In anticipation of National Nurses Week (May 6 – May 12, 2016), Mercy Medical Center is announcing its 2016 Clinical Excellence Awards. This year themed, Culture of safety: It starts with YOU, National Nurses Week recognizes the important role nurses play in health care. As part of the annual celebration, Mercy will honor five nurses who have been selected for exceptional clinical skills, teaching abilities, communication skills, teamwork and professionalism.
In addition, the hospital recognizes Chris Fogarty, RN, BSN, emergency department nurse navigator, for winning a 2016 Barbara Donaho Distinguished Leadership in Learning Award. Named in honor of former Kent State University College of Nursing Advisory Chair Barbara Donaho, the award recognizes area nurses who demonstrate effective leadership, compassionate role modeling, and sound professional mentoring.
Read more about Chris’s award >>
“Year after year, the public ranks nursing the most trusted profession in Gallup polls,” says Tom Cecconi, Mercy president and CEO. “Mercy nurses maintain that trust by creating a culture of safety at the hospital. Mercy presents these awards each year to honor and recognize nurses who deliver the highest level of quality care to their patients. I am thankful for all our nurses for the miracles you make happen on a day-to-day basis, both large and small.”
Eric Ambrus, RN, BSN
Cardiovascular Special Care Unit
Eric’s heart led him to the nursing profession. After he felt unfulfilled in his career in marketing, Eric chose to pursue nursing, which allowed him the opportunity to care for others. He says the most satisfying part of his job is making a difference for patients and their families when they need it most. “I love to see patients go from being in a hospital setting to home and come back to visit,” he says. When an open heart surgery patient came back to visit, Eric says seeing him with no trach and walking unassisted was the best feeling you can have as a nurse.
“Nursing is a profession where you can be a part of the beginning of life and the end. Nursing provides an opportunity to fulfill my spiritual and moral obligation to help others while providing a rewarding career. Every day is a blessing for me to help others.”
Eric graduated with a BA in Management from Malone University in 2008 and his BSN from Kent State University in 2012. He received the Robert Wood Johnson Scholarship for Nursing award. At Mercy Medical Center, Eric has been a member of Nurse Practice Council, Infection Control Committee and a Preceptor. He is currently a staff nurse in the Special Care Unit.
Katie Lonca, RN
Post-anesthesia Care Unit
Katie started at Mercy as a nurse’s aide soon after graduating from high school in 2003. After working in that position for several years and observing how nurses impact people’s lives for good, she decided to pursue her own career in nursing. She says even the little things about her profession make her feel good as a person and even better as a nurse.
“You are the advocate for patients and families,” she adds. “You provide nurturing care and facilitate healing. Nursing is all about the holistic approach. Providing that is one of the most satisfying aspects of my career.”
Her supervisor Jamie Carbone, nursing director, PEAT, SDU, PACU, Gastroenterology and Wound Care, describes her as a kind, compassionate nurse whose goal is to provide quality care to her patients with a non-judgmental demeanor. Jamie says, “Katie is an excellent charge nurse. She strives to make fair assignments, respects her co-workers and uses other nurses’ skill sets for the best patient assignments. She is also a great preceptor taking new nurses and students under her wing.”
Katie has achieved Clinical Ladder III and is part of the Mercy Nurse Practice Counsel. She is also certified in ACLS, BLS, TNCC and PALS. “I love my job, my department, and all my co-workers,” says Katie. “Mercy is my ‘home away from home,’ and my co-workers are my second family. And my day is not complete without making a patient laugh or smile.”
Judy Melnyk, RN, MSN, CNOR, CSPDT
Since childhood, Judy says she wanted to be a nurse. “My best friend can attest to my love of nursing because we played hospital on a weekly basis,” Judy says. “I love taking care of people and want to be the patient advocate.”
A 38-year employee of Mercy Medical Center, Judy earned her associate degree in nursing from Walsh University in 1992, her BSN from Malone College School of Nursing in 1995, and her MSN from Grand Canyon University in AZ in 2011. She achieved certified nurse operating room (CNOR) credentials in 2003.
Judy has received many honors including Outstanding Clinical Ladder Level 4 Status, Nursing Excellence Award Winner Midwest Region “Mentoring – Nurse Week,” and Malone College School of Nursing Outstanding Nursing Alumni Award. She has been a member of the Education, Practice Council, Co-management Orthopaedic, Surgical Site Infection, and OR Leadership Committees. She is an Adjunct Clinical Instructor for nursing students at Stark State College, Lead and Online Instructor for Medical Instrumentation Sterilization Technology (MIST) at Stark State College, and a member of the Association of Operating Room Nurses (AORN).
A co-chair of the establishment of Mercy International Medical Outreach (MIMO), Judy continues to reach out to people in other countries. She has been the team leader for 13 international mission trips to India, Ukraine, Armenia and Syria. This May, Judy will take her seventh trip to Ukraine to teach health and wellness.
Judy says she has grown both personally and professionally during her time at the hospital. “Mercy has been very good to me,” she says. And Judy has been good for Mercy. “My faith and Mercy’s Christian faith bring me peace on a daily basis.”
Ivan Miller, RN, BSN
Intensive Care Unit
Special recognition as Mercy’s 2016 Cameo of Caring recipient
Ivan describes the ability to help and teach people – as well as to advocate for them, promote their health and ease their suffering – as extremely satisfying. He says, “Serving others is my life mission.”
Jason Pirtz, assistant chief nursing officer, says Ivan spends a great deal of quality time with his patients and families to really listen and understand their concerns. Jason adds, “Ivan is great at putting the whole picture together when looking at his patients. He is also good at working as part of a team to address complicated health-care issues.”
Ivan says one patient who has touched his life forever is a man who had a routine surgery but developed complications that led to quadriplegia. Ivan says, “Despite the drastic change in his life, the patient and I laughed together and talked about all the positive things in his life. This put things in perspective for me.”
Ivan graduated from Kent State University at Tuscarawas with an associate nursing degree in 2009 and from Kent State University (KSU) with his BSN in 2014. He is again attending KSU to become a critical care nurse practitioner and holds his BLS, ACLS, PALS and TNCC certifications. Ivan is chair of the Nurse Practice Council and serves as a clinical preceptor for KSU.
Holly Rothenstein, RN, BSN
As the second of eight children, Holly says she learned the value of caring for others at an early age. Later, as a lifeguard, she recognized that she could use her first-aid skills to help people, as well. “Nursing was an obvious choice for me to continue helping people in a practical and caring way,” she says.
A Mercy nurse for nearly 17 years, Holly describes a particularly poignant moment early in her career when she cared for a patient with end-stage lung disease. She says, “He chose to be a do-not-resuscitate patient, and I was able to help him and his family deal with end-of-life issues. Caring for him and being with him until he passed away was a heartbreaking privilege. That experience has helped me to keep perspective throughout my nursing career.”
Highlighted as a “nursing star” in the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Canton Inc, Winter 2015 edition, Holly is the 10M unit educator. Tami Colly, clinical manager of 10M/5M, says, “When Holly sees a new RN is struggling with critical thinking skills, she helps, encourages and teaches them. She likes to support others and help them succeed.”
Holly graduated from the University of Akron College of Nursing with her RN/BSN degree in 1999. She has also achieved Clinical Ladder Level 3 and participates in Mercy’s Nursing Congress and its products committee.
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