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Meet our 2014 New England GEM Award winners

Friday July 11, 2014
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Nurse.com prides itself on recognizing the accomplishments of nurses of excellence at its GEM (Giving Excellence Meaning) award programs. In New England, a regional winner from each of the 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 — was selected.
The regional winners move on to compete in the GEM national nurse of the year program.
“Our nursing excellence GEM Awards program shines brightly once again as we salute our 2014 regional winners,” said Eileen Williamson, RN, MSN, senior vice president and chief nurse executive. “Nominated and selected by their colleagues, they truly epitomize nursing at its best. We are honored to present them with our prestigious GEM awards and privileged to recognize them publicly for their many contributions to nursing and healthcare.”
Nurse.com is pleased to introduce you to the 2014 Nurse.com GEM regional award winners.


Patrice Nicholas, RN
ADVANCING AND LEADING THE PROFESSION

Patrice Nicholas, RN, DNSc, MPH, ANP, FAAN
Director of global health and academic partnerships
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston

As an undergraduate nursing student, Nicholas was introduced to global nursing. At that time, she was amazed how nurses could address complex challenges such as the need for clean water, immunizations and primary healthcare.
Now, more than 40 years later, Nicholas amazes others in her roles as clinical nurse, advanced practice nurse, doctorally-prepared nurse researcher and Fulbright senior scholar. Along with her roles as director of global health and academic partnerships and senior nurse scientist at BWH, Nicholas is a professor at the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions’ School of Nursing.
Proud of her mentoring role, she engages nurses at the facility in advanced education and scholarly writing. A number of them have published peer-reviewed articles and have pursued additional master’s and doctoral degrees. One nurse at the facility said Nicholas changed her life because of Nicholas’ mentorship and guidance with her graduate work and interest in global health.
“I attribute this honor to being mentored by nurse leaders, and I hope to continue this legacy with others,” Nicholas said, “The award recognizes the importance of nursing’s contributions, and I am most grateful.”
Nicholas’ own professional contributions have been significant and far-reaching.
She has served in leadership positions in several organizations, including the board of directors of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International; the J. William Fulbright selection committee for Sub-Saharan Africa; the Fulbright Diaspora Scholars; and on editorial boards of several journals.
She has developed a focused body of research related to HIV-associated neuropathy, and her work on quality of life and symptom management is widely cited in professional papers. Nicholas’ work related to global health and HIV are shining examples of excellence in nursing practice and research, her nominator wrote.
Enriched by her experiences, Nicholas said she has gained a broadened understanding of what nursing contributes to the health of the world’s people on local, national and international levels.
She encourages others to seek mentoring relationships while developing and advancing their careers.
“I have been a member of an incredibly rich nursing research group, and seeking a mentor and subsequently serving as a mentor have been most important aspects of my career development,” she said. “Seeking additional education — being a lifelong learner — is essential, as well as being involved in professional organizations and staying current with the professional literature.”


Lisa Marie Doyle, RN
CLINICAL NURSING, INPATIENT

Lisa Marie Doyle, RN, BSN, OCN
Staff nurse
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston

Doyle was completely ecstatic, honored and humbled when she learned she had won the Nurse.com regional award in the Clinical Nursing, Inpatient category.
“I am so in love with nursing that I didn’t think it was possible, but winning has actually amplified my passion as a nurse. To me, this award confirms that with hard work, dedication, perseverance and paying forward what others have taught you, you can truly make a difference,” Doyle said.
Her colleagues also recognize her as a nurse of excellence.
Doyle’s nominator describes her as a compassionate and caring clinician, a forward thinker and a superb role model. Dedicated to patient and family-centered care, she builds an open and trusting relationship with her patients and can be counted on to precept and mentor new staff members.
Doyle is someone who is never satisfied with the status quo and always is seeking new and better ways to provide outstanding patient care. As a result, she and the innovations team have successfully implemented more than 25 unit initiatives. Because of her relentless pursuit for knowledge and a willingness to share it, Doyle has become a unit resource for chemotherapy-related protocols and postop and end-of-life care.
She is most proud of helping to create an environment that validates the multidimensional and complex care of patients and their families and caregivers.
“By acknowledging the intellectual and emotional demands, it allows us to work as a team and to never worry alone,” she said. “Honest communication and reflection can be as formal as ethics rounds or merely a quick conversation in the nurse’s station. The more capable we are at understanding ourselves, our knowledge, limitations and personal beliefs, the better we can open up to learning who our patients are and what they need.”
One of her favorite quotes is from the psychologist Carl Jung: “Be simple and always take the next step. You needn’t see it in advance, but you can look back at it afterwards. There is no ‘how’ of life, one just does it.”
Doyle said she looks back at her own career — the hours studying, the time missed with family and friends — and she wonders how she did it.
“However, I wouldn’t have changed a single step and am proud of what I have accomplished,” she said. “So don’t get overwhelmed with your goals. Just take it one step at a time.”
She is pursuing her education to become an oncology family nurse practitioner.


