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New York/New Jersey nurses share achievements


Kathy DiBenedetto, RN

Director of Goldwater Nursing, Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility, New York City

Richards, RN, who has dedicated her 45-year career to advocating and caring for physically fragile and vulnerable patients, was honored May 8 by the Fund for the City of New York with the Sloan Public Service Award.

The award was presented by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to Richards and five other public servants and is regarded as the Nobel Prize of city government. Coler-Goldwater is one of four public nursing facilities of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp.

This year’s awards, which come during a year in which Superstorm Sandy tested city public services, mark the 40th anniversary of the program, which began in 1973.
Richards oversees the quality and safety of health services for more than 700 patients and residents who require specialized care. Starting as a nurse’s aide in 1967, her career has risen steadily to her current role, where she manages 590 staff members.

Beth Israel Medical Center’s 7 Linsky Transforming Care at the Bedside team includes, from left, Diego Giraldo, RN; Stefanie Zisholtz, RN; Judy Bishop, PCA; Robbie Freeman, RN, Consultant, 1199SEIU RN Labor Management Initiatives; Jennifer Brathwaite, PCA, and Joyce Dowling, RN.

“We have a mission and a vision, and the most important thing is that we ensure that every day our patients and residents get the best care and the highest quality care so they can live their lives to their fullest potential,” Richards said in a news release.

For more than two decades, Richards also served as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve Command, rising to the rank of major before retiring in 2007. As a reservist, Richards was recognized by the military for her superior service as an officer in charge of a trauma training program for soldiers preparing for deployment.

Sloan Award winners come from all levels and ranks of city government, and are selected by a diverse and independent panel. Winners receive a cash prize of $10,000.

Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, West Islip, N.Y.: Kathy DiBenedetto, RN, has been appointed nursing director of infection prevention and control for Good Samaritan. She brings more than 30 years’ experience as an RN, including 17 years as a critical care nurse. In her new role, DiBenedetto will assist the senior vice president for nursing in the management of prevention and control of healthcare-associated disease transmission.

Tomoyo Yamada

Previously, she was an infection preventionist at New York Hospital Queens in Flushing, N.Y.

Clinical educator Lisa Farrell, RN, received her MSN in nursing education from Walden University. Maureen Altieri, RN, MS, has achieved Nurse Executive–Advanced certification, while Heather Vrljicak, RN, pediatrics, earned asthma certification. Nancy McNeill, RN-BC, MA, has received certification as an asthma educator.

Coney Island Hospital, Brooklyn: NICU nurses at Coney Island recently won first place from the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. in the individual category for Developmental Care of the Newborn. The winning essay, written by Kathleen Marino, RN,C, nurse manager of the NICU/Nursery/OB, explained how Coney Island nurses give award-winning care to babies. Sheila Koshy, RN, accepted the award for the unit.

Beth Israel Medical Center, Manhattan: Beth Israel’s 7 Linsky patient care team presented “From Silos to Teams — Improving Work Environment” as part of the Transforming Care at the Bedside initiative Dec. 5 at a nursing symposium organized by 1199SEIU.

The team is composed of Joyce Dowling, RN; Diego Giraldo, RN; Stefanie Zisholtz, RN; Judy Bishop, PCA; Jennifer Braithwaite, PCA; and Helen Michel, PCA. With assistance from 3 Dazian’s Robbie Freeman, RN, who works on special projects with 1199SEIU RN Labor Management Initiatives, the 7 Linsky team created a new process for requesting missing medications online, replacing a paper process and decreasing time spent away from patients. Beth Israel CNO and Vice President of Patient Care Services Mary Walsh, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, CEN, was a panelist at the event for the discussion of “Wellness Promotion: Tools and Support Programs for Nurses.”

Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing, Manhattan: Tomoyo Yamada, a freshman nursing student, was one of 86 volunteers honored March 15 by the United Hospital Fund at its 20th annual Hospital Auxilian and Volunteer Achievement Awards.

Yamada, representing St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals, has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and experience as a translator that she found inadequate for helping others in the 2011 earthquake in Japan. Bothered by a sense she was not properly trained for that disaster and other calamities that followed made her consider becoming a nurse. She has been an SLR volunteer since September 2011. Yamada works as a patient rounder in a med/surg unit, putting patients at ease and acting as an intermediary between patient and staff.

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