Audience members learned about the outstanding work of 69 nurses during NHRMC’s annual Nursing Excellence Awards on Thursday in separate ceremonies at NHRMC Orthopedic Hospital and at the NHRMC Auditorium.
At the conclusion, Chief Nurse Executive Mary Ellen Bonczek announced three award recipients:
- Eva Izzo, Orthopedic Hospital
- Amanda Cummings, Coronary Care Unit
- Carolyn Kucich, Surgery Navigation Center
NHRMC CEO John Gizdic opened the ceremonies with praise for our team of more than 2,200 staff nurses.
“All of our nurses share a common goal, providing the best possible care for our patients,” Gizdic said, commending the skills and mastery of the nominees. “It’s a tribute that, out of more 2,200 nurses across our system, that your peers and co-workers think so much of you.”
Gizdic mentioned how the nurses’ dedication carries beyond patients, mentioning specifically the Sewing Sundays program that knits surgical caps for patients, the program that recycles surgical wraps into mats for the homeless, and the nurses’ latest initiative – raising the money for a Habitat for Humanity House, which they will build.
“This is one of my favorite days of the year,” said Bonczek, who created the Nursing Excellence program 17 years ago.
Here’s a look at each of the winners:
Eva Izzo, Orthopedics Unit
Eva takes great pride in education for her patients. She is a valuable resource in the orthopedic department, and her knowledge and skill helps our patients succeed in their surgical recovery. Every patient she comes in contact with loves her.
She works as a preceptor for our new graduate nurses, and they are fortunate to have such a wonderful role model to teach them the orthopedic specialty. Her teammates say she has a way of bringing light to a tough day.
And, here’s what her patients and their families have to say: “This nurse has been the nicest hospital employee we have ever met in our lives. She has taken such good care of my mother. She is kind, thoughtful, and we have never met a nicer person." She is consistently referred to as an angel, and one of her patients named her his "guardian angel" during a follow-up discharge phone call.
See Eva’s video here.
Amanda Cummings, Coronary Care Unit
Amanda promotes degree advancement and specialty certification among her peers. Recently, she identified the need for more nurses in her area to obtain an additional specialty certification to serve a growing patient population. The she helped make sure the funding was available for this certification.
She is a team player, passionate about our most critical patients, and is always happy to help, especially in a Code Blue, when a patient’s life is at stake.
Amanda’s supervisor says she was "made for nursing!" She is blessed to have the gift of compassionate caring and understanding, which she projects to others instantly. Her calm demeanor puts patients and family members at ease when they are overwhelmed with fear and anxiety.
Amanda has also shown compassion toward ensuring health equity by starting a project to promote the competencies and needed inclusivity to serve the LGBTQ community who seek care in our organization.
See Amanda’s video here.
Carolyn Kucich, Surgery Navigation Center.
Carolyn is always looking at ways she can help others, even if that means jumpstarting a vehicle in the parking lot. During the past year, the Surgery Navigation Center has undergone significant changes. As Carolyn recognized how rapidly things were changing, she initiated weekly huddle recaps, which she sends to all staff members to make sure they didn’t miss anything.
Carolyn is always willing to help anyone out. She has gone in search of clothes for patients who come into the department wearing tattered clothes. She is always willing to step up give someone else a helping hand.
Here’s a recent example: Carolyn was late to work one morning, and her teammates were concerned because that’s out of character for her. She didn’t have a medical emergency or a problem with her children's transportation. Carolyn was late simply because she saw another person in need and was compelled to help.
A mother of three was walking down a sidewalk with her diaper bag and purse over her shoulder, pushing a stroller, carrying a child and holding the hand of a third. As she approached a stoplight, she tried to push the crosswalk button with her foot. That’s when Carolyn saw her and pulled over.
The mother had missed the bus and was taking one of the children to a doctor’s appointment. Carolyn empathized with the mother and knew she had to help. She also happened to have three appropriately sized car seats in her vehicle, so she gave the mother and her children a ride to the appointment.
When she arrived later at work, a co-worker asked if she was all right and where she had been.
“I was right where I needed to be,” Carolyn said.
See Carolyn’s video here.