Dorothy Bradley, RN
EDUCATION AND MENTORSHIP

Dorothy Bradley, RN, MS
Program director for nursing simulation
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston

Bradley credits her mother, a practicing RN and a single parent who raised three children, for having the most significant influence on her career development. She welcomed Bradley on home visits and later encouraged her to pursue a BSN after high school. Bradley’s “love affair for nursing and education started there,” and when a BWH nursing director encouraged her to explore creative solutions to clinical education, she chose another passion, simulation education.
Proud of her contributions in the facility’s interdisciplinary simulation programs, Bradley said one of her greatest accomplishments is to have interwoven simulation into nursing and patient care assistant orientation programs.
“To observe various disciplines have the ‘aha’ moment is so rewarding both from ‘I understand the other discipline framework’ and ‘I have strengthened my own disciplinary framework,’” she said.
As program director, she collaborates with nurse educators, interdisciplinary teams and staff nurses to coordinate orientations and trainings such as debriefing and feedback, burn certification, sexual assault nurse examiner and interdisciplinary education for regionalization of medicine and nursing programs.
Privileged to be a finalist in the category of Education and Mentorship, Bradley was “humbled by the recognition and respect of colleagues within the same specialty, and then to be a regional winner is a real honor.”
Her colleagues recognize Bradley as a generous and thoughtful educator and mentor who is a role model by example and who goes above and beyond in every professional responsibility she undertakes. She brings a special energy to anything she is involved in, according to her nominator, because she loves what she does and that love and enthusiasm are contagious.
Most recently, Bradley worked with central educators in the Center for Nursing Excellence to merge nursing and travel nurse orientations. She worked with educators and various stakeholders to review schedules, trainings and orientation needs to ensure the successful merger, and she worked with human resources and information systems to improve orientation offerings.
Bradley is said to be the epitome of an excellent nurse and a wonderful leader who leads with grace, patience and dignity, making sure she understands the work of her colleagues completely before offering her support on redesigns or process improvements.
She follows the advice she offers to others: “Follow one’s passion. Choose one area of clinical practice and then opt for another area to pursue. How often do we have the ability to choose our life’s work and influence the health of so many people? It’s a privilege.”


Debbie A. Mitchell-Dozier, RN
HOME, COMMUNITY AND AMBULATORY CARE

Debbie A. Mitchell-Dozier, RN, BSN
Staff nurse
Tufts Medical Center
Boston

When Mitchell-Dozier found out she was the Nurse.com regional winner in the Home, Community and Ambulatory Care category, she said it was “simply an amazing experience to witness this level of recognition from Nurse.com and my peers.”
“This award confirms my 22-year career choice to be a nurse, and I hope that through it, other nurses will be encouraged to strive to bring a spirit of excellence to nursing, not only in the hospital setting but in the community at large,” she said.
As a nephrology nurse for 22 years, Mitchell-Dozier said she is most proud of her decision to become a living kidney donor in 2013.
Mitchell-Dozier became a donor to help a stranger in need. She wanted nothing in return, but hoped her story would raise awareness in the community and inspire and empower others who are thinking about being a kidney donor. She also hoped it would provide support and encouragement to patients on dialysis who are hesitant about soliciting help in finding a kidney donor. She hopes that through her experience she can provide quality and compassionate care and make a difference in patient care and outcomes.
Mitchell-Dozier said she feels blessed to work alongside “some of the most caring and knowledgeable caregivers in the world.” Her colleagues feel fortunate to work with such a dedicated and passionate individual who treats chronically ill patients at the clinic like members of her own family, according to her nominator, who said Mitchell-Dozier always listens, hears what their needs are and works incredibly hard to meet them.
Mitchell-Dozier’s notable nursing career has been influenced by her 24 years in the U.S. Army.
“Being an army nurse helped to instill the importance of a disciplined lifestyle, respect for leadership and the need for team support from some of our country’s greatest leaders, those with work ethic and passion second to none,” she said.
She is particularly grateful to a number of people who have influenced her life and work.
Her eldest sister, a psych nurse, was the first to encourage Mitchell-Dozier to take a closer look at nursing as a career. Her husband and family have been “encouraging voices who have propelled me to perform in the realm of excellence. And my faith in God has inspired me to seek every opportunity to grow and impact the lives of others as I strive to be the best person that I can be,” she said.


