National Nurses Week begins next Friday, May 6. Throughout the week, the American Association of Post-Acute Care Nursing (AAPACN) will celebrate nurses and other healthcare professionals working in long-term and post-acute care (LTPAC). In today’s Leading in Care Blog, meet three outstanding LTPAC leaders, the winners of the AAPACN 2022 Awards. These shining stars of LTPAC were recognized at the AAPACN 2022 Conference earlier this month in Las Vegas.
Mary Chism, RN, BSN
The AAPACN Inspiration Award is presented to a member who is a leader or aspiring leader and first-time conference attendee, who inspires success in others or aspires to be a leader who fosters the success of their peers or staff within the facility or the post-acute care field.
In her nomination of Mary, Mary’s colleague wrote:
Following her retirement from a successful career in nursing, Mary served as the interim DON in a facility where she had once been the DON. In a time when staff was hard to find and retention was low, she brought staff back based on her reputation for excellence in resident care.
After completing her time as interim, Mary took on assisting another facility in the organization recover from a devastating Federal oversight survey. Taking responsibility for a dedicated dementia care unit, she brought systems to the unit, assured resident care was delivered as planned, kept families involved and informed, and made sure staff received the training and encouragement needed.
When staffing was stretched, Mary covered shifts on evenings and weekends to ensure residents received care and staff had a leader readily accessible to support them. She did all of this without being asked, because she is a leader who fosters a sense responsibility to those in her care—both residents and staff.
Mary has created an environment of trust in which staff know that they are supported. As a result, she has inspired her teams to remain in long-term care and to continue to grow through education and training.
Dr. Keitta Evans, DNP, MSN, NE-BC, RN-BC, LNHA, NHDP-BC
The AAPACN Integrity Award is presented to a member whose actions and behaviors display the highest level of leadership and ethics in their work in post-acute care and who exhibits a firm adherence to a code of values and a history of modeling exemplary behavior to staff and peers.
AAPACN received more than a dozen letters of recommendation for Keitta. Here is just a sample of what her peers had to say:
During the past year, Keitta led our clinical staff through the uncertainties of the pandemic with a calm, non-wavering confidence. No matter how rough the moments became, she always exemplified model leadership behavior, which gained the respect of her peers and other clinical and non-clinical associates throughout our health system.
In addition to Keitta’s first-class leadership, she thinks outside the box to create programs or processes to benefit our nurses to perform at the top of their scope, benefiting our patients and families as they trust in us to care for them, as the norms of long-term care have changed at an accelerated pace over the duration of the pandemic.
When Covid first started, Keitta had a call with the clinical team and explained to us that this would be a marathon and not a sprint. She told us we would make it through. She remained calm, gave instructions, and advised through this hard time. Even though the days were very long, Keitta never one time changed her attitude or support for us.
Dr. Nimalie Stone, MD, MS
The AAPACN Impact Award is presented to a long-term care leader whose actions over the course of their career have positively affected the profession, the post-acute care field, and the association.
In her nomination of Dr. Stone, Amy Stewart, AAPACN vice president of education and certification strategy, wrote:
Dr. Stone is the Medical Epidemiologist for Long-term Care in the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Throughout the pandemic, Dr. Stone has been not only a resource for long-term care facilities but also an advocate. She has worked as a liaison between facilities, the CDC, and CMS.
Dr. Stone has gone to facilities with COVID-19 in order to learn more about infection control practices. This information was used to develop and implement free education for providers to use to increase adherence to infection control practices. She has advocated for PPE and other resources to help long-term care facilities fight COVID.
Dr. Stone has created easily understandable education on a variety of platforms for long-term care staff and has brought the concerns of staff back to the CDC and government. She has advocated to get vaccines for long-term staff and their residents first, to stop the devastation of COVID-19 in the nursing homes.
Congratulations to the AAPACN 2022 Award winners!
Nominations for the AAPACN 2023 Awards will open in October 2022. Learn more about the AAPACN Awards.
Celebrate Nurses Week, May 6 – 12, 2022!
Let the LTPAC professionals in your facility, family, and life know how much you appreciate them. AAPACN has developed some fun ways to help you show your support here.