By Jonesa Rodriguez - May 17, 2023
On May 11, Moffitt Cancer Center honored some of its best and brightest at the annual Nursing Excellence Awards ceremony. Celebrated during National Nurses Week, nurses are recognized for their commitment and contribution to patient care. The nurses and their teams are patient advocates, go above and beyond at providing education and have a unique approach to problem-solving. Their hard work and dedication often help patients achieve better health outcomes.
Nominated by their peers, the 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 2023 Nursing Excellence Awards recipients.
Excellence in Magnetism – Moffitt Cancer Center at Wesley Chapel Clinic
Improving patient care is a top priority at the Moffitt Cancer Center at Wesley Chapel clinic. Serving as a cascade of knowledge and expertise, the team is always seeking opportunities to deliver exceptional care. As the recipient of the 2023 Excellence in Magnetism Award, the clinic was nominated for its unique process to enhance patient satisfaction. Following Dr. Joanne Duffy’s Caring Factors, the team used mutual problem solving across several departments to develop a training and action plan to deliver a one stop shop patient experience. The team created a process where patients have their clinic visit and injection in the same room without having the extended wait time between visits. During the appointment, the patient is assigned one nurse, minimizing confusion and streamlining care. This innovation has improved patient and staff satisfaction tremendously. The nurses at the Wesley Chapel clinic have implemented several new processes that continue to enhance the patient experience and keep the patients at the center of care.
“Our team is very excited to be winners. We do our best to provide great care to our patients. We perform great together, everyone is a team player, we come in everyday with the best attitudes. This is truly a reward for us,” said Leonardo Martinez, staff nurse at Moffitt’s Wesley Chapel clinic.
Excellence in Nursing Education – Kari Kingsley, BSN, RN
Education is vital to the success and health of patients who receive infusions. As a nurse in Moffitt’s Infusion Center, Kari Kingsley focuses on educating new patients who are just starting chemotherapy, explaining their drug regimens, side effects and more. Starting infusion is often a stressful time for patients. With this in mind, Kingsley uses Duffy’s Caring Factor of basic human needs. She encourages and reassures patients, making them feel safe before she starts her education session. Her peers say she is “the nurse that sets the standard for what we all want to be as nurses and whom we want to take care of our loved ones.”
“What a surprise and honor to win this award. I am grateful for my co-workers and managers in the Infusion Center who work so hard every single day and humbled by our patients’ strength and courage,” Kingsley said.
Excellence in Nursing Management – Valerie Hodges, BSN, RN, CGRN
As a patient care manager at Moffitt, Valerie Hodges is known for being an excellent team leader. She easily develops and fosters relationships with everyone within the cancer center. She models and supports attributes such as trust, compassion, mutual respect and ethical behavior. She delivers an excellent patient experience by leading her teams with a culture of deep compassion. She has an open-door policy and is always willing to teach. Hodges is the kind of leader that recognizes her team members’ individual strengths and weaves them into a team that works hard for positive patient experiences. Hodges also supports work-life balance and mental health for her team. She recently created a mobile respite station with relaxation tools so the staff can spend a few minutes during the day relaxing.
“Receiving this award from my teams is a great honor. My teams are what make me strive to do my best every day. They are the spirit of Moffitt and they inspire me on a daily basis. I am grateful for the role I get to play every day to make a difference somehow,” Hodges said.
Accredited Preceptor of the Year – Luz Diez, BSN, RN, OCN
As a preceptor for Moffitt’s Endoscopy Clinic, Luz Diez is a champion of learning and professional growth. She meets with new nurses to go over their unique needs, learning styles and goals. Diez supports her fellow nurses who bring ideas to improve practices. She is caring, compassionate and empathetic. She is a true team player and celebrates other’s success because she understands that when everyone succeeds together, Moffitt patients have better outcomes and a positive experience.
Excellence in Patient–Centered Care – Catherine Gendreau, BSN, RN, CMSRN
Catherine Gendreau embodies the sincere heart of nursing. She knows what matters to her patients and recognizes the important milestones in their care. Her kindness helps patients feel at ease when visiting the clinic. They often feel as if they are talking to a friend when updating her on their health, as well as their personal lives. Through her constant communication with patients, she understands their needs. She’s a patient and family advocate, providing attentive reassurance at every twist and turn of care. She has been known to help a family plan a surprise birthday for a 95-year-old patient and spend time on the phone with a grieving daughter.
“It is truly an honor to win the Patient-Centered Care Award. As a nurse for eight years, I try to do the best that I can for my patients, giving them all equal compassionate care,” Gendreau said.
Excellence in a Unique Role – Vicki Vann, APRN, OCN
Knowing the importance of keeping information and instructions simple for patients is what prompted Vicki Vann to develop a teach-back course to decrease readmission rates at Moffitt. The teach-back method asks patients to explain what they need to know or do about their health. The goal of the course is to improve the comprehension of patients as it relates to their health care instructions and ultimately their cancer journey. The teach-back with Moffitt patients uses simple language to discuss their cancer diagnosis, medications, home care instructions, treatment changes and new therapies. Validation of the patients’ understanding through teach-back ensures patients grasp the “why” in their cancer journey, leading to better outcomes. All newly hired nurses attend the class.
“I feel honored to receive the award for Nurse in Unique Role. It is a team effort and I want to thank all my colleagues in Nursing Professional Development and the awards committee,” Vann said.
Clinical Exemplar – Barbara Wampler, BSN, RN, OCN
The clinical exemplar is a caring story that shows how the interactions and care of a patient or their family exhibits patient- and family-centered care. Barbara Wampler went above and beyond to help a caregiver who felt hopeless about getting their loved one to Moffitt and finding a place that would accommodate the entire family. She set time aside, scheduling a call with the caregiver as she faxed papers from the local library. After a few unexpected hurdles, Wampler was able to secure housing for the caregiver, the patient and their mother. While the patient received treatment at Moffitt, Wampler stayed in contact with the patient’s family. Each day, they reached out to her to show their appreciation and thank her for being so kind.
“I am very honored to receive the Clinical Exemplar award. I have the privilege in working with a supportive manager and great group of navigators who have the ability to make a difference in the lives of the patients we navigate. I think that is the ultimate goal of any nurse. I can’t think of anything better than that,” Wampler said.