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 deve
Malinda Harden Cannon, RN, BS
Arlington (Texas) Independent School District
For the hundreds of kids whose lives she’s touched as their school nurse, Cannon is a hero. For the past 10 years – operating out of a 150-square foot office — she’s been a mother, counselor, social worker, teacher, organizer and nurse. From counseling a teen mom on how to make a doctor’s appointment for her infant, to providing a change of clothes to a student with bed bugs and explaining why fruits and milk are a better food choice than chips and soda, Cannon’s practice spreads across the spectrum. She’s instituted a Prenatal Teaching program, stockpiles healthy food at the school and helped create a program that provides free dental care to students. In the words of some of her students: “She really listens to us and knows what to do”; “I didn’t know where to turn until she talked to me”; “I can come to her office any time and leave not being so scared.”
Steve A. Carbone, RN, BS, MBA, CCRN
Operation Administrator/Manager, Float Pool
Memorial Hermann Northwest
Carbone isn’t happy in his job unless his staff are happy in theirs. He works tirelessly to ensure his employees are satisfied in their work. Often staying after hours, he goes out of his way to talk with nurses or aides about concerns and issues. During these conversations, he makes it a point to focus on the issue and not the person. It’s a non-judgemental attitude that he carries with him long after he punches out at the end of his shift. As a long-time volunteer for Houston’s Legacy Clinic, Carbone has dedicated countless hours to helping the area’s uninsured, impoverished and indigent population access health care. From providing care to walking clients through the Medicaid application process and assisting others in accessing COBRA coverage, Carbone tireless fights for the rights of those unfamiliar with a complex and bureaucratic system.
Shelley Lorene Cook, RN, BSN, CNOR
Director of Surgical Services
Methodist Mansfield (Texas) Medical Center
Cook wanted to become a nurse to help people. Highly prized as a leader and visionary, Cook has taken her quest into the community and done so with gusto. In just the past year she has donated more than 1,000 hours of her time to organizations, schools and individuals in need of help. She regularly supports the American Heart Association Start! Walk, feeds the elderly through the Metroplex Meals on Wheels, mentors student nurses from three area universities, encourages high school hospital interns, frequently speaks to high schoolers during career days, works at senior health fairs and YMCA health fairs, participates in the United Way’s annual March for Babies and more. Moreover, she recruits her colleagues to participate in volunteer events, advancing her dream to build a better tomorrow.
Lisa Creamer, RN, BSN
Nurse Manager, Child Abuse Pediatrics
Texas Children’s Hospital
Creamer is a connector. She builds bridges between people with the common goal of protecting a child. Creamer’s ability to encourage cooperation among different agencies placed her at the helm of a team designed to protect children. Comprised of hospital officials, law enforcement, child protection services and district and county attorneys, the children’s protection team receives regular training and education from Creamer and her colleagues on abuse and neglect. Creamer’s expertise in working with victims was tapped in the academic arena and resulted in her authorship of a chapter on the recognition of medical child abuse in “Wong’s Essentials of Pediatric Nursing.” Additionally, Creamer helped establish the Children’s Assessment Center, a medical clinic designed to meet the needs of victims of sexual abuse. Creamer works tirelessly to spread education on child abuse — through community outreach to school nurses, in her role as a speaker for the International Association of Forensic Nurses and through her support of clinical research projects.
Sherry Keithly, RN-BC
Baylor Jack and Jane Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital
Keithly’s dedication to providing care to the less fortunate is such that eight years ago she personally brought a Mexican child in need of open heart surgery into the U.S. for essential care. Since then, Keithly’s taken that child into her house for several months out of every year, ensuring she receives the care she needs. Keithly’s desire to make the world a healthier place takes many other forms, including an unflagging dedication to improving not only her skills, but those of her staff. Equally important, Keithly understands the importance of patient education. This awareness led not only to the facilitation of an Education Task Force, but the development of a patient instruction tool — a video in which her team acts — given to patients upon discharge.