaged and committed to patients and always holds patients’ best interests at heart.
Donlan gathers donations for the children before trips, works with the executive director before, during and after the mission to ensure the highest standards of care, and mentors nurses who have joined the missions for the first time.
She uses her personal vacation time and pays a fee to MMFC to participate, and is said to be joyful, generous to the core and a true example of nursing excellence.

Ketline Edouard, RN, MSN
Clinical Manager
Boston Medical Center

As an advocate for patient education, safety and quality care, Edouard is respected by her colleagues for exceptional leadership and nursing excellence in practice.
After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Edouard reached out to her peers at the facility and in the community to support a mobile clinic in that country. The founder of a nonprofit organization, she manages a team of 35 volunteers and organizes fundraising efforts that support the clinic. She has solicited supplies and donations, and organized nurses to travel with her to Haiti to provide direct care. As a result of her efforts, the team has provided care for more than 2,400 Haitian people.
Edouard is admired for her boundless energy and enthusiasm and can be counted on to participate on department and hospitalwide committees. She is an active member of the diversity committee of the Massachusetts Nurses Association and collaborates with MNA and Partners In Health colleagues to support an orphanage and nursing school in Haiti.

Susan Flynn, RN, BSN
Staff Nurse
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston

Flynn’s love for nursing emanates in everything she does. Outside of work, Flynn volunteers for Samaritans of Boston and Samaritans of Merrimack Valley. As a samaritan, she has been featured in a video and several TV and radio commercials to raise public awareness about suicide, suicide prevention and the Samaritan help lines and grief support services for those in despair or those who have been touched by a suicide.
She organizes and participates in fundraising activities to benefit the organization each year and speaks at Massachusetts public forums on the topics of suicide loss, bereavement and prevention.
Flynn is a trained member of the Samaritans’ Survivor to Survivor network, visiting those who have experienced a new loss to listen and provide support and resources. She facilitates a SafePlace support group, which is conducted twice a month for those who have lost a loved one to suicide.
She is described as an inspirational nurse, an excellent resource and extremely competent and knowledgeable.

Makeda Kamara, RN, CNM, MPH, MEd
Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing Practice
Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences, Simmons College
Boston

Kamara is one of the founding members of the Cambridge Birth Center and has worked with midwives and birth activists in Colombia, Gambia, Senegal and Bermuda. Kamara created a group called the Bermuda Midwives and recently initiated negotiations with insurance companies for reimbursement of their work.
She assisted in the opening of a women’s health center in Detroit, which focuses on teaching women about alternative approaches to women’s health and reproduction.
Kamara has more than five years of international health experience and has additionally worked in Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Benin. Besides her midwifery practice, her work includes family planning, HIV counseling and prevention, maternal-child health, gynecology, and clinical training for primary care of women and newborns to age 5.
She speaks English, Spanish, French and Swahili proficiently and has taught English as a second language in Tanzania and Uganda.
Her work with the underserved in the U.S. and internationally has demonstrated her dedication to nursing and the well-being of others.


To comment, email editorNE@nurse.com.
Nursing Excellence 2013

The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for
Nursing’s Future is a national sponsor of the 2013
Nurse.com Nursing Excellence GEM Awards program. The campaign helps focus attention on the severe faculty shortage that exists in the nation’s nursing programs through a faculty scholarship fund that helps qualified RNs pursue the advanced education they need to transition into teaching.

Nurse.com is proud to support the campaign by donating $5,000 to the faculty scholarship fund, which is administered by the Foundation of the National Student Nurses
Association. The donation will be made in the name of the 2013 GEM Awards national winner in the Education and Mentorship category.

ABOUT THE FINALISTS
The finalists include nurses from all specialties and practice settings. They are educators and executives, clinicians and managers, mentors and humanitarians. No matter their role or position, they’ve raised the bar for their colleagues and improved the lives of their patients. In ways as diverse as they are, they’ve enhanced the art and science of nursing and grown the body of nursing knowledge and expertise in countless ways. They are true nurses of excellence.

ABOUT THE AWARDS
Although it’s been the same nursing excellence program since the very beginning in its nurse-led nomination, selection and award process, our 2013 program has a brand new name and a shiny new look. This year’s finalists will be the first group to receive the Giving Excellence Meaning, or GEM, Awards, and the first to be honored at our GEM Awards celebrations. The 30 finalists were nominated in one of the following six categories and selected from among the many nominations that came in to our 2013 program:

ADVANCING AND LEADING THE PROFESSION: An RN who is well-known and respected as a visionary, innovative leader and change agent, who moves the profession forward through work in patient care administration, education or research, or strengthens it through other professional activities, endeavors or contributions.

CLINICAL NURSING, INPATIENT: An RN who demonstrates superior clinical nursing knowledge and expert skills, and applies both in ways that measurably impact the quality of care and improve patient care outcomes in any inpatient clinical setting or nursing specialty.

EDUCATION AND MENTORSHIP: An RN who contributes to nursing’s body of knowledge through formal nursing education, skills training or continuing education, or who guides, supports or influences nurses’ career development in meaningful, measurable ways through the art of professional nursing.

HOME, COMMUNITY AND AMBULATORY CARE: An RN who exemplifies outstanding clinical knowledge and nursing expertise in caring for patients in settings outside the hospital in professional home care nursing, home hospice, subacute and intermediate, or in other ambulatory community, industrial, or school nurse roles.

PATIENT AND STAFF MANAGEMENT: An RN who makes significant contributions to the management, supervision or direction of the environment of care and the performance of staff, demonstrating an ability to lead, influence and improve outcomes of care in any inpatient or outpatient setting.

VOLUNTEERISM AND SERVICE: An RN who gives of self in outstanding humanitarian and/or heroic ways by providing nursing care, skills and expertise in outreach to the community, either at home or abroad, to improve the lives, well-being and healthcare of others.