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2012 Minnegerode Awards for Nursing Excellence Award Winners

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The United States Public Health Nursing Professional Advisory Committee (N-PAC) would like to acknowledge the recipients of the 2012 Minnigerode Awards for Nursing Excellence (MANE). They were recognized at Nursing Recognition Day on May 4, 2012 at NIH. Each recipient demonstrates resourcefulness and dedication to the mission of the Public Health Service and adds immense value to the art and science of nursing.  These awards collectively recognize nurses whose professional and technical skills and competence continue to raise the quality of nursing.

Congratulations to the winners!


The five MANE awards are given to DHHS nurses who demonstrate through innovation and creativity, outstanding nursing contributions with measurable benefits.

McLaughlin Award for Clinical Services recognizes a nurse who demonstrates exemplary leadership and skill resulting in noteworthy accomplishments as a clinician over a period of time focusing on the timely and ethical delivery of health care in a direct care setting.  The 2012 award was awarded to LT Thomas Liles, Nurse Practitioner at the Federal Detention Center (FDC) Honolulu, Hawaii, for performing at a level of proficiency and dedication distinctly greater than that expected of an officer from February to December of 2011.

LT Liles took initiative to go beyond his role as a direct care provider in our clinic, volunteering to take over patient scheduling for all areas of the Health Services Unit. He coordinates daily with medical records, dental personnel, the lab technician, the optometry clinic, the x-ray technician, and other mid-level providers to ensure timely and efficient patient flow into our clinic. The results -a 33% improvement in the speed of completing physical exams and a decrease in the daily average of pending sick -call appointments from 150 to less than 10.  Due to the recent transfer of our seasoned Chief Physician, LT Liles’ leadership ability was put to the test. The loss of a Clinical Director has an impact on any staff, but due to our already short-staffed situation, the impact was magnified significantly. LT Liles was thrust into a position of being the in-house clinician responsible for the medical care of an unstable, high-risk and medically underserved population of approximately 700 adult male and female inmates. These inmates may be pretrial in custody of the U.S. Marshals Service, detainees in custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, State of Hawaii Department of Corrections inmates boarding at the FDC, or sentenced federal prisoners designated to this facility. FDC Honolulu houses inmates of all security levels, which makes this a more complex hazardous duty assignment. In spite of being extremely short-staffed, LT Liles responded to the challenge by working double-shifts or weekends when necessary to provide appropriate medical care for our patient population. In addition, LT Liles has been the on-call provider on a continual basis since the departure of the Clinical Director. His clinical, leadership, and management skills have been crucial to our maintaining compliance with Bureau of Prisons standards regarding medical treatment for chronic disease states, as well as our recent 100% score on an inspection by the American Correctional Association.

His superb duty performance and leadership skills were recently recognized via a letter of appreciation from the Bureau of Prisons Western Regional Director. The junior staff in our department, contractors, and other mid-level providers all look to him for guidance and leadership on a daily basis. LT Liles coordinated with a Bureau of Prisons facility on the mainland to implement the first tele-orthopedic clinic conducted at FDC Honolulu, and has laid the groundwork to continue this valuable program on an ongoing basis. LT Liles’ innovative approach will have the dual benefit of cost savings and enhanced institution security. The cost savings will derive from decreased trips to expensive medical specialists, and the increased security will result from fewer medical trips into the local community.  LT Liles is the Hawaii state representative for the USPHS ‘Every Nurse is an Ambassador Campaign’, increasing the interface between the PHS and the nursing schools located in the state of Hawaii. He is also an active member of the Junior Officer Advisory Group’s Retention and Recruitment Committee, and has recruited for the PHS and Bureau of Prisons on numerous occasions. The commitment of LT Liles extends well beyond this facility as a new member of RDF-5, and he recently completed a deployment to assist an underserved Indian Health Service hospital in South Dakota. The exceptional leadership and dedication displayed by this stellar officer on a consistent basis is evident from the record, and he is highly deserving of the McLaughlin Award for Clinical Services.

