BIDMC salutes its nurses
The cheers coming from Fenway Park were not for the Red Sox, the Rolling Stones or the Liverpool Football club. Instead, nurses were the star attraction on Monday night at what was arguably the hottest ticket in town - the annual BIDMC Nursing Awards ceremony at the State Street Pavilion club high atop Fenway Park.
It's a special night to honor many of the wonderful contributions to excellent patient care provided around the clock by BIDMC nurses. This year, 64 nurses and three nursing assistive personnel were honored through 20 awards. An additional 29 employees were honored with nursing scholarships amounting to $100,000 (two are pursuing their initial nursing degree, 10 are working for their bachelors of science degree in nursing, and 17 are enrolled in master's degree programs).
President and CEO Kevin Tabb, MD, congratulated the nurses winning awards and thanked all the nurses present for their hard work. "It is true that I'm a physician, but I also worked for four years as a nurse in a CCU," Tabb said. "I spent two-to-three nights a week in a CCU while in medical school in Israel where almost all medical students work first as a nurse. That experience certainly gave me an incredible understanding and appreciation for what each one of you does every day. Could you imagine if we did that here, if all physicians first worked as a nurse?"
Sam Kennedy, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the Red Sox, whose son and daughter were both born at BIDMC, welcomed and praised the nurses, saying, "I know for a fact this is the most important group within the walls of BIDMC."
Cindy Phelan, RN, Interim Vice President, Patient Care Services, and Chief Nursing Officer, and Laurie Bloom, RN, Director of Professional Development, hosted the Lois E. Silverman Department of Nursing Awards Ceremony.
"We are in a sea of change, as it seems we always are," said Phelan. "But despite the unknowns we're able to focus on what's really important - and that is our patients and our nursing practice. I know that's the case because all things point to our success. Infections are down. Patient satisfaction scores are up. The number of falls resulting in injury are down. The number of our nurses involved in research and academic pursuits are up. None of that would be possible without your hard work and dedication."
Bloom kicked off the awards by introducing a special tribute video presentation about the 11 nurses selected by their peers for the Gitta and Saul Kurlat Award for Nursing Excellence and the Edward and Marilyn Schwartz Awards for Excellence in Nursing Practice, many of whom were nominated for outstanding patient advocacy, patient education, peer education and/or spirit.
The applause from colleagues was rock star worthy over the course of the two-hour-plus ceremony as awardees pinned with corsages were called forward to accept their awards presented by department chiefs, physicians and nursing leaders.
"Some people think I'm the boss; some people think Bruce Springsteen is the Boss. Belinda is the boss," Mark Josephson, MD, Chief, Cardiovascular Medicine, joked in presenting the CVI Excellence in Cardiovascular Nursing Award to Belinda Morse, RN, Clinical Advisor, Electrophysiology Service.
"Belinda does her job with fire, intensity, compassion and patience. Help and care are of paramount importance," said Josephson. "God help anyone who crosses that code she has about her patients."
Before presenting the Internal Medicine Residency Nursing Excellence Award to Alexandra Smith, RN, Julius Yang, MD, PhD, Hospitalist, gave his heartfelt thanks to the BIDMC nursing staff for the exceptional care he witnessed as a family member when his mom was being treated for cancer.
"She was very brave, but she was very scared and watching her struggle with her cancer diagnosis I observed the way you took care of her," said Yang. "The doctors (helped) yes, but it was the nurses who truly gave her the strength, the dignity and the comfort she needed in her last years of life. My family is forever grateful for that."
In presenting the award to Alexandra "Cassie" Smith, RN, he spoke of how the award, now in its 10th year, was created at the suggestion of residents who felt that their best mentors and teachers - the nurses - were slighted when it came recognition at the annual teaching awards.
"We learn so much in how to care for patients, how to care for patients families, how to care for each other, how to manage, and how to lead from the role models we have on our units every day," said Yang. "Cassie has been a great role model on CC7 for four years now. It's been great to watch her develop into an outstanding manager and leader for all of us as she's taken over the role of resource; teaching not just her colleagues, but also the residents and interns. And for that we are all very grateful."
Between praising the passion and professionalism BIDMC nurses exhibit on behalf of their patients, the night was also a celebration of friendship and love shared between colleagues and friends.
"I've been a BID nurse for so long," Yole Morocco, RN, a 35-year veteran of the Emergency Department, said afterwards when asked what it meant to win the Excellence in Emergency Nursing Award, "I grew up here. I met my husband here. All my friends are here. It's like family. And it's just nice to be recognized."