Congratulations to Crozer-Chester Medical Center Nursing Excellence Award Winners and Nightingale Award Nominees - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Congratulations to Crozer-Chester Medical Center Nursing Excellence Award Winners and Nightingale Award Nominees

Pictured from left to right, front row: Dee Austin, RN and *Joan Zekonis, RN. Back row: Maryann Manerchia, RN, Ann O'Donnell, RN, Donna McClellan, Krista Burnell, RN, BSN, Kathy Evans, RN, BSN and Nancy Bucher, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer.

Congratulations to the following nurses and unit secretary at Crozer-Chester Medical Center who were honored for excellence during a recent Nurses Week ceremony. Please click on their names to read their profiles.

* Editor's note: Joan Zekonis, RN, was awarded the Justin Methven Award for Excellence in Trauma Nursing during the ceremony. Her profile will appear in a future issue of the eNewsletter.

Dee Austin, RN

Krista Burnell, RN, BSN

Kathi Evans, RN, BSN

Maryann Manerchia, RN

Ann O'Donnell, RN

Donna McClellan

Dee Austin, RN

Dee Austin has been described as “the sweetest, kindest person on the 2 East ACE Unit.” Her colleagues say that she never has a bad day and is always willing to help. Austin’s patients love her kind and caring ways, and she is repeatedly mentioned by name in Press-Ganey patient satisfaction surveys. 

Although Austin is a 36-year veteran of Crozer-Chester Medical Center, she is relatively new to her current position on the ACE unit. When she transferred from 3 South last year, she was more than willing to acquire the new knowledge and skills she needed for this monitored unit.

Austin is an enthusiastic member of the ACE Unit Council and welcomes challenges that are presented to the group. She regularly suggests ways to improve patient outcomes and increase efficiency in delivering care, and she takes an active role in putting them into practice.

Austin is respected by her colleagues as a seasoned nurse who is a great asset to her unit and to the hospital. She enjoys sharing her wealth of nursing knowledge with others and especially enjoys taking new nurses under her wing. 

Krista Burnell, RN, BSN

When Krista Burnell joined Crozer five years ago, she began as a nurse educator. Although her position changed in 2008 when she became director of the 2 South Oncology Intermediate Care Unit, she is still educating staff and peers alike every day, leading by example with creativity and innovation. Burnell’s colleagues describe her as a team player with an engaging style who continually inspires her staff to reach for new heights of nursing excellence.

This 18-year nursing veteran continually thinks about ways to improve patient care and empowers her staff to help in this effort. For example, the 2 South Unit Council developed an oncology binder for PRN nurses to use as a reference source for care when they work on the unit since they are usually unfamiliar with caring for cancer patients. In another effort, Burnell facilitated the Unit Council’s efforts to change the procedure for taking report from taped to face to face report. Her staff has embraced this change which fosters accountability between shifts and saves time.

Last year, Burnell extended her efforts to include patients’ families. On an oncology unit like 2 South, family members are often grieving over the impending death of a loved one. Burnell worked with Nutrition Services to initiate a bereavement refreshment cart service on her unit with snacks and beverages offered to family members who are grieving. Many families have expressed their appreciation for this caring outreach. In May 2010, Burnell received Crozer’s quarterly Leadership Award for this effort.

One of Burnell’s earlier successes was the development and funding of an Emergency Department Nurse Fellowship Program in 2005. At that time, CKHS was facing a critical shortage of ED nurses and the program was designed to recruit recent nursing school graduates for a six-month accelerated training program at Crozer. Burnell obtained the necessary grant money to fund the program and she coordinated the effort. As a result, all 20 nurses who participated in the program were successfully placed in Crozer-Keystone emergency departments, fulfilling a vital need for the system. 

Burnell is the kind of nurse leader that commands the respect and admiration of everyone who works with her. 

Kathi Evans, RN, BSN

Kathi Evans is a Labor and Delivery nurse whose passion for nursing and healthcare goes far beyond the walls of Crozer-Chester Medical Center. Nine years ago, Evans co-founded Touching Lives Ministry, a non-profit organization whose focus is opening and supporting medical clinics for the poor around the world. As president of the ministry, Evans organizes annual medical mission trips, recruits volunteers to serve along with her, and obtains donations of money and supplies to support their efforts. 

This summer, Evans is leading a mission trip to Kenya. For 2011, she has set an even more challenging goal. She plans to open the first medical clinic in the Lake Victoria region of Kenya early next year. 

Evans supports these medical missions, in part, with the proceeds of a book she wrote and published in 2007 called Our Baby, Our Love, Our Loss. In writing this book, Evans unselfishly shared her own personal pain to help couples experiencing the loss of a baby, a loss she herself faced. She has also published an article and made presentations on perinatal loss for a number of community groups. Evans was recognized for her community outreach efforts by Crozer in 2007 with the Bertram Speare Spirit of Crozer Award.