Hanzel Award for Administrative Activities recognizes a nurse who demonstrates exemplary leadership as a nurse executive resulting in noteworthy accomplishments.  The 2012 award was presented to Clare Hastings, RN, PhD, FAAN for her outstanding accomplishments from 2007 through 2010 and significant contributions in defining the roles of clinical nurses within the national clinical research infrastructure and for setting a standard for integrating patient care and management within the clinical research process. Dr. Hastings is the Chief Nurse Officer of Nursing and Patient Care Services at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. She directs patient care services that support intramural research activities conducted by the National Institutes of Health at its 240-bed research hospital and ambulatory care facility in Bethesda, Maryland This includes a staff of over 600 nurses and allied health professionals. As the Chief Nurse Officer, Dr. Hastings is responsible for nursing practice, standards, policies and professional development of all nurses practicing at the Clinical Center. She also represents the discipline of nursing and the perspective of patient care services within the senior executive team at the Clinical Center, is accountable for defining and overseeing resources needed to provide outstanding and reliable support for patient care and clinical research support as well as providing executive leadership for a nursing research program at the Clinical Center.

In January, 2007, under Dr. Hastings’ leadership and vision, the Clinical Center Nursing Department at the NIH launched a four-year strategic plan to lead an international effort to define the specialty practice of clinical research nursing. This initiative was launched to address key issues from clinical staff and to address issues from the 2006 nursing department operational review. Dr. Hastings’ vision for this initiative was for the Clinical Center to lead the Nation in developing a specialty practice model for Clinical Research Nursing that could lead to a national certification process and to develop a model to define the roles and contributions of nurses who practice within the clinical research enterprise. Dr. Hastings’ plan also included development and dissemination of practice documents, standards and management tools for implementing clinical research nursing across a wide continuum of practice settings. This initiative was coined as “Clinical Research Nursing 2010, or CRN 2010”. Through Dr. Hastings’ leadership and support, these efforts used a team structure which included all leadership members of Nursing and Patient Care Services and the nursing Shared Governance chairs and co-chairs. Each year since 2007, “2010 Teams” were charged with specific outcomes to meet the long-range goals of the initiative.  As of 2010, Dr. Hastings’ CRN 2010initiative has achieved its original goals, among which include: defining the specific clinical activities, competences and educational requirements for nurses implementing and managing patient care in a research environment; validation of the defined clinical activities and domains of practice of clinical research nursing through a Delphi survey of national experts, results published in Oncology Nursing Forum; completed of a role delineation study to describe the frequency and perceived importance of activities performed by nurses in a clinical research setting and also to delineate the differences in practice (activities/dimensions) across different roles; developed a communication and dissemination plan to report findings from the CRN 2010initiative to research staff at the Clinical Center and across the country; developed policies and a committee titled “Research Participant Education Committee” to manage educational materials, programs, policies, standards, and resources for education of research participants at the Clinical Center;  provided vision and senior leadership for a model of care to support clinical research nursing that included changes to electronic medical record documentation; and established and led a collaborative group to design a course that instructs staff on the foundations of clinical research nursing and importance of evidence-based practice in nursing practice.

Hasselmeyer Award for Research Initiatives is given to a DHHS nurse who demonstrates exemplary leadership resulting in noteworthy accomplishments in conducting nursing research and clinical investigation which stimulates the development of new knowledge and practice in nursing and/or the health professions. The 2012 Hasselmeyer Award was presented to Gwenyth R. Wallen, PhD, RN for her outstanding accomplishments and significant contributions as a nursing leader and independent clinical scientist.

