Jo Nocito

FON Photos edited x Nocito

Jo Nocito


Clinical Nurse III

Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit DCT 3B

Duke University Hospital


Terry L. Johnson Award for Excellence in Pediatric Nursing


Jo has been a nurse for seven years, and a Duke Nurse since 2018.  She said that she makes an impact through education.  According to Jo:  When we teach parents about their child’s condition, they can better advocate for their child, and that opens up a whole a whole new world for them.  It increases their knowledge, helps them bond with their baby, builds their connection to the health care team, and enables them to participate in caring for their child, when possible.  Education is truly impactful.  It is one of the most powerful things that we can do as nurses.


This outstanding RN always does the right thing, and is someone colleagues can always go to to clarify policy and procedures.  She is always beyond willing to help and prides herself in good catches.  While some nurses groan at the thought of creating a Safety Report System file, she is more than willing to do so to keep herself and everyone accountable and to improve our care system in any way.  She would even offer to write a report for someone else to help them if they didn’t have time in their day to do so.  She was also one of my Preceptors, and I’ll never forget the standard and expectations she set from day one.  She always stressed the importance of following every one of our safety checks required coming on shift.  Checking drips with a calculator to ensure proper concentration, dose and rate, as well as making sure all lines were not clamped, and that necessary equipment was nearby and appropriate for each patient, such as correct mask size for the ambu-bag, is very important.  Our patients can become unstable very quickly, and she never skips a step to ensure that every child receives nothing but the best care possible.  She always preached that proper preparation ensures smooth experiences when care must be escalated.


In the PCICU, we have several roles that require extensive experience, knowledge, and supervisor and peer support.  Not only has she advanced to Clinical Nurse III, she is also certified as a Critical Care Registered Nurse.  She readily advanced to the post-op role, which requires attending extra unit-specific classes, proving proficiency, and working with the sickest of our patients during the immediate post-op period after open-heart surgery.  She is an amazing resource for our unit and functions as a Clinical Lead, as well.  Clinical Lead in the PCICU is a nursing role that assists with any procedures throughout the day and offers support to staff.  Experience is a must, as colleagues rely on the assistance of the CL to perform important tasks, such as placing IVs, obtaining cultures, sedation and charting during bedside procedures, such as intubation, chest closure and wash-outs, and more.  She also functions in the Charge Nurse role and is currently enrolled in pursuing a doctorate degree in nursing.  She is a member of the Code Committee and Education Committee, which requires active participation in monthly code reviews and annual Skills Day checkoffs, and is also a Code Champion.


This nurse is always involved in improving patient outcomes in the PCICU.  As a Code Champion, she attends all code review meetings and gives valuable feedback to the team regarding ways we could have improved in the past, and potential for growth in the future.  She is always providing education for other staff members and is a resource available to assist with drawing up code medications in proper dosing, and understanding each role during an efficient and effective code event.  We frequently have studies on our unit, such as utilizing steroids in the pre-op period to improve outcomes, and she is always up-to-date on the literature regarding these studies and keeps current on all of our new findings.  We also utilize “flight plans” for certain procedures, and she is well-versed on the path each of these plans entails and what benchmarks we want our patients to be reaching during specific post-op time periods.


The PCICU prides itself on a team approach to care, and every day we are collaborating with Respiratory Therapists, Physical and Occupational Therapists, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, Cardiologists, Radiologists and other imagining specialists, surgeons, attendings, and more.  The ability to work seamlessly together is imperative to making sure our patients receive every intervention necessary.  Scheduling all of these interventions can be challenging at times, but remaining flexible so other care members can provide services, while also prioritizing the patient’s safety, is something the bedside nurses and providers take into account constantly throughout the day.  This nurse does a fantastic job of this, and also educates parents throughout the entire process.  She welcomes and encourages their participation in care, when appropriate, and ensures their comfort while their child receives care.


She encourages patients and their families, and is patient when younger children are confused, scared and in pain.  She uses a soft voice to help remind them that everything we are doing is to help them get healthy, and she often finds creative ways to convey this in a way a child can comprehend.  This nurse is always thoughtful of the patient and family, and also has an acute sense of considering other cultures and their beliefs during her care.  We often lend support to parents during tough moments, and discerning the appropriate support, such as quiet company versus words of comfort, is something she does very well.  This nurse demonstrates “doing for”:  We had a teenage patient admitted to our unit, and this nurse performed the necessary care while ensuring the patient retained as much dignity as possible, even making the patient giggle once in a while.  She is great with enabling and informing patients, their families, and the team.  She does a fantastic job allowing parents to participate in care when appropriate, but she also empowers them to feel comfortable doing so.


This nurse is a shining example of the type of nurse Duke strives to capture; she prides herself in her role and work, and encourages herself and others to go above and beyond to provide the best care possible for our pediatric patients during their acute care stages.


Friends of Nursing Gala 2021

Friends of Nursing Gala 2021

Friends of Nursing Gala 2021