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William F. Connell School of Nursing

Nursing Spectrum Excellence Awards 2007 New England

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Nursing Spectrum's Excellence Awards recognize extraordinary contributions nurses make to their patients, each other, and the profession. Nominators submitted information about nurses' professional roles, their contributions to the nursing profession in general, and specific examples that demonstrate the candidates' excellence in chosen categories.

Finalist nominations were blinded and ranked by regional nursing leaders on the judging panel. Regional winners in each category will be judged against other winners from across the country, with overall Nurse of the Year winners in each category to be announced at the end of the year.



Advancing and Leading the Profession

RNs who have led, advanced, and/or strengthened nursing, either as a profession or in the delivery of patient care.

During the nomination process, peers wrote about how Deborah Washington, RN, PhDc, director of diversity, patient care services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, gathered the momentum to establish cultural competence and awareness as it applied to nursing practice at Mass General.

Washington says cultural awareness is no longer optional as America's population transitions to a majority-non-European base.

"We're faced with a different patient population, so if we're going to remain relevant in terms of who we take care of, we need to become culturally competent," Washington says.

Washington believes her most important strength is her ability to weave cultural competence with practice in such a way that "it's not an add-on to what it means to be a competent nurse. Instead it is part and parcel; it's a skill, just like learning how to correctly give a medication."

Washington says Mass General's successful integration of cultural awareness into nursing practice is attributable to leadership standing behind her message. Her voice is not what she calls "a lone voice crying in the wilderness."



Teaching

RNs who have made significant contributions in education, professional development, and/or long term learning of nursing professionals.

Dorothy Jones, RN, EdD, FAAN, professor of nursing-adult health at Boston College's William F. Connell School of Nursing and senior nurse scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, is recognized by her peers for her commitment to nursing education. She says being a teacher requires a clear vision and the focus to prepare individuals who will one day care for patients.

Jones is most proud of the graduates whom she has taught who have gone on to assume positions of great responsibility. The opportunity to teach fuels her love for the profession.

"Teaching is a gift and a luxury," Jones says. "You have a captive audience to influence and inform. It's a position of great responsibility. When students become aware of their potential as human beings, they realize they can make a difference and that their dreams and hopes can be realized. That's where my satisfaction comes in. They walk away feeling empowered with the knowledge and confidence to make a difference."