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National Nurses Week: Recognizing nursing excellence at OHSU

2017 National Nurses Week
OHSU Healthcare’s Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Dana Bjarnason, Ph.D., R.N., N.E.-B.C. (left) hand delivers bags of popcorn to nurses throughout the hospital on May 8, 2017, a small token of the hospital's gratitude in observation of National Nurses Week at OHSU. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

OHSU Healthcare’s Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Dana Bjarnason, Ph.D., R.N., N.E.-B.C., walked the hallways of OHSU Hospital on Monday, armed with overflowing bags of popcorn. At each nursing station, she left these small tokens of gratitude in observation of National Nurses Week at OHSU.

According to Bjarnason, nursing has changed significantly over the years; it’s now more autonomous: “We have more opportunities just because of the complexity of care. The acuity of the patient in the hospital has changed tremendously over time.”

But what hasn’t changed is how nurses continue to “help patients stay safe and achieve the highest possible quality outcomes they can, even if that outcome means a peaceful death,” she explained.

The nursing staff at OHSU is nationally recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet program, one of only 7 percent of hospitals nationwide achieve this status.

Bjarnason is quick to laud the achievements of OHSU nursing staff, which numbers near 3,000: “We are absolutely blessed that more than 86 percent of our nurses are prepared at the baccalaureate or higher level, so they have a high degree of education. More than 54 percent of our nurses are certified in their specialty, which is considered the gold standard for nursing knowledge.”

“We are incredibly proud to be a Magnet facility,” says Bjarnason. “Magnet recognizes nursing excellence, but we, as nurses, recognize that nursing excellence doesn’t come without the support of a fine administrative team, our physicians and all of the other ancillary staff who help us to do the work that we do, which is take care of patients.”

Other events for Nurses Week at OHSU include a poster contest detailing research and quality improvement by staff nurses, a 5K run, and unit celebrations. A banquet on Monday also honored 12 nurses with Nurse of the Year awards in the following categories:

  • Advancing and Leading the Profession: Sean Freiss, B.S.N., R.N., Medical Intensive Care Unit
  • Ancillary Staff Member: Eleonor Guardipee, Medical Assistant, Digestive Health Center 
  • Advanced Practice Nurse: Staci Colovos, M.S.N., N.P., A.C.N.P.-B.C., Instructor/Nurse Practitioner, Surgical Trauma/Critical Care 
  • Clinical Care: Bri Hanley, B.S.N., R.N., R.N.C.-N.I.C., Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • Community Service: Mercedes Wilson, M.A., B.S.N., R.N., C.E.N., S.A.N.E.-A., Professional Practice Leader, Emergency Department
  • Distinguished Nurse: Shannon Grey, B.S.N., R.N., C.C.R.N., Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
  • Management: Cynthia Perez, M.S.N., R.N., C.N.S., C.C.R.N., Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit
  • Mentoring: Kelli Newcom, B.S.N., R.N., Digestive Health Center 
  • Nightingale: Annie Stange, B.S.N., R.N., Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • Virginia I. Sznewajs Award for Palliative Care: Jennifer Johnson, B.S.N., R.N., R.N.C.-N.I.C., Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • Virginia I. Sznewajs Award for Palliative Care: Megan Borg, B.S.N., R.N., Adult Oncology 
  • Teaching: Debbie Burger, M.S.N., R.N., Program Manager, Patient Blood Management​​​
2017 National Nurses Week
OHSU's 2017 Nurse of the Year winners (left to right) Megan Borg, B.S.N., R.N.; Annie Stange, B.S.N., R.N.; Kelli Newcom, B.S.N., R.N.; Eleonor Guardipee, M.A.; Mercedes Wilson, B.S.N., M.A., R.N., C.E.N., S.A.N.E.-A.; Dana Bjarnason, Ph.D., R.N., N.E.-B.C.; Cynthia Perez, M.S.N., R.N., C.N.S., C.C.R.N.; Sean Freiss, B.S.N., R.N.; Debbie Burger, M.S.N., R.N.; Shannon Grey, B.S.N., R.N., C.C.R.N.; Bri Hanley, B.S.N., R.N., R.N.C.-N.I.C.; Staci Colovos, M.S.N., N.P., A.C.N.P.-B.C. Not pictured is Jennifer Johnson, B.S.N., R.N., R.N.C.-N.I.C. (OHSU/Jordan Sleeth)

 

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