Tina Steele, RN, IBCLC
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Nominated by NICU Nursing Director Marianne Cummings, MSN, RN, and educator Marie T. Field, MS, RN, with letters of support from Katherine Gregory, PhD, RN, Haley Nurse Scientist; Julianne Mazzawi, MS, RN, assistant nursing director of the NICU; and Robert Insoft, MD, medical director of the NICU.
For babies who begin their lives in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), growing to a healthy weight is essential, and mother's milk is the key. As a clinical nurse and lactation consultant in the NICU, Tina Steele, RN, IBCLC, witnessed firsthand the struggles that mothers of NICU babies faced when their milk supply was low. To meet the nutritional needs of the babies and foster closer bonds between mothers and babies, she was inspired to establish BWH's first donor human milk program.
"Through her leadership and focused efforts, Tina established a donor human milk program for our unit, which has gone on to benefit countless families in our hospital and has served as a model for many other Boston-area NICUs to follow," said Marianne Cummings, MSN, RN, nursing director. "Simply said, babies from all over the area who otherwise would not have gotten human milk two years ago now receive the benefits."
Steele has also been described as an exemplary nurse who embodies compassion and professionalism in all her efforts. She excels at primary nursing and is also involved in neonatal research. She is currently the principal investigator on a study that compares the benefits of donor milk, mother's milk and formula for premature infants. In 2011, she received the Department of Nursing's Lily Kravitz Award to support the study and has presented her preliminary findings to her nursing colleagues.
"Although her findings were preliminary, they suggest that donor human milk and mother's milk are associated with improved outcomes," said Marie Field, MS, RN, nurse educator. "When I reflect on what makes a nurse stand out, I think of a nurse who is a change agent, who identifies a clinical need or a better way to practice, then takes the lead to improve that practice. Tina is that kind of leader."
Steele received her diploma from the Worcester City Hospital School of Nursing, and is on track to earn her BSN from Emmanuel College in 2014. Her nursing experience spans 22 years, specializing in neonatal intensive care. She has been a nurse at many local medical centers, including UMass Memorial Hospital and Women and Infant's Hospital in Providence, RI.