Kris Ferullo, RN
PATIENT AND STAFF MANAGEMENT

Kris Ferullo, RN, BSN, CDE
Nurse manager, diabetes services
Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
Dover, N.H.

“I am truly humbled to be chosen for such an honorable award, and the fact that my colleagues feel I am worthy of such an honor is the best compliment I can receive,” Ferullo said when she heard she was the regional winner in the category of Patient and Staff Management.
Ferullo credits the group of professionals who work with her, because none of the services would be possible without their hard work as well as the support of the organization.
During her 22 years of service, Ferullo has developed innovative programs that have helped patients and families, including diabetes camps that engage and empower children and their families, She gives lectures at local schools, educates provider offices on guidelines for diabetes care and serves as a mentor and clinical preceptor for students. She created the annual community diabetes expo, which draws hundreds of patients and families, and she facilitates a monthly parent and child support group.
Ferullo said she is most proud of the way the programs address the needs of all ages, including the children, siblings and parents. She is touched by the deep friendships that have developed and how families lean on one another for support and share holidays and celebrations together.
“We have a volunteer program at our weeklong camp, and the volunteers [who have been campers in previous years] create tremendous bonds with each other and with the staff,” she said. “The passion they exhibit toward the younger children is difficult to put into words.”
Ferullo credits a fellow diabetes educator who was her preceptor when she started in diabetes education as having the most influence on her career development.
“She always puts patients first and has unending energy and compassion, creative ideas and the belief that there is never a task that is impossible to accomplish. We have worked together on a number of committees in our state organization, and I credit many of my leadership skills, ambition to offer new programs and innovative ideas to this amazing woman!”
Ferullo has certainly followed in her preceptor’s footsteps.
She received the President’s Award, the highest honor bestowed by the facility, for exemplifying the “We Care” spirit through leadership, excellence in practice and professionalism. Under her leadership, the diabetes services and programs have expanded and achieved ADA recognition, and the organization is in the process of applying for Joint Commission disease-specific care certification for diabetes.


Nicholas Merry, RN
VOLUNTEERISM AND SERVICE

Nicholas Merry, RN, BSN, CCRN, CEN
Staff nurse
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston

For the past nine years, Merry has worked closely with a nurse and a physician who share his passion for global health initiatives. He credits them for encouraging his participation in several humanitarian missions he may not have otherwise joined.
“I will always be grateful for their mentorship,” he said. “As leaders, they taught me so much in a short time about making effective clinical management decisions under circumstances I never would have imagined.”
His nominator said it is clear there’s no end to Merry’s capacity to volunteer and serve.
As a member of the IMSuRT team, Merry has served on numerous deployments at home and abroad, providing care and logistical support in crises, including hurricanes and earthquakes in Louisiana, New Jersey and Haiti. As a volunteer with the International Medical Corp., in partnership with the hospital’s Center for Global Health, Merry was deployed to the Philippines when Typhoon Haiyan swept the country.
While in Haiti, he was chosen to act as operations section chief for the field hospital in Port au Prince, and based on his outstanding performance, Merry was promoted to IMSuRT deputy team commander in 2010.
He also was chosen as the hospital’s nursing recruitment liaison for a proposed multi-agency trauma and surgical deployment unit. In this role, Merry will recruit critical care nurses and coordinate training for TSDU personnel.
With all that he has accomplished, Merry was shocked to find out he was selected as the Nurse.com regional award recipient in the Volunteerism and Service category.
“Every day I work side by side with nurses who go above and beyond the call of duty to help their patients, so I know there are many people who are deserving of this award,” he said. “To be acknowledged for the work I have done, especially on the global health front, is a huge honor.”
He is proud that he has been able to give back to Massachusetts General by sharing what he has learned with colleagues.
“Not only are these missions unique and rewarding experiences, but they require nurses to become more adaptive, flexible and culturally sensitive,” he said. “Nurses are required to think outside the box in situations where they are often working with limited supplies and different equipment. The difference in cultural norms around healthcare delivery is fascinating and requires nurses to heighten their listening and communication skills to provide the best care possible to their patients.”


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