2023 AWARD WINNERS
Amanda hit the ground running when she joined the Cardiothoracic Stepdown Unit at Duke University Hospital as a new graduate nurse in 2013. Now an Assistant Nurse Manager, she has led several projects. One resulted in the development of an education plan and checklist to better prepare patients and families for post-surgery discharge. An inspirational leader, Amanda takes time to get to know patients and families on a personal level. And, if they return, she is the first to welcome them back in a fun, yet loving way. She has great rapport with the staff and, literally, maintains the equilibrium on the unit. When she is around, the unit is in its tidiest and most well-supplied state, and her candy jar is full and welcoming!
Amanda is the gold standard for integrity. I have observed how she documents accordingly, how she speaks up and stands up for what is right, for implementing policy and protocols. She is consistent with what she says and what she does. Example: her compliance with performing the bedside report. There is a high temptation to drift with this process. But she demonstrates this process without fail. When there is a sign of resistance from the incoming shift, she politely invites the receiving nurse to the patient’s room, while explaining the benefits of giving her report with the patient and family participating in the discussion.
Another example: listening to the feedback of the patient, family and staff. She investigates before she concludes. When an issue arises, she gathers information and determines appropriate steps to correct the process, or reinforce teaching. When we had difficulty with compliance in implementing the use of incentive spirometer, she asked the staff, patient, and the family about why the device wasn’t utilized. From this feedback, Amanda offered her time to educate staff regarding effective ways to motivate patients to use the device, and demonstrated the process in the patient’s room with the care nurse.
Amanda is an exemplary committee member and Champion. When she was on the Scheduling Committee, she saw an area of opportunity for staff to utilize DukeShift to facilitate staffing, and helped to create a protocol that brought clarity to the process. When she was in the Diabetes Management Services (DMS) Champion role, she was on target with the areas of improvement. To assist preceptors, she created a binder that includes the DMS Policy, protocol, frequently asked questions, links to the policies, and algorithms. This well-organized binder serves best to this day for the preceptors, orientees, regular staff and float nurses to find answers in a timely manner. She created the DMS board, with targets and graphs that show the status of our unit regarding compliance.
As a primary care nurse, she is consistently being a role model in performing safety standards, such as medication rights, barcode scanning, dual sign-off, purposeful rounding, and unit standard protocols and documentation. As a Charge Nurse, she advocates for the patients in coordinating or escalating appropriate levels of care, and for the staff in delivering safe and excellent care. As an Assistant Nurse Manager, she is prompt to respond to provide clarification, find solutions, and share information on new nursing practices.
She has several projects she has done for the unit in order to ensure patients and their loved ones feel comfortable with discharge teaching and feel empowered. When she observed that one particular group of patients on our unit needed additional education regarding their inpatient and continuum to home care, she took action and created an educational plan. The education and instructions that patients receive post-surgery can be very overwhelming. With the approval and help of our provider group, she was able to roll out an education checklist on all of our stepdown units. After several months of monitoring the education and satisfaction of the patients, it was found that this project was very successful! Patients and their family members felt better prepared, asked more questions during their stay, felt more involved in their care and had better experiences overall during their stay. This has helped streamline education through all the stepdown units and has helped both family and patient feel empowered in their care.
Amanda is instrumental in collaborating with the interdisciplinary team. She identified the need for enhanced educational opportunities for our newly hired nurses. She collaborated with the Advanced Practitioners, Clinicians, Pharmacists and Transplant coordinators to create a monthly, expert mini-presentation called “Chat and Learn.” The staff are empowered in delivering care from evidence-based practice presentations by respective interdisciplinary teams. Patients and families have expressed confidence in the care that our staff have rendered. Such an outcome is reflected in our unit’s balanced score card as “on target or above target.”
She is very knowledgeable of the nursing care of the patients and has strong emotional connections with patients. She is a constant resource of knowledge on the unit. Staff seek her out for her experiences and wealth of knowledge. She is also a resource for the providers on the unit, as well as team members on other units.
This nurse makes her patients feel as though they are her own family through her compassion and patience. She has come to understand that each person has a different way of processing, accepting, learning and receiving feedback. She has such a positive attitude; she will always be the one who dances a celebration dance when a patient reaches a goal plays a fun, upbeat song at the end of huddle, just to help everyone start off the day on a high note. Staff call her the light of the unit.
She always strives for the best for the unit, and leads them to be the best that they can be. She encourages them every day to strive for excellence, care for patients as they would their own family members and helps them see the difference they make in the lives of our patients and their loved ones.
This nurse exemplifies not only what a Duke Nurse represents, but what nurses strive to become, by being a mentor, an educator, a graceful patient advocate and — most importantly — a joyful person who TRULY loves what she does as a nurse.
BSN, RN, PCCN
Assistant Nurse Manager
Cardiothoracic Stepdown Unit DMP 6 East
Duke University Hospital