2021 AWARD WINNERS
It is because of Jessica’s big heart and commitment to constantly growing her knowledge, that her team is making huge strides in patient care. Her role as a unit educator has resulted in a more effective clinical environment, with a reduction in the incidence of errors and hospital-acquired complications. Through her monthly educational projects, the unit has seen a decrease in the number of medication and provision of care errors. Jessica’s hard work and dedication has made an invaluable impact not only on her team, but her patients, and their families.
She quickly identifies gaps in clinical knowledge and researches ways to improve nursing practice. For example, oral colostrum administration to preterm infants may provide early immunologic benefits and prevent neonatal complications, such as necrotizing entercolitis. After researching the benefits and best practices in oral colostrum administration, the nominee performed chart audits on compliance, then developed a plan of action. She educated staff on the best way to chart administration, and placed visual reminders around the unit, such as report handoff checklists, posters on breastmilk refrigerators, and signs near patient care areas. She presented to various disciplines, and enlisted their help in improving the premature infant’s chance of survival by reducing the incidence of complications.
Binders of tip sheets, ranging from cardiac defects and chest tubes, to medication compatibility charts, are provided in every room thanks to the nominee. The unit’s incidence of errors has decreased, and the nurses’ confidence in providing quality, safe care has increased with the tip sheets and monthly education newsletter. A bulletin board in the staff locker room displays the most recent research article on a pertinent neonatal topic, and encourages staff to suggest additional topics. As Coordinator of annual skills day, the nominee solicits the help of staff to further build a cohesive support system and foster an environment of collaboration. Yearly, the unit participates in a March of Dimes walk with which the nominee participates, and thus build a positive connection between staff and families.
The nominee uses volunteers to educate a staff of more than 200 nurses — participants are more likely to retain the information and adapt the new skills into their clinical practice, thus improving patient care. The nominee is also the representative to the clinical practice council for the NICU. She evaluates the effectiveness of policies and procedures, which determine overall outcomes. Looking for ways to support staff during stressful times, the nominee helped develop the Code Review Committee, which takes information from real codes and identifies situations that could use additional education/practice. Using an infant simulator, the nominee develops mock code situations and assists the fellow and nurse practitioner in executing the mock code. The result of her role as a unit educator is a more effective clinical environment, with a reduction in the incidence of medical errors and hospital-acquired complications.
With a desire to share her expertise and knowledge base, the nominee precepts students and new nurses on the unit, always teaching staff them how to engage families in their infant’s care while maintaining patient safety. As a member of the Medication Safety Committee for the unit, the nominee assists with educational rollouts on medication administration and new IV equipment. As Coordinator of annual skills day, the nominee solicits the help of staff to further build a cohesive support system and foster an environment of collaboration. Her colleagues frequently compliment her on her ability to enthusiastically mentor others, while monitoring patient care. Through her monthly educational projects, the unit has seen a decrease in the incidence of harms.
As the primary nurse caring for a baby who died when just a few months old, the nominee was heartbroken. She realized the unit lacked resources, so she began working diligently to develop the Bereavement Committee. Her goal was to ensure the NICU families are supported in a caring environment that is sensitive to their emotional, physical and spiritual needs. Using specialized training in bereavement care, the nominee helped develop a resource notebook for staff members, along with a bereavement cart full of supplies needed when an infant dies — seashells used for baptism, keepsake packets, 3D molds for the feet, SD photo cards, and infant gowns. By having these resources, a nurse who is new to the neonatal environment can assist a family with confidence that he or she is prepared to meet their needs during one of the darkest times in their NICU experience.
Providing compassionate care to the smallest patients, the nominee educates staff members on ways to improve nursing interventions during routine care, respond to emergencies and support families during bereavement care.
BSN, RN, CCRN
Clinical Nurse III
Nominated: Intensive Care Nursery
Current: Medical Intensive Care Unit DMP 8 West
Duke University Hospital