Ramona Irabor

Ramona Irabor

Ramona Irabor


Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist / Inpatient Pain Service
Center for Advanced Practice
Duke University Health System


Watson Family Award for Excellence in Patient and Family Education


A doctorally-prepared nurse with a career spanning more than three decades, Ramona is dedicated to “doing the right thing,” when it comes to clinical practice and education.  In 2015, she joined our Inpatient Pain Service, where she mentors, educates and coaches nurses about pain management.  She is a valued member of many health system  councils and committees for key initiatives, including Patient Education, Spine Care Redesign, Safe Opioid Prescribing and Pain Management Oversight.  Through her work on these, she directly influences clinical practice and the policies governing practice, and develops and implements education for patients and families.  She works tirelessly to identify – and address – gaps between inpatient care, and the information that patients and their loved ones need to successfully care for themselves at home.


This nurse has embodied integrity over all aspects of her 31-year professional career.  She pursued and received her MSN in Education, then post-master’s as a Clinical Nurse Specialist to be able to translate education into practice to improve patient care and clinical outcomes.  She is consistently recognized for not only patient-centered care and advocacy for patients and families, but also for mentorship and care for students, Nurses and Physicians across the learning continuum.  She recognizes gaps between inpatient care and information that patients need to successfully care for themselves at home.  She works tirelessly to address patient and family education to assure patients have the tools they need to positively affect their outcomes.  This involves working well beyond her scheduled shifts and assigned duties to gather materials, current evidence-based practice, best-practice models, and multi-disciplinary teams to address unique patient needs and situations.  She is instrumental in care redesign projects and committees across Duke Health to assure that we are all “doing the right thing” when it comes to clinical practice and education.  These include the Duke University Health System (DUHS) Clinical Practice Council, DUHS Patient Education Governance Council, and Patient-Controlled Analgesia Medication Safety Committee.


This nurse serves as a model to others for excellence in nursing.  She currently practices as an Advanced Practice Nurse.  Her academic progression includes a BSN from East Carolina University (ECU), a MSN in Education from Walden University, a post-master’s Clinical Nurse Specialist from ECU, and will complete her DNP from UNC-Chapel Hill in December of 2022.  She holds certifications in Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AGCNS-BC), Certified Pain Management Nurse (RN-BC), Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse (CPAN), and Medical-Surgical Nurse (RN-BC).

Her committee involvement includes Spine Health Redesign Committee (member), Pain Policy Workgroup (Co-Lead), DUHS Opioid Prescribing Committee (member), DUHS Pain Oversight Committee (member), Patient-Controlled Analgesia Medication Safety Committee (member), Patient Education Governance Council (member), Clinical Practice Council (member), Lung Transplant Redesign Committee (member, developed pain teaching handout).

Her knowledge sharing is evident, with dozens of presentations across local and national platforms.


This nurse often seeks new ways to develop and deliver patient care and patient education.  She has been involved in many task forces and projects to help improve care delivery and education.  Most notably and most recently she has been instrumental in:  DUHS Patient Education Governance Council, examining, editing, recommending improvements and providing expertise for education materials; Spine Care Redesign, contributing to innovative ways to care for patients with spine pain without surgical interventions; DUHS Opioid Prescribing Committee, assisting with the revision of opioid and opioid misuse education for patients; and the DUHS Pain Oversight Committee, improving pain and clinical care for amputee patients.  Through her work on these and other committees, she directly influences clinical practice and policies governing that practice, as well as translates the practice directly to patients and families through the development and implementation of education for patients and loved ones.


This nurse is key in providing a bridge across the organization between different disciplines.  In her work as an Advanced Practice Nurse, she routinely partners with Physicians, licensed and non-licensed staff, researchers, patients, families and administration to improve care and education across care platforms.  This attribute is further evidenced by her work on the multidisciplinary committees on which she serves.  Her expertise and experience are often recognized by the chairs of the committees, who ask her to lead design and implementation of care and education initiatives. She has the ability to effectively adjust her communication for her intended audience to achieve a desired outcome to improve patient care and policies guiding that care.

She also partners with others through professional organizations: American Nurses Association (ANA), North Carolina Nurses Association (NCNA), NCNA CNS Council, National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialist (NACNS), North Carolina NACNS (NCNACNS), American Society of Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN), Pain Nurses of North Carolina (PNoNC), American Society of Peri-Anesthesia Nurses (ASPAN), Triangle Association of PeriAnesthesia Nurses (TAPAN), and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society – Beta Nu Chapter.


This nurse demonstrates all elements of Swanson’s Theory of Caring on a daily basis; and she has for the past 31 years.  However, her ability to care for others is one of the attributes I admire the most.  I’ve had the pleasure for knowing her for 29 of these 31 years.  From our work together in the N.C. Jaycee Burn Center, to the many projects I have the opportunity to work with her on at DUHS, I’ve not often seen the level of dedication and caring for patients, families, and co-workers that she possesses.  She is often first to respond to a request for help and assistance with any project which requires her expertise.  She not only has cared for past and present nurses and patients, she is also dedicated to the future of nursing.  She constantly strives to make clinical care, education for patients and students, and the environment in which we work better than she found it.  Her multiple pursuits of higher education are evidence of dedication to advancing her knowledge and practice and assuring that knowledge improves the lives and outcomes of those for which she cares.  Her reputation is impeccable and celebrated by many individuals across many disciplines and many years.


This humble, yet strong, patient education leader is notable for decades of improving care and resources, which not only contributes to positive patient outcomes, but also to the future of nursing, as she shares her expertise and wisdom with all those fortunate enough to work with her.


Friends of Nursing Gala 2021

Friends of Nursing Gala 2021

Friends of Nursing Gala 2021