National Magnet Nurse of the Year® 2014 award winners

The National Magnet Nurse of the Year® awards from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) recognize the outstanding contributions of clinical nurses from Magnet®-recognized organizations in each of the five Magnet Model components—transformational leadership; structural empowerment; exemplary professional practice; new knowledge,
innovations, and improvements; and empirical outcomes. The 2014 award winners were recognized at the ANCC National Magnet Conference® in Dallas on October 9, 2014.

Transformational Leadership

Deborah D. Pennington, BSN, RN
Neonatal Medical Home Clinical
Program Coordinator
The University of Kansas Hospital Kansas City

A pioneer and tireless advocate with 25 years of experience as a neonatal intensive care nurse, Deborah has helped transform the way care is provided to premature and other infants who are discharged home from the neonatal intensive care unit. As a clinical nurse and program coordinator for an innovative, hospital-based neonatal medical home, she partners with parents in helping to meet the medical, psychological, educational, and health maintenance needs of their child. This unique model allows a collaborative team of physicians, nurses, therapists, case managers, and specialists to plan care in one location, reducing the number of appointments the family must attend with their fragile newborn. Deborah’s leadership, passion, and commitment extend beyond clinic walls. She leads the neonatal medical home’s effort to participate in the national Reach Out and Read Program, which creates a literacy-rich environment that teaches parents the importance of reading aloud to their children. She also leads the Fluoride Varnish Program, which supports the dental health of children by preventing and controlling tooth decay.

Structural Empowerment

Melissa A. Kramer, BSN, RN, CEN, SANE-A, SANE-P
RN Emergency Department and Community Outreach Council Chair
Lancaster General Hospital
Lancaster, Pennsylvania

An emergency department nurse, certified adult and pediatric sexual assault nurse examiner, and previous codirector of the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Program, Melissa demonstrates unparalleled commitment to patient care, education, and community service. As a sexual assault nurse examiner, she developed protocols for the treatment of pediatric victims that align with best-practice national standards. Recognizing HIV testing, education, and treatment as essential components of the sexual assault examination, she developed an HIV prophylaxis protocol and algorithm for the emergency department. As chair of the Community Outreach Council, she developed the Nurses Innovating Community Engagement program (NICE) to provide assistance to children in need by adopting a local high-poverty school and by developing satellite programs. Her leadership in prevention and policy work and her community engagement empower nurses to improve patient outcomes and advance the health of the communities they serve. A committed educator, Melissa serves as an adjunct faculty member at the local Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) Area Community College and is enrolled in the family nurse practitioner program at Millersville University (Pennsylvania).

Exemplary Professional Practice

Jacqueline Murray, PhD, BSN, RN, CPN
Brain Injury Nursing Program Coordinator
Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora


As the brain-injury nursing program coordinator, Jacqueline focuses on preventing and coordinating interprofessional care for traumatic brain injury in children. With an extraordinary focus on safety and prevention, she was instrumental in coordinating her team’s support for passage of Colorado Senate Bill 11-040, the Jake Snakenberg Youth Concussion Act. Signed into law in March 2011, the bill requires coaches of all youth-organized sports involving children ages 11 to 18 to undergo annual concussion-recognition education. A monumental success in securing the best evaluation and treatment for all children involved in youth sports, this act is used as model legislation in other states. As an expert consultant, Jacqueline provides concussion training for coaches, parents, and athletes throughout Colorado and Wyoming. Her passion for preventing traumatic brain injury in children helped influence the development of a regional concussion registry. In 2013, she helped create the Non-Accidental Brain Injury Care Clinic, which provides family-centered care for infants and young children diagnosed with nonaccidental brain injuries.

New Knowledge, Innovations & Improvements

Paula Kobelt, MSN, RN-BC
Outcomes Manager, Pain Management and Complementary Therapies
OhioHealth Grant Medical Center Columbus

Paula’s passion for new knowledge and innovation improved safety and patient outcomes through evidence-based practice and groundbreaking research. As the primary investigator for an institutional review board-approved study, Paula and her team sought to improve patient safety by implementing a standardized approach to preventing unwanted opioid-related sedation in the post­anesthesia care unit. Study results showed the new protocol increased nurses’ confidence in avoiding unwanted sedation. The results were cited in the new national evidence-based practice recommendations to prevent unwanted sedation in adults after surgery. Paula currently is conducting an evidence-based practice project that focuses on assisting surgery patients with comfort-care preferences and pain-management expectations. The “Comfort Card” provides nurses and other care providers with consistent, patient-driven comfort plans before and after surgery. As the leader for complementary therapies, she developed and implemented a program that includes healing touch, massage therapy, animal-assisted activity, drumming, and guided imagery. Patients receive a multifaceted approach to pain management through joy, stress reduction, and comfort distraction.

Empirical Outcomes

Kirsten Roberts, MSN-Ed, RN, CVN-I BC
Heart Failure Nurse Navigator
DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital Commerce Township, Michigan

Kirsten’s dedication to improving patient outcomes led her to develop a collaborative heart failure nurse navigator role. Focusing on improving the continuum of care for heart failure patients, this collaborative role provides personalized care, education, support groups, and exercise programs to increase the patient’s quality of life. To address primary prevention, Kristen led the development and implementation of a sodium screening project for the Michigan Society for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. Under her leadership, 17 hospitals joined the project and more than 1,700 patients were screened and participated in initiatives to improve their knowledge of sodium intake. As a result, the patients’ average daily sodium intake decreased by 5%. More recently, she began a nurse-led study to assess the impact of supervised exercise for heart failure patients. Preliminary results are promising, showing a statistically significant difference in hospital admission rates concurrent with participation and for 6 months after program completion. Other benefits noted were a decrease in depression, improved quality of life, and an increase in functional status. n

Christina L. Dobson is director of special projects and program support for the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

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