Inside the walls of Crozer, Evans has been a dedicated Labor and Delivery nurse since 1983. She is often mentioned by name in Press-Ganey surveys when patients express their appreciation for her calm and soothing manner and wonderful care. A member of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, she is certified in childbirth education, inpatient obstetrics, and limited obstetrical ultrasound.

Maryann Manerchia, RN 

For most of her 33-year nursing career at Crozer, Maryann Manerchia has been an emergency nurse, a field that she loves. Over the years, she has acquired a vast body of knowledge and skills that she openly shares with new nurses and other co-workers. 

Manerchia is a role model in every sense of the word. She was one of Crozer’s first preceptors and still enjoys taking young nurses under her wing. Her warm, fun-loving personality makes learning an enjoyable experience for all those she teaches.

She is a wonderful advocate for patients and their families, making sure patients get the care they need, keeping them involved in the process, and updating their families regularly. It is very common for families to send letters of thanks to Crozer noting what an exceptional nurse she is.  

Manerchia is always enthusiastic about taking on new challenges and striving to make a positive impact.  She was involved in every step of bringing Crozer’s new ED and Trauma Center to fruition, serving on the construction and renovation team and the transition and implementation team. Whenever she hears about a new technology or treatment modality, she is the first to learn more about it, ask when Crozer is getting it, and then teach it to others. Co-workers say that her enthusiasm is contagious.

Recently, Manerchia participated in a new shadowing program for seniors at Penncrest High School who are considering career opportunities in healthcare. The student who shadowed Manerchia wrote an e-mail about the experience. Here is what he said: “I wasn’t 100 percent sure if I wanted to pursue a nursing career, but now I know that this is what I want to do with my life.” This exemplifies Manerchia’s contagious enthusiasm which has helped to launch many nursing careers while enriching emergency nursing at Crozer.

Ann O’Donnell, RN

Ann O’Donnell is the “go to” person in the Endoscopy Suite. Nominated for the Nursing Excellence Award  by nine co-workers, O’Donnell is described as an inspiration and a wonderful mentor. She regularly precepts new nurses while serving as a resource to all of her co-workers.  One colleague says, “You can ask Ann anything and she will give you her full attention. And you can go back and ask her the same question 10 times in a row and she will never make you feel stupid. She’s incredibly patient. Even new nurses are very comfortable about asking her for help because she is so kind and approachable, as well as knowledgeable.” 

O’Donnell is also known as being the calm in a storm. One colleague explains it this way: “We have a lot of noise and commotion in our department with phones ringing and so many people coming and going who need our attention. Ann is the nice, steady helm in a big sea of turbulence. She has a calming effect on everyone – nurses, physicians and patients.”  

Physicians have expressed their respect for her, and often request her to assist in their procedures. Patients appreciate her kindness and compassion. She treats each patient with respect, explaining every step of the process and addressing their concerns and questions.

A 32-year veteran of Crozer-Chester Medical Center, O’Donnell has also been a staff nurse on 2 South, the Burn Treatment Center and Emergency Department. She also worked in Case Management before joining the Endoscopy Unit in 2002. Throughout her career, she has been a role model who is highly respected by her peers. A co-worker says, “Ann is someone who people remember. Even people who worked with her years ago recall what a good nurse and a good person she was. She has always done an exemplary job.”

Donna McClellan

If someone has a question on 2 South, Unit Secretary Donna McClellan is probably the one who will answer it. Whether you are looking for a form that needs to be completed or information on the computer, McClellan will know where it is.

In addition to helping the staff, McClellan goes above and beyond to answer questions for family members and others who call the unit. She is an excellent critical thinker who can usually find the answer by looking at the patient’s chart. In those rare instances where she can’t, she takes the time to find the nurse, get the information and pass it along immediately to the family, rather than asking them to call back later to speak to the nurse. 

With 35 years of service on 2 South, McClellan has excellent knowledge of the hospital, the unit, the physicians and even medications. She is constantly alert to everything that is happening on the unit and has an uncanny ability to anticipate needs before she’s asked, saving critical time for  patients and staff.

She is also very conscious of the special needs of the oncology patients on the unit. If she hears a nurse comment that a patient is nearing the end of life and would like a private room, McClellan jumps into action works with patient flow coordinators to make it happen.

One of McClellan’s greatest assets is her ultra-calm demeanor. Everyone on the unit will tell you that she never, ever loses her cool, no matter what’s going on! She is always quiet, soft spoken and very professional with patient, families and physicians, as well as the nursing staff.