For more than a decade, Nurse.coms Nursing Excellence Awards program has recognized the extraordinary contributions Texas 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 five nurses in each of six categories, for a total of 30 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 dev
Advancing and Leading the Profession
Kenn Kirksey, RN, PhD, MSN, ACNS-BC
Director, Center for Nursing Research
Seton Healthcare Family
Inspired to pursue nursing by the death of his younger brother to AIDS, Kirksey has left innumerable marks in the field of AIDS-related nursing and research. Known internationally for his expertise in the field, Kirksey’s research has been accepted for presentation in Africa, Asia, Canada, Mexico and throughout the United States. His name has appeared in the publications “Who’s Who in America,” “Who’s Who in Medicine and Health Care,” “Who’s Who in American Education” and “Who’s Who in American Nursing.” Kirksey has channeled his talents as a researcher into helping younger nurse researchers by taking time to guide, mentor and encourage. With his guidance, dozens of students have found their voice through rigorous research studies. In addition to research endeavors, Kirksey has influenced the profession through his involvement with the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society.
June Marshall, RN, DNP, NEA-BC
Director of Advancing Professional Nursing Practice
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
When once asked why she spends so much time working toward the advancement of the nursing profession, Marshall replied, “I want to make a difference for the nurse — we have an opportunity to make a difference and create new ways to provide care.” From research to administration to advocacy, Marshall aims to create a better nurse. For instance, within a year of starting work at a large, 600-bed metropolitan hospital, Marshall oriented herself to the facility, provided endless support to the staff, created a Center of Nursing Excellence and wrote the document required for Magnet designation, which was accepted. From there she went on to establish a Career Development Program, allowing nurses to become leaders within their fields. To that end, she personally assists between 10 and 15 nurses annually to develop nursing research studies — an initiative that paved the way for the creation of a system-wide Nursing Research Network.
Jeanne Reeves, RN, BSN, MS
Chief Nursing Officer
Methodist Mansfield (Texas) Medical Center
Reeves is a literal renaissance nurse. Experienced in strategic planning, finance, information technology, human resources, legislative affairs, community relations, physician clinic operations, and so much more, the breadth of her knowledge is unparalleled. Just as impressive, however, is Reeves’, regard for her patients. Never forgetting that patients are people, she integrates patient advocacy into all she does. That sentiment plays out again and again, including her efforts in reducing the time to treat heart attack patients from 90 minutes from door to balloon to less than 70 minutes; supporting the creation of a public health website for the county in 60 languages; and helping to implement a program in which employees are rewarded for achieving patient satisfaction and quality goals. Her patient advocacy extends to her nurses and was recently illustrated when a 10-year-old died tragically in the ED. Reeves came in from vacation and ensured staff members got breaks, ordered food, and stayed to listen and cry along.
Andrea Burdge Smith, RN, PhD, CPNP
Director of Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice
Cook Children’s Medical Center
Fort Worth, Texas
An excellent clinician, Smith doesn’t keep her pediatric nursing knowledge to herself, but mentors others and spreads her passion for providing the best evidence-based care. Smith created her position as director of nursing evidence-based practice and research, implemented a hospitalwide council and helped prompt internal EBP projects. She gives EBP and research workshops for Cook Children’s nurses at least six times a year and has mentored numerous RNs on research and EBP at the bedside. With Smith’s guidance, her colleagues developed a large, outside-funded study on the effects of therapeutic suggestion on children under light anesthesia. She coordinates many EBP projects, including a needle-stick pain project that helped to dramatically decrease the pain children experience with IV starts. Her advocacy was instrumental in setting up a $200,000 endowment to fund EBP and research by facility RNs. Smith will present her hospitalwide EBP project on IV securement, “See me, see my IV,” at an international nursing scholarship symposium. She has published more than 20 journal articles and presented numerous posters; however, the RNs she has mentored to do this themselves are too numerous to count. After helping to develop and teach in a collaborative EBP institute for area RNs, she supported six staff RNs to became fellows. Smith also teaches at three local nursing schools.
Terry Throckmorton, RN, PhD
Associate Chief of Nursing Research
The Methodist Hospital
Throckmorton is such a champion for other nurses that each year she nominates at least 15 colleagues for various awards and recommendations. As a mentor, she not only guides her nursing students and staff — helping them create innovative projects that advance the profession — but also regularly befriends professionals she meets during meetings or presentations and helps them in their own development. Her commitment to the betterment of nurses takes shape in multiple ways, including involvement in 23 research studies, 14 articles, one book chapter and 63 presentations. Among her favorite topics are nursing satisfaction, retention and turnover; nursing stressors; clinical work flow; and patient and staff satisfaction. Throckmorton, a member of 10 professional organizations, regularly shares her expertise on workplace violence, nursing stressors and evidence-based practice during with local agencies. On a state level, Throckmorton’s knowledge has been put to use as a consultant to large hospital systems, such as Covenant Healthcare system and the Veterans Administration Hospital.