Dr. Wallen’s research over the last decade has focused in 3 major areas: 1) health behaviors and beliefs among vulnerable populations in the context of health disparities, 2) respondent burden as an ethical issue in clinical research; and 3) integrative approaches to pain and symptom management. Dr. Wallen is Chief of Nursing & Translational Science within Nursing & Patient Care Services at the NIH Clinical Center. She leads a diverse group of nurse scientists and research support staff within the Nursing Department who conduct independent and Collaborative nursing research. Dr. Wallen also holds an appointment as a Nurse Scientist, with a complete portfolio of independent research. Dr. Wallen’s research interest in understanding health behaviors and beliefs in vulnerable understudied populations’ stems from an acknowledgment as a researcher that multiple variables influence the adoption of healthy behaviors and that it is individual’s interpersonal, social and cultural factors that can inhibit or promote change.

Since 2002, Dr. Wallen has published numerous peer reviewed papers which focus on her research and training priorities described previously. Additionally, in 2008, she coauthored a book chapter on palliative care outcome measures at a time when investigators in this area of research continued to struggle in reaching consensus on what measures best describe individuals in their experiences at the end of life. Dr. Wallen’s research in respondent burden in clinical trials found that a major contributing factor impacting participant burden was the fact that many patients were enrolled on multiple studies beyond the primary trial that originally brought them to the research center. Despite a busy research and training portfolio at the NIH, she continues to provide consultation in mixed methods and cognitive interviewing to colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Wallen is actively enrolling research participants in her study that is evaluating the effectiveness of hypnosis as a pain and symptom strategy for sickle cell disease patients. Furthermore, her studies and research goals include the continuation of exploring and identifying physiological, psychosocial. cultural and spiritual dimensions in underserved and under-represented populations through qualitative, quantitative and mixed method approaches. Her outstanding contributions include the mentorship of nurses completing their pre-doctoral and post-doctoral training and also to guide and mentor staff and advanced practice nurses interested in evidence based practice careers in clinical investigation. Dr. Wallen has described her research and mentorship of health disparities fellows as the cornerstones for her role as a leader in nursing science and advanced practice nursing at the Clinical Center. She has been previously recognized by a Director’s Scientific Award (2005) and the U.S. Public Health Service Chief Nurse Officer Award (2007) for outstanding contributions to nursing research.

Petry Leone Award for Health Promotion and Education is given to a DHHS nurse who demonstrates exemplary leadership resulting in noteworthy accomplishments in patient/client or professional education, which informs and educates consumers and/or health care practitioners about significant health related issues and promotes healthy lifestyles.The 2012 award was presented to LCDR Heidi Rogers in recognition for her outstanding performance and leadership in patient care services and promotion of continuing education.

She has demonstrated excellence in performance above and beyond the scope of her present duty. Of the 959 inmates housed at the Federal Medical Center (FMC) many are serving longer sentences, requiring various medical treatments. Coupled with the large aging population and the unhealthy inmate population, the need for long term intravenous therapy is great. LCDR Rogers recognized this need with her certification in PICC lines. The newly organized Vascular Access Team (VAT) is responsible for obtaining central line access for patients. Due to the potential toxicity of many caustic intravenous drugs (chemotherapy and antibiotics), and the increase use of blood products for many hematologic conditions the need for PICC line placement has increased significantly. Many patients have had to delay treatments, or the provider had to change treatment plans if the patients had no central line access. This was a major problem in patient care because the delay or the substandard treatment plan either worsened the disease process or condition and ultimately was not cost effective for the institution. LCDR Rogers’ dedication to health promotion among patient care is apparent with her collateral nursing duty as a member of the VAT. She became a certified member in 2010, and she currently functions as nurse educator, and instructor and coordinates PICC placements within the institution. LCDR Rogers has placed approximately 60 PICC lines in-house, thereby impeding a cost avoidance to FMC. The 60 PICC lines placed cost approximately $105,000 (approximately $175 per PICC). This is a direct cost-savings to Federal Correctional Center Butner of approximately $22,500/year in comparison to local community hospital costs for this procedure. As co-chair of the Chief Nurse’s Education Workgroup, she methodically organized monthly live presentations given by experts in the field. Nurses nationwide are able to review the recorded session via CENTRA, any time of the day, and receive free continuing education credits. The monthly presentations provide an essential resource to BOP nurses because they are able to obtain the required continuing education credits needed.

