2022 Nursing Excellence Award Recipients Announced

By Jonesa Rodriguez - May 23, 2022

Every year during National Nurses Week, Moffitt Cancer Center holds a special award ceremony to recognize nurses around the cancer center. The Nursing Excellence Award ceremony honors nurses who deliver compassionate care and healing to the patients they serve every day. These nurses and their teams often go above and beyond, stepping up to any challenge they may face to ensure their patients are receiving the best care.

Nominated by their team members, the seven award recipients use Dr. Joanne Duffy’s Caring Factors as the underpinning of their nursing culture.  The caring factors represent mutual problem solving, human respect, encouraging manner attentive reassurance, appreciation of unique meaning, healing environment, basic human needs and affiliation needs.

Meet the 2022 Nursing Excellence Award Recipients.

2022 Excellence in Magnetism Award Winners – 5 South 

In early 2020 during the beginning of the pandemic, Moffitt’s 5 South unit was deemed the care unit for inpatient COVID-19 positive patients who were not admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. With little known about COVID, current practices in the unit had to be redesigned and redefined, but the nurses in 5 South did not back down from the challenge. They immediately began to prepare for their call to duty. Because of how this unit already cared for their patients, assigning the same nurse to patients in the same area for the proximity of the nursing staff to care for the patient and their needs, this group was considered a perfect fit for the job. This was imperative at the beginning of the pandemic, cohorting positive COVID patients together was the innovative approach to caring for these patients. Infection Prevention and the Clinical Nurse Specialist began reinforcing proper PPE principles and prevention strategies with the staff, and the staff began to dedicate their time to learning about a new population of patients. Frequent changes can sometimes cause frustration and inconsistencies in care as practice principles had to be updated day to day as new evidence emerged in the early days. However, the team on 5 South stood forthright in their ability to digest and apply all those changes, allowing their patients to achieve the best clinical outcomes. Treating COVID patients created an opportunity for the nurses in 5 South to become well versed in other therapies and disease processes. Additionally, they’ve administered anti-viral and monoclonal antibody therapies as they emerged, defining the treatment that these patients received. The care of these patients continues to evolve today as this unit is now collecting data to drive the care of COVID patients to improve their clinical outcomes.

2022 Excellence in Nursing Education Award Winner – Marris Stebbins, BSN, RN, CHPN, CHPPN

Marris Stebbins has been a huge aspect of the success of Moffitt’s end-of-life simulation for the Nurse Residency program. Through monthly two-part education sessions, Stebbins teaches about the trajectories of dying. In the second portion of the class, she transitions to the role of the dying patient in the end-of-life simulation. While maintaining character throughout the entire simulation, Stebbins seamlessly guides the nurse residents who are also playing roles in the simulation to utilize their resources. The nurse residents learn about hospice services and the art of simply being silent and “holding space” for another individual. She provides human respect by educating nurse residents on how to truly care for those at end of life. In every simulation, Stebbins moves the nurse residents to tears as she connects with each of their hearts. She is consistently supportive, interactive, compassionate and truly listens to the nurse residents as they walk through a difficult scene. Stebbins encourages individuals to advocate for their patients. Her courses have a ripple effect at Moffitt, as she touches the lives of nurses who then touch the lives of patients and their families. 

2022 Excellence in Nursing Management Award Winner – Darcelle Welker, MSN, RN, CNML

Darcelle Welker is known for her outstanding customer service to all at Moffitt. Her strong communication skills and attentive listening, with both patients and staff, is what her team says makes her a very easy person to talk to. When she is not taking care of patients, Welker is can be found encouraging her Moffitt team members in their pursuit of professional development, often asking them if there is anything she can do to help them achieve their educational goals. She assists in providing resources to all team members that wish to obtain national certification and pursue higher education. Welker’s team deems her a great leader due to her fostering a family-like culture with her willingness to get to know them personally and support them beyond work-related issues. 

2022 Accredited Preceptor of the Year Award Winner – Veronica Pabon Amador, BSN, RN

Veronica Pabon Amador provides a calming and healing environment for her patients and peers. When speaking to patients, she ensures she is clear and has a soothing tone. The compassion she provides to her patients is genuine, making certain all their needs are met. Pabon Amador ensures she is inclusive when educating her patients and keeping their families and caregivers involved. When she is not caring for patients, Pabon Amador is educating new Moffitt nurses as a Preceptor. Her peers commend her for having excellent communication skills and being well organized and detail-oriented when onboarding new nurses. 

2022 Excellence in Patient-Centered Care Award Winner – Elizabeth Suddath, BSN, RN-BC

Elizabeth Suddath empowers her patients and their families when it comes to their care. She is always there to help her patients by collaborating with physicians and providing her patients with the correct resources and referrals. Suddath creates a sense of comfort for her patients, teaching them how to access education pertinent to their care and condition. Around the cancer center, Suddath is known for her wealth of knowledge, not only for patients and their families but for her fellow Moffitt colleagues as well. Her peers recognize her for being very approachable and always having a welcoming demeanor, saying she is an excellent example of what we all hope for in the future of nursing.

2022 Excellence in a Unique Role Award Winner – Rhonda Musgrove, BSN, RN, WOC, COCN

Rhonda Musgrove cares for many surgical patients that may be anxious, fearful and dreading life with an ostomy, but her soothing attitude and education helps to alleviate any anxieties. She provides attentive reassurance to her patients that there is a quality of life with an ostomy and they can continue to do their daily activities. Her endearing personality and encouraging manner consistently promotes the confidence and motivation that patients and caregivers need regarding wound and ostomy care. Musgrove ensures that she facilitates a healing environment with a holistic approach. Her unique nursing role enables frequent collaboration with the health care team to incorporate all the discharge needs for home health and rehab facilities. Providers often depend on her expertise to expedite wound healing before chemotherapy, radiation or surgery can be performed. She displays a positive attitude and professionalism and shines in her nursing educational role. 

2022 Caring Story Award Winner – Jayashree Budhiraja, BSN, RN, VA-BC

The Clinical Exemplar is a caring story that tells how the interactions and care of a patient or their family exhibits patient and family-centered care. It is reflective of Duffy's Caring Factor. This year’s winner Jayashree Budhiraja shared her story about a patient who had never spent a day away from his wife within their 45-year marriage. During the beginning of COVID, the patient was unable to have visitors and missed his wife dearly. Looking to solve the patient’s problem of not being able to see his wife, Budhiraja went above and beyond, teaching the elderly couple how to connect virtually via Skype. Through compassionate care, Budhiraja uplifted the spirits of the patient which made his stay at Moffitt comfortable. 

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