1. Brunt, Barbara MA, MN, RN-BC, NE-BC

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LAST YEAR WE called for nominations for the individual who best represents Nursing2011's four pillars of excellence:

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Elevate, Inspire, Innovate, Energize.


The winner, selected from many impressive entries, was Victoria M. Wells, MSN, RN, CAPA, surgical services educator at Summa Akron City Hospital in Akron, Ohio. Here is the winning essay, submitted by her colleague, Barbara Brunt, MA, MN, RN-BC, NE-BC.



Vickie Wells is passionate about lifelong learning and serves as a role model for others. After graduating from a diploma program in 1974, she went back to school and graduated summa cum laude from the BSN program at Walsh University, North Canton, Ohio. She subsequently returned to school to receive an MSN in education while working full-time and caring for her parents.


Vickie is an American Heart Association instructor for both advanced cardiac life support and basic life support (BLS) and has maintained her status as a certified ambulatory perianesthesia nurse since 2003. She frequently conducts BLS retraining classes in the OR area so that surgical services staff can more easily attend.


Vickie also coordinates an annual seminar for surgical services personnel to share the latest evidence and newest techniques in the field. She reviewed and updated the orientation for preadmission testing, same-day surgery, OR, postanesthesia care unit (PACU), and specialty surgery center, ensuring that preceptors have current evidence-based materials to validate competencies.



Vickie was selected as the Cameos of Caring(R) recipient for Summa Akron City Hospital in 2008 for her inspiration and caring. Serving as a Cameo Ambassador, she promoted nursing to high school and college students and members of the community. She then became a founding member of the Cameo Alumni Association. That group presented a poster, "From Cameos of Caring Ambassador to Cameo Alumni Association," at the 2010 Nursing Congress.


She's served as a faculty member at Walsh University, inspiring nursing students to be the best that they can be. She also coordinated a group of students from the Northeast Ohio Nursing Initiative who were shadowing nurses. When the OR implemented a computerized documentation system, Vickie joined the development and design team. She also became a super user/trainer for our hospital's computerized prescriber order entry system and worked with staff members on all shifts to help them become more comfortable with the system. One of the managers who works with Vickie commented, "Vickie is a dynamic individual who has inspired me to strive for clinical excellence with the staff in PACU."


Vickie coordinated a certification review course for the staff members in surgical services. She mentored a group of 12 same-day surgery nurses to encourage them to seek certification, developed a weekly outline, created a training notebook, and came in on her own time every Saturday to promote a round table discussion as a learning arena for the nurses. As a result of that program, all 12 nurses in surgical services became certified.


When surgical services had to implement a new universal protocol, she worked tirelessly with the physicians and other key stakeholders to ensure compliance with the new policy and procedure.



When nurses in the preadmission testing and same-day surgery area indicated they wanted to learn more about identifying heart sounds and other assessment skills, Vickie arranged time for them to practice and complete competencies in the virtual care simulation lab. She also coordinated the "rolling refresher" cart for PACU personnel. (A rolling refresher program is a multidisciplinary skill retention approach involving simulations conducted on nursing units.)


To encourage more staff members to become knowledgeable about the various aspects of Magnet(R) recognition, Vickie arranged lunchtime sessions to review information from self-learning packets and DVDs.


Vickie also developed and presented several sessions on evidence-based pain management practices related to perianesthesia. She facilitated a nursing grand rounds presentation entitled, "Are You an Advocate for Acute Pain Management?" featuring team members from the anesthesia and pharmacy departments as speakers.


Vickie helped facilitate cross-training for the obstetrics and OR staff to ensure standardized care for pregnant trauma patients. She created a time-out video for new residents starting their surgical rotations. She also has worked on several SCIP (Surgical Care Improvement Project) initiatives, creating a poster for staff awareness.



Vickie is a past cochair and current member of the Education Council. She also leads the Quality Improvement Council of Shared Governance for Surgical Services. She collates statistical information and provides monthly reports to staff and surgeons. She has been recognized as a clinical ladder nurse for over 8 years and now mentors other nurses working on this recognition. She's helped several staff with various nursing research projects, including a sleep apnea study involving surgical patients.


Vickie received the Preceptor Excellence Award from the Akron City Women's Board and teaches surgical services preceptors about their roles. She assisted at a local medical school as a volunteer, coaching medical students with procedures such as nasogastric tube insertion. She donated the honorarium to the staff development educational fund.


Vickie is a voting member of the Summa Institutional Review Board. To learn more about research, she collected data for a screening postpartum depression pilot study. She also collaborated with the women's health staff development instructor to research applying principles and guidelines of doula care to surgical services. (A doula is a woman who assists women during labor and after childbirth.) She met with the founder of doula care principles for obstetrics to discuss research possibilities.


Vickie is an enthusiastic volunteer at work and in the community. When the hospital was planning activities for the Nurses Week 2010 celebration, she made and prepared individual bags of kettle corn for over 2,000 nurses. She volunteers for many community ventures and is very active in her family's extracurricular functions. With her deep-centered faith she donates her time, supporting charitable causes on the weekends. Because of her exceptional energy and passion for excellence, she's an outstanding role model for the nursing profession.