As a result of her leadership and direction, her 15 member workgroup has managed to award participating nurses one continuing education hour. Since the initiation of the work group in February 2011 to January 2012, approximately 376 nurses were awarded continuing education credits by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).  LCDR Rogers exemplifies leadership with her significant contributions to patient care and continuing education which validates her nomination for the Petry Leone Award for health promotion and education.

Gregg Group Award for Teamwork is given to exemplary leadership contributions by a team of nurses resulting in noteworthy accomplishments and positive outcomes towards the attainment of PHS goals. The recipients of the 2012 award were Lea Latham, MS, RN, ANP-C, CDR, USPHS; Brenda Mitchell, BSN, RN, CDR, USPHS;  Monica Morris, MS, RN, FNP-C, LCDR, USPHS; Akara Ingram, MPH, RN , LT, USPHS; Terry Smith, MSPS, RN, LT, USPHS; STG Contract Nurses: Ryan Antokal, RN; Richard Bradford, RN; Jennifer Carrera, RN; Maria Cornejo, RN; Michael Durtschi, RN; Racquel Llanas,RN; John Nordstrom, RN; Violet Odhiambo, RN; Arlene Putnam, RN; Michael Reed, RN; Cecilia Riley, RN; and  Cindy Villaneuva, RN in recognition of for their exemplary leadership, teamwork and interdisciplinary efforts in restructuring the mental health program at the ICE Medical Facility Pinal County, Arizona.

The primary goals of the restructuring were to increase the patient’s access to mental health care and increase patient safety. Other goals were to decrease the number of out of facility referrals for mental health care through early intervention of mental health issues and to establish an accessible database to track mental health services provided. This team’s ability to effectively collaborate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement administration, Pinal County Jail administration, and the facility’s mental health clinicians led to an efficient and timely reorganization of the mental health program.

The ICE Medical Facility Pinal County maintains a daily average detainee population of 450 detainees. Review of patient data revealed that over 80% of detainees in the facility have histories of domestic violence, substance abuse and various mood disorders. In November 2010, social worker LCDR Anthony Johnson arrived and initiated a defined Mental Health Department within the facility, and a new program utilizing a triage assessment of detainees to prioritize care for mental health needs was initiated. The nursing staff was instrumental in this reorganization as nurses are the first line of contact for the detainee. The nominees were open and active participants in the transformation, contributing to the success of the program. The nurses’ knowledge of mental health disorders and behaviors, communication and assessment skills as well as appropriate planning and interventions were essential for a successful program change. LCDR Johnson was awarded the AMSUS Allied Health Professional Award in 2011 personally for his efforts in implementing the improved mental health program.  The team provided compassionate nursing mental health services to detained immigrants in accordance with the mission of the PHS to provide care to underserved and disadvantaged populations. They exhibited superior performance through their leadership, providing vision and purpose in Immigration Health through inspiration, dedication and loyalty. This team exceeded expectations in teamwork, which reflects their dedication and commitment to public service. Under the previous mental health program the facility received an efficiency rating of 65%, which was below National Detention Standards (NDS). The implementation of the improved mental health program has brought the facility to a 100% efficiency rating in accordance with NDS and the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare Standards (NCCHC). The facility now meets criteria and had applied for NCCHC accreditation. Also, detainee access to mental health services has increased by approximately 75% since implementation of the new, stream-lined program; since implementation of the new mental health program, security leadership reports there has been a 50% reduction in detainee disciplinary actions; the referral response time for mental health evaluations has been reduced by 75% each month; the number of detainees placed on suicide watch decreased by over 50% from 2010 to 2011. There were no completed suicide attempts either year; the formation of a shared database has increased efficiency by providing clarity in patient status and patient tracking for optimal patient care. It is a tribute to the nursing staff for early identification and referral, and the overall success of this newly developed mental health program.