Letter from CNO, SVP Mairead Hickey
May is the time of year when we take the opportunity to recognize the talents and skills of our clinical nursing staff in some special ways. One of my favorite recognition events is the presentation of the Essence of Nursing Award.
Each year, it becomes more difficult to select one recipient of the award because all the nominees are extraordinary nurses. In my role as CNO at BWH, I have watched with pride as your practice grows stronger and more expert. When I hear stories of the ways in which you make a difference for particular patients and families on a daily basis, I am in awe of the work that you do.
In my letters in BWH Nurse and in other communications, I have shared my thoughts about what expert nursing practice looks like at BWH. The exemplars of this year’s Essence of Nursing Award nominees bring that expertise to life.
We learn of the skills of Corinne Cyr Pryor, a nurse in the NICU, as she creates new clinical knowledge about neonatal pain. One of Pryor’s colleagues, who nominated her for the award, said, “Corinne was convinced that babies felt pain but responded to it differently than adults did. Her intuition and drive paid off for many babies who now benefit from her efforts to develop neonatal pain management guidelines and pain scales.” We hear about Nancy Olsen Bailey’s extraordinary clinical leadership practice with brain tumor patients, and learn about the “calls from all over the world, from patients and even former neurosurgical residents, now attending physicians elsewhere, seeking Nancy’s advice.” Rhonda Martin, a member of the Float Pool, took her expert ICU nursing skills and stalwart resolve to Nepal where she was part of a Himalayan Rescue Association research project investigating prevention and treatment of acute mountain sickness. A physician colleague said, “Rhonda was absolutely invaluable to the success of the project through her dedication and determination, despite very harsh living conditions and significant obstacles to achieving our goals.” And we learn about the careful, creative and respectful ways that Mary Beth Mondello, a nurse in the Neuroscience ICU, brings new nurses into that challenging practice. Vince Vacca, the unit’s nurse educator, said, “The experiences of these new nurses were positive and rewarding, so much so that most of them still work in the Neuro ICU today. Much of the credit belongs to our excellent preceptors, and in particular, to Mary Beth.”
And finally, in the practice of Beth Baldwin, the Essence of Nursing Award recipient, we see Beth’s incredible skill in managing the boundaries of the nurse-patient relationship so that her patient’s dignity is preserved and the patient and her family can work toward achieving a peaceful death for her. The husband of this patient said, “Beth knew exactly when to step in and offer advice, when to step back and provide privacy, when to offer support and when to help us grieve.” In addition to focusing on the care of her patients, Beth has led highly effective patient education initiatives, modeled for other nurses how to integrate clinical innovation into her practice, and she is integrally involved in a pilot nursing education program with UMass-Boston.
These five nurses set the standard for the best in our collective practice, as they make the extraordinary commonplace in their daily work. Working alongside them, we can see that great things really are possible for all of us and for the patients and families in our care. So, with great pride and a renewed sense of hope for all that we will accomplish together in the coming year, I congratulate every nurse on our staff and wish you a very happy Nurses’ Month!
Mairead Hickey, PhD, RN
Chief Nursing Officer and
Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services