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Summer 2008
VolumeVI, Issue 2

Cover Illustration by
John Krause

Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing | News and Events | News |



Hopkins Nurse
News from the Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Nursing, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, and Howard County General Hospital (a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine)

Men of the Cardiac SICU
male_nursesAn astonishing 20 percent of the nurses on Hopkins' Cardiac Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) are male-more than three times the national average. What makes it such an appealing work site? The men say it's the fast pace, the technology and the perspective they bring to working with families of the critically ill.

"We have a lot of autonomy," says Aaron Crowther, who came to work on the unit directly out of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing two years ago. "The doctors trust us to make decisions and give us leeway with 'as needed' orders. If [a patient's] potassium is low, we can give potassium. We don't have to run for an order every time."

Crowther's co-worker, Michael Dawson, likes the immediate gratification that comes from that kind of independence, as well as the opportunity to work with his hands. Although he was a floor nurse before joining the Cardiac SICU six years ago, he feels that the unit, with its Swan and pulmonary artery catheters, its dialysis machines and balloon pumps, makes the best use of his analytical skills. "With all these gadgets, I get it. I get how they work, and I get what they do."

Then there's the matter of bringing emotional balance to a unit where reactions to illness among families vary widely. "When it comes to family members being ill, guys don't look at it the same way that women look at it," he says. "Having this mix on our staff lets us bring different perspectives to the table. I have gained so much from my female colleagues. This unit has been outstanding for me to develop as a nurse-emotionally, technically and professionally." 
-Mary Ellen Miller

And the Winners Are...
At this May's Annual Nursing Awards Program, four awards were presented to nurses at The Johns Hopkins Hospital by Karen Haller, PhD, RN, Vice President for Nursing and Patient Care Services.award

The Shirley Sohmer Award for Research
Dennis W. Jones, MS, RN, Clinical Instructor at JHUSON

The Linda Arenth Award for Innovation in Service Excellence
Halsted 8-a medical unit

The Nursing Publication Award
Webra Price Douglas, PhD, CRNP, IBCLC and Beth C. Diehl-Svrjcek, MS, CRNP, CCRN CCM, LNCC

The Josie King Grant for Innovation in Public Safety
Mary Cooper, MS, RN; Diane Kurowski, RN,BC; Janice Knowles, RN, BC; Rachel Worthington, RN, BC; Marina Needham, PMHNP, BC; Lorraine Curbeam-Giles, Clinical Associate; Tiffany Lindsey, Clinical Associate; R. Sam McGee, Clinical Associate; Joyce Parks, RN, CNS, BC

Notable Nurses
The Johns Hopkins Hospital Safety Stars program honors staff members who take bold steps to protect patients. Through actions that are proactive, courageous, patient-centered, and beyond the call of duty, these nurse safety stars have prevented medical errors and identified hazards: Catherine Desai, RN; Jenny Helzer '03, RN; Estrellita Laurel, RN; Robin Lewis, RN; Elizabeth A. Luna, RN; Ronaldo Santos, RN; Leisha Todd, RN; and Caroline Umana, RN.

Kathy DeRuggiero, MSN, RN has been named director of nursing for emergency medicine. A 20-year Hopkins veteran, she began her career as a staff nurse at what is now Johns Hopkins Bayview. In 2005, she moved to the East Baltimore campus to become assistant director of nursing for emergency medicine.

JoAnn Ioannou, MSN/MBA '05, RN, has been named assistant director for medical nursing. Most recently, she was nurse manager for Osler 4. Currently enrolled in the doctor of nursing practice program, she received the Human Resources Presidential Leadership Award in 2007.

Renay Tyler, MSN '05, ACNP, CNSN, RN, has been named assistant director of nursing for advanced practice in the Department of Surgery. Tyler, a 23-year Hopkins veteran, will be part of the surgical nursing leadership team assisting with the recruitment, development, and retention of nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

cowsWhat's in a name?
The COWs (computers on wheels) on the WICU (Weinberg ICU) now each have their own name. One resident only wants to use Lulu, seen here with Donna Prow (BoN '01), nurse manager on the WICU, who dreamed up the scheme. Another staff member favors Ethel. Or was that F. A. Mignon? The devices, which look like a herd of tall-size shopping carts, come complete with picture IDs.

