For more than a decade, Nurse.coms Nursing Excellence Awards program has recognized the extraordinary contributions Florida nurses make to their patients, each other and the profession. This year, nurses from the region came forward to tell us about the unsung heroes of nursing RNs who make a difference in the profession every single day.
The grateful peers of these exceptional nursing professionals sent detailed nominations for Nurse.coms 2011 Nursing Excellence Awards. The nominees include staff nurses, specialists, nurse practitioners, vice presidents and nurse executives, and work in settings as disparate as occupational health, education, intensive care, cardiology, med/surg and pediatrics. No matter what the role or setting, these nurses have found ways to raise the bar for their peers and the quality of life of their patients.
Nurse.com hopes their stories will inspire all of our readers to reach for excellence.
From the many tributes we received for this years program, we narrowed the competition down to three nurses in each of six categories, for a total of 18 finalists.
Advancing and Leading the Profession: RNs who have made contributions that advanced and strengthened the nursing profession or the delivery of patient care. These nurses have made broadreaching contributions that affect the entire profession rather than a single organization.
Clinical Care: RNs who demonstrate excellence in direct-care delivery in any clinical setting. This category celebrates nurses who work directly with patients and their families.
Community Service: RNs who have made significant professional or voluntary contributions that improved patient care. These nurses have helped their community either as part of their jobs or as volunteers.
Management: RNs who have demonstrated exceptional management of nursing or patient-care services in any setting. This category honors managers who have a talent for developing successful employees and systems.
Mentoring: RNs who provide a positive professional influence, guidance and support of other nurses in any setting. These nurses have cultivated relationships that foster the development of their nurse colleagues.
Teaching: RNs who have made significant contributions in education, professional development and/or long-term learning of nursing professionals.
Evan Ballantyne, RN, ASN
Florida Hospital Orlando
Garbage bags and plastic wrap were not good enough protectors of IV sites and PICC lines for Evan Ballantyne’s patients. Instead of continuing to use those measures, the clinical nurse manager for the cardiovascular progressive care unit at Florida Hospital Orlando designed and produced a shower glove for patients that reduces infection rates and saves time and resources needed to replace intravenous sites.
That’s just one way Ballantyne has seen and solved problems. She also encourages nurses to further their education, which results in high-quality care for patients. Two years ago, her unit had five nurses with national certifications. Ballantyne enlisted two ANMs and a mentor to train the staff and now 30 nurses are certified and a dozen more are ready to take the exam, her nominator writes. Her can-do attitude is recognized, not only by staff, but by students looking for jobs on the unit. For one class of interns, more than 1,500 students applied for four available positions.
Debra Bradshaw, RN, MSN, NEA-BC
Director of Nursing Special Projects
Pitt County Memorial Hospital
Debra Bradshaw has an “intrinsic ability to motivate and empower others,” her nominator said. The proof: Her unit increased certification by 49% in just nine months. Bradshaw has created a culture of certification at Pitt County Memorial Hospital and was asked to present at the American Association of Critical Care Nurses’ National Teaching Institute on how other organizations can achieve similar results. That comes on the heels of a presentation at the 2010 conference to 7,000 attendees about developing a curriculum for charge nurse development. She was recognized nationally in 2008 with the AACN Excellence in Leadership Award. She also is an AACN Ambassador and board certified as a nurse executive advanced through the American Nurse Credentialing Center.
Bradshaw also encourages the next generation of nurses by working with high school students to promote their interests in healthcare careers. In her community, she motivates residents to get involved in a Go Red for Women program that has hundreds of participants.
Phyllis McCall, RN, BSN
Memorial Regional Hospital
Phyllis McCall has a powerful voice. She uses it to speak to patients when she makes daily rounds on her unit, including one who recently was comatose. When he finally was extubated, she visited his room and as she introduced herself, the patient “said to her that there was no need, that he heard her voice every day she visited his room.” McCall also has added her personal touch to her advocacy for Memorial Regional Hospital’s professional clinical ladder program, certification and continuing education. For example, CCRN nurses have their names displayed on plaques at the entrance to their unit.
In the past five years, the hospital’s unit has undergone change, including establishing an in-house, 24-hour intensivist program and using electronic charting and barcode medication administration. McCall has led by example by listening, offering support and encouraging staff during the implementation of the changes. “Her dynamic leadership made the difference in the successful implementation of each of these programs,” her nominator wrote.