ACMC Healthcare System Administration celebrates excellence in nursing

Sep. 24—ASHTABULA — ACMC Healthcare System recently honored its nursing caregivers in recognizing their service to patients and fellow caregivers.

"This annual luncheon is one of my favorite events of the year. It is an opportunity for me to express my appreciation and respect — and that of the entire Administrative Team — for our nursing staff," said ACMC Healthcare System President and CEO Michael Habowski. "The annual nursing awards are special because the nominations come from caregivers who work daily alongside these award recipients. They highlight the recipient's compassion and honor the care they give our patients every day."

At the luncheon, ACMC's Chief Nursing Officer Amanda Clark, MSN, RN, thanked her fellow caregivers for their service throughout the healthcare system.

"I am honored to be a leader for this team of caregivers who give their best to our patients and each other," she said. "Each award winner goes beyond just doing their job as they seek to improve healthcare — whether that is through personal development, clinical improvement within the hospital, or the empathy they show each patient they encounter."

At the luncheon, Habowski and Clark presented each caregiver with their award, and details from the nomination forms were read.

Professional Practice

and Development Award

—Kathleen Chiacchiero, RN, BS: This award is given in recognition of a continuation of learning and professional development throughout a career. Chiacchiero has been a nurse for 35 years and currently serves as ACMC's Director of Nursing Education. Prior to that role, she developed a 12-week wellness program for the community and for ACMC caregivers. Chiacchiero also serves as the American Heart Association Training Center Coordinator. She has provided innumerable hours of time to our community through outreach programs promoting healthy lifestyles and educating people about modifiable risk factors to enhance wellness.

Nursing Alliance Award

—Melody Hipps, RN: This award is presented for clinical nurse support for inpatient or ambulatory patients and families. Hipps received the award for going to great lengths and personal sacrifice to assist all teams throughout the hospital. She was praised for her ability to teach in a way that makes caregivers feel supported, not defeated. She has a natural ability that can make a tough situation not seem as bad. Her ability to form a rapport with and collaborate with everyone in the hospital ensures that, on her shifts, patients and staff have all the resources available to them.

Novice Nurse Award

—Kayla Dean, RN: This award is presented to honor exemplary skills, dedication, and compassion in delivering direct patient care. Dean began her career at ACMC in the Emergency Department, then transferred to Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). She was praised for ensuring patients are comfortable and educated about what services would be performed in diagnosing and treating their illness or injury. The nomination form described her as "a strong, levelheaded nurse" who keeps her patients' needs first while dealing with any situation. Dean takes every interaction with her patients to heart, and you can see in her face that she truly loves what she does.

Relationship-based Culture

—Debbie Kocan, LPN: This award is presented to a clinical nurse in recognition of skills, talent, expertise, commitment, and personal attributes which promote and establish relationships between nurses and patients, fellow caregivers, and the community. She was described as always presenting a positive presence and providing a safe working environment for patients and co-workers. Kocan is Float Nurse in The Ashtabula Clinic. She excels in her skill and knowledge of each department and maintains an enjoyable relationship with her peers and physicians. She leads with her knowledge and experience; and has the ability to teach others with kindness, tenderness, and love for patients and family.

Outstanding Clinical Support

—John Simmons: This award recognizes outstanding service to the nursing department and exemplifies a role model by living out ACMC's 'Patients First' philosophy. Simmons has been tracking the number of patients he's met as a bedside registrar, exceeding 31,000 registrations across his career. Simmons is an avid reader, and his knowledge was an important factor during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought many changes to how patients in the Emergency Department were registered. From the beginning of the pandemic, he took every precaution going into the ER and continued to give 110% each day. Concentrating on doing the job professionally, correctly, and safely is his top priority.

Care Management Award

—Crystal Beight, RN: This award recognizes outstanding skills, teamwork, commitment, and enthusiasm in daily work. Beight has been with ACMC Regional Home Health for 10 years and is proactive in case management for her patients. Using a holistic approach, she acknowledges that social factors in the lives of the patients and their personal caregivers can impact the patient's overall outcome. She helps patients and caregivers manage these factors on the front end of care to help prevent complications and reduce the patient's risk of hospitalization. Beight has a master's degree in geriatrics and continues her education to stay current with evidence-based practice. She represents her peers by providing input to or serving on the department practice council, quality assurance committee, and the infection control committee.

Nursing Excellence Award

—Shaun Finley, RN: This award recognizes the skill, dedication, and compassion needed for daily delivery of direct patient care. Finley provides culturally competent care to the diverse patients and family members he encounters. He has a calming presence, and his confident manner reassures even the most-anxious patients. A dedicated nurse who responds quickly to patient needs, Finley provides detailed and lengthy explanations when patients have concerns or questions. Finley takes the time to explain what he is doing through every action — whether it is administration of medication, establishing an IV, taking blood work, or simply helping them put on a gown. In addition, he also explains to nursing students the importance of communication, not only with patients and families, but with oncoming shift nurses and other fellow caregivers.

Nursing Leadership Award

—Brittany Coach, RN, MSN: This award recognizes exemplary leadership focused on ACMC and Cleveland Clinic values including teamwork, innovation, service, quality, compassion, and integrity. This is the second year in a row Coach received this award. She was described in the nomination as someone who rolls up her sleeves and leads by example, interacting with staff at a patient's bedside. Coach exemplifies and personifies excellent leadership skills and supports and facilitates quality initiatives through best practices.

Lifetime Achievement Award

This award is presented for achievements that help advance the practice of nursing, improved patient outcomes, enhanced the work environment, and/or promoted multidisciplinary teamwork. Two nurses received the award this year:

—Kristen Brown, RN: An Emergency Department nurse for more than 20 years, Brown has advanced the practice of nursing, improved patient outcomes, enhanced the work environment, and promoted multi-disciplinary teamwork. Brown also collaborated with fellow caregivers to improve the quality and safety of care in the Emergency Department, including the creation of the Split Flow (triage) approach currently used in the Emergency Department. Brown is a leader and teacher to all younger nurses, and she sets an example of how a nurse should act, react, and perform. With her sustainability, she is the best advertisement for a fulfilling and long career as an Emergency Department nurse. Brown has been praised by many of her patients for outstanding care and she regularly steps up as an advocate for patients, which is respected by caregivers and family members.

—Jeff Fedor, RN: An Intensive Care Unit nurse, Fedor is considered a staple within the unit and seen as one who not only provides excellent patient care but also encourages improvement where possible to improve the level of care provided. He counsels other nurses and works closely with ICU providers to assure best-practice is being used alongside the most up-to-date guidelines for patient care. His knowledge and demeanor keep emergency situations calm and on-point. Fedor embodies ACMC and Cleveland Clinic values and is well-deserving of this recognition. The Lifetime Achievement award suits his qualities, skills, and values.