Johns Hopkins Nurses Named Finalists in Nursing Spectrum's 2008 Nursing Excellence Awards
Four registered nurses from Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center were named finalists in Nursing Spectrum's 2008 Nursing Excellence Awards in the following categories: Advancing and Leading the Profession, Teaching, Management, and Clinical Care.


Advancing and Leading the Profession--Carol Ball, RN, MAS, (left) senior director of nursing, builds and justifies the patient care budget and advocates for nursing department needs so the professional caregivers at the bedside have what they need to provide the best care possible. Through her loyal leadership, she bridges the gap between finance and clinical care.

Teaching--Ilene Jones, RN, MSN, CEN, CCRN, (right) clinical nurse specialist, helped develop an innovative, interactive orientation program to prepare new graduates to work in the emergency department (ED). Five of the six nurses in the first cohort-and all nine in the second group-continue to work in the ED, which now has a zero percent vacancy rate. The success of the program led the hospital to expand the orientation to all acute-care units.


Management--Elaine Gittings, RN, BSN, (left) patient care manager, has stepped beyond routine management responsibilities to design, build, and plan the implementation of an executive service-rounding program. Her efforts have reduced patient falls, increased compliance for pneumonia vaccinations, and reduced the RN vacancy rate on her unit from 50 percent to less than 2 percent during her six-year tenure. Gittings is a contender for the National Nurse of the Year Award.

Clinical Care--A nurse for 27 years, Lucinda (Cindy) Kahoe, RN, BSN, CNRN, (right)advanced clinical nurse, draws on her knowledge, technical skills and critical thinking abilities to deliver quality, safe and compassionate patient care. Kahoe recently developed a program to decrease noise on the unit so patients can rest better. She also has assumed a leadership role in helping the hospital on its Magnet journey.

Notable Nurses
Ella Durant, LPN, received the 2008 Diversity Recognition Award from the Johns Hopkins Medicine Diversity Leadership Council. She was recognized for celebrating and embracing diversity both at Johns Hopkins Bayview and in her community.

John Preto, MSN, RN has been appointed director of nursing for medicine.

Kathy Owens, RN, BSN, has been named director of nursing for perioperative services.

Infection Detection
When staff at Howard County General Hospital noted a steady increase in the number of patients with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), they pulled together a team to slow the antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Their screening program, which began in February 2007, was launched on the hospital's 16-bed intensive care unit where many patients, especially those who are elderly and transferred from nursing homes, are considered at high risk of infection from MRSA.

Infection control manager Barbara O'Connor, who facilitated the team of nurses and physicians, says the mission was straightforward: Identify patients colonized with MRSA-those who are not sick and show no symptoms but carry the germ-and implement precautions to prevent those patients from transmitting it to others.specialists

To screen patients, nurses swab each nostril of the patient's nose. Specimens are then sent to Hopkins Hospital's microbiology laboratory for testing. Patients are monitored weekly after the initial screen to ensure they have not contracted MRSA during their stay. Those found to have MRSA are placed on precautions, and bright colored signs are posted outside their rooms to alert health care workers and visitors to take precautions before entering.

Results from the screening program during the first 10 months were dramatic. Although HCGH's ICU-acquired rate for MRSA was below the national benchmark, the program reduced the unit's rate by more than half, to about 0.7 cases per 100 admissions. In addition, for the first time since 2004, MRSA is a significantly lower percentage of the hospital's total Staph infections.

"Before we began doing this, more than half of MRSA cases went undetected," says O'Connor. "Although the program is based in ICU, it's impacted the entire hospital."

The team's results were so striking, in fact, that the project captured the hospital's Tim Kelly Award for Quality and Excellence. In addition, O'Connor presented the initiative at the annual Maryland Patient Safety Conference in Baltimore in March.

At a time when state legislators and health officials continue to debate whether to require MRSA testing in all Maryland hospitals, O'Connor says HCGH is working to expand the screening program unit by unit, as training and resources catch up. The 30-bed oncology unit is next.
-Janet Anderson

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