Each May, University of Maryland Shore Regional Health recognizes excellence in nursing at a formal awards ceremony held at the Todd Performing Arts at Chesapeake College. This year, due to COVID-19, the six awards were presented via an online event celebrating the 32 nominees for the individual awards, three nominees for the unit awards, and the six winners.
Ken Kozel, UM SRH president and CEO, expressed his appreciation for the outstanding dedication of the 600-plus nurses serving patients in inpatient and outpatient care programs throughout the five county region. “I am grateful for the sacrifices made by nurses and their families, especially during these unprecedented times in health care.”
Debora Evans, who served as Transplant and Vascular Access Coordinator until her retirement this past April, is this year’s recipient of the Caring for Others Award. Evans’ colleagues nominated her for her positive attitude in helping patients navigate the challenging process of qualifying for transplant, and also for attending to all the follow-up tasks involved in pre- and post-transplant care.
Recognized this year in the award category of Leadership is Tyler Gogoll, team lead for Neurosurgery in the Surgical Services Department. Gogoll is credited with providing effective orientation strategies for new nurses circulating in neurosurgery, and with ensuring that all team members are well-trained and equipped to rise to any unforeseen events that may occur during surgery.
Renee Edsall, interim nurse manager for the Easton Emergency Department, won this year’s award for Mentorship and Advocacy. In addition to being an exceptional nurse educator, as interim ED manager, Edsall takes charge nurse shifts whenever needed and is always there to fill in with tasks outside her own job description. Taking a personal as well a professional interest in each ED team member, Edsall is known for providing guidance, support and a word of encouragement whenever it is needed.
Christina “Nina” Weisenborn, clinical research coordinator at the Cancer Center at UM Shore Regional Health received the award for Professional Nursing. Weisenborn’s role is to update staff on the newest oncology research offered by University of Maryland Medical System and provide training on grading adverse reactions using the latest evidence based practice from clinical research. This year, she made recommendations that updated the workflow of the interdisciplinary care team, increasing participation and streamlining information to help patients benefit from the resources of the Cancer Program. Weisenborn also succeeded in helping patients obtain certain chemotherapeutic medications at no cost.
Samantha “Sam” Cherbonnier, staff nurse on the Neurology Unit at Shore Medical Center at Easton, is honored as this year’s Promising Professional. Eager to advance her knowledge and value, she is now pursuing her MSN with a focus on leadership. In addition to teaching stroke patients in the hospital, Cherbonnier attends Stroke Support group meetings to provide more education. Committed to learning and growing, Cherbonnier reads and shares evidence-based research with her colleagues. She is a member of the UMMS Professional Practice Council, providing a bedside nurse’s perspective.
Winning the Unit Award for Empirical Outcomes this year was the Birthing Center. This year’s award recognizes the Birthing Center’s establishment of a volunteer-based “Cuddlers Program” that supports newborns experiencing withdrawal, as well as the unit’s continued success in meeting benchmark requirements for exclusive breastfeeding. In accordance with the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics, and Neonatal Nursing guidelines, the Birthing Center collaborates on staffing with the Women’s and Children’s Unit, and all are cross-trained to areas of patient care on the Birthing Center. The Center also is committed to increasing Group Beta Strep compliance and reducing primary C-sections and the incidence of neonates requiring transport to higher levels of care.
“This awards program was established by and for our nurses as a way to recognize those who go above and beyond to always deliver exceptional care. My sincerest congratulations to this year’s winners and my gratitude to the Nurse Excellence Awards Committee – Kathy Elliott, Jacki Crawford, Kathy Cvach, Laura Jackson, Jean Folz, Susan Henry, Majorie Shaffer, Diane Baxter and Gladys Peeples –for their hard work in gathering the nominations and working through the selection process,” said Jenny Bowie, vice president, Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer for UM SRH.