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Boston RN defines nursing excellence


Nominated by their nursing colleagues, the 2012 Nursing Excellence Awards class was among the largest pools of nominees in the long history of the awards, according to Eileen Williamson, RN, MSN, senior vice president and CNE, Gannett Healthcare Group, publisher of

“’s Nursing Excellence program, a vital part of our company mission for nearly two decades, has become the largest of its kind in the nation,” Williamson said.

The awards, sponsored nationally by The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future and the University of Phoenix College of Nursing, begins with colleagues nominating nurses in six categories for regional events. Regional winners advance to a pool of national finalists, from whom a winner is chosen in each category. This year, a Boston nurse is among the national winners.

Advancing and Leading the Profession

Patricia Dykes, RN, DNSc, MA, FAAN, FACMI, Haley Nurse Scientist and senior nurse researcher,

Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston

As a nurse scientist, Dykes said her drive and primary goals are to improve patient care by making it easier for nurses and other team members to provide evidence-based care. A leading researcher in fall prevention and health information technology, Dykes influences nursing practice at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and around the world.

Dykes’ recent study examining whether a fall prevention toolkit using health information technology decreases patient falls in hospitals was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It was conducted in four urban hospitals and indicated the use of a fall prevention toolkit in hospital units, compared with usual care, significantly reduced the rate of falls.

Dykes is among a select group of nurses inducted into both the American Academy of Nursing and the Academy College of Medical Informatics. She also is one of only a few nurses with a prestigious appointment at Harvard Medical School.

For nurses interested in building research programs, Dykes suggests finding mentors willing to guide them. “All of my most worthy accomplishments were cultivated by my mentors,” she said. “Continue your education so that you have the foundation you need to conduct rigorous research. Remember that no matter how much education and experience you have, you still need to partner with nurses, other providers and patients to ensure that the interventions you wish to study will fit with the workflow and will be adopted, so they can ultimately improve patient care.”

Other national winners included Melissa Browning, APRN, DNP, CCNS, critical care clinical nurse specialist, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago (Clinical Care Inpatient); Elaine L. Smith, RN, EdD, MSN, ANEF, MBA, NEA-BC, vice president, system nursing education, Institute for Nursing, North Shore-LIJ Health System, New Hyde Park, N.Y. (Education and Mentorship); Peter Dennehy, ACRN, Department of Public Health, San Francisco (Home, Community and Ambulatory Care); Michele Zucconi, RN, MSN, CCRN, administrative director, Heart and Vascular Care Center, South Jersey Healthcare, Vineland, N.J. (Patient and Staff Management); and Jonas Nguh, RN, PhD, MSN, MHSA, past director of nursing, University of the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C. (Volunteerism and Service).

Lisette Hilton is a freelance writer.

READ MORE about the 2012 Nursing Excellence winners at


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