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By George Lewis

Karen Stefaniak, associate hospital director and chief nursing officer, hugs Linda Holtzclaw.

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"Choosing the award recipients from our long list of very worthy nominees was daunting, but at the same time it served as a reminder of the high quality of nursing care staff that we have throughout the hospital."

-- Karen Stefaniak, Ph.D., associate hospital director and chief nursing officer

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From left, Linda Watts, Linda Holtzclaw, Kim Higginbotham, Barb Latham and Jennifer Jahraus.

Seated, from left, Teresa Chase, Kim Higginbotham and Ruth Lane. Standing, from left, Lindsay Sullivan, Korinne Callihan, Barb Latham, Norma Akers, Jennifer Jaharus and Beth Scott.

May 16, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- University of Kentucky Hospital distributed UK's top three nursing honors during National Nurses Week May 6-10, including a new one: the Magnet Recognition Award. The magnet award was instituted because, in October 2001, UK Hospital was named a Magnet Hospital in recognition of outstanding nursing care.

UK Hospital is the first hospital in Lexington to achieve this recognition from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

All awards came by way of peer nomination.

Karen Stefaniak, Ph.D., associate hospital director and chief nursing officer, handed out the awards in a heartfelt ceremony May 8. "Choosing the award recipients from our long list of very worthy nominees was daunting," she said, "but at the same time it served as a reminder of the high quality of nursing care staff that we have throughout the hospital."

Linda Watts, a registered nurse on 5 West, received the M. J. Dickson Quality Nursing Care Award, which is given to a staff nurse who has shown a commitment to professional nursing over the past year. Linda was nominated by her patient care manager Brenda Holmes, R.N.

In her letter of nomination, Holmes said, "Linda embodies the commitment to quality that this award exemplifies. She serves as an excellent role model and resource person not only to the hospital, but to the community as well. Linda has become an expert in dealing with the patient population on 5 West, which is one of the most difficult units to work on in the hospital. She has a calming manner when dealing with the patients and their families. Linda demonstrates excellence in nursing practice every time she walks onto a unit." Linda is enrolled in the UK College of Nursing, where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.

Linda Holtzclaw, a patient care manager in perioperative services, received the Diana Weaver Leadership/Management Award, which goes to a nurse who has shown dynamic leadership skills over the past year.

Registered nurse Helen Rooney-Guinn said in her letter nominating Holtzclaw, "I have been aware of Linda's exceptional management style for 14 years." The preoperative clinic staff members said, "Linda's diligent service and loyalty to UK Hospital has contributed to the quality of nursing and enabled nursing to obtain Magnet Status. She inspires others not only to strive for clinical excellence, but also to have empathy for our clients and their families." And by way of nomination the registered nurses in the cardiac catherization recovery area said, "Linda inspires the staff by encouraging us to write our own standards and choose the supplies that we need that will allow us to better care for our patients. Her view is that cost containment does not mean a lower standard of care."

The Magnet Recognition Award went to a group of UK Children's Hospital registered nurses who responded to concerns from parents of patients about the length of time spent waiting for admission and nursing care. The nurses planned, developed and implemented what came to be called the Outpatient Express Unit, which consists of six pediatric outpatient beds as well as three pediatric infusion chairs. Patients who need treatments or procedures that will not require an overnight stay are cared for in this unit. Ambulatory patients are assessed and nursing care is initiated in the unit prior to transfer to an inpatient bed. This expedites care of the newly admitted patient.

The program was piloted in October 2001 and the unit opened in January 2002. Since its inception, the new unit has received positive responses from patient families, physicians and nursing staff. The new unit was created by Norma Akers, Lisa Butcher, Korinne Callihan, Stacey Green, Lucy Hensley, Kim Higginbotham, Dianna Holtzhauer, Cathy Johnson, Jennifer Jahraus, Ruth Lane, Barbara Latham, Teresa Martin, Beth Scott, Jane Anne Smith, Jennifer Sullivan and Lindsay Sullivan.

UK Hospital held three events honoring registered nurses during National Nurses Week, in addition to a dinner honoring the Clinical Nurse Excellence award winners.

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