Harlem Nurses Recieve “Nursing Excellence” Award

Nurse Awardees1NYC Health and Hospitals (HHC) today honored six nurse professionals with “Nursing Excellence” awards for demonstrating dedication and compassion for the field of nursing and for their patients.

Awards were given in six categories of excellence: clinical nursing, inpatient, management, education and mentorship, advancing and leading the profession, home, community or ambulatory care, and volunteerism and service. A “Nursing Champion” was also recognized for its support of the nursing profession. This year 186 nurses were nominated for the awards, making it the largest pool of nominees to date.

“HHC nurses work tirelessly each day to meet our patients’ needs and ensure their satisfaction,” said HHC President Dr. Ram Raju. “Nurses advance the quality of care by spearheading innovative efforts to improve patient experience and patient safety, and make our system an excellent source of wellness and healing for all New Yorkers. Congratulations to all 8,000 HHC nurses for their continued dedication to improving patient care and keeping patients first in all they do.”

Winners were nominated by their colleagues across the system in recognition of their exceptional achievements and commitment to providing the best possible care and experience for patients. Honorees are among the 8,000 nurses at HHC – men and women who provide care each day to New Yorkers in HHC public hospitals, long-term care facilities, health centers and home care across the five boroughs. 

“Today’s winners are extraordinary, they are experts, and they have a passion for providing the best possible care and experience for every patient, every time,” said Lauren Johnston, Senior Assistant Vice President and HHC’s Corporate Chief Nurse Executive. “Congratulations and thank you to the nurses honored today, and to all HHC nurses across our system who continually strive for excellence.”

2015 Nursing Excellence Award winners:

Harlem winners include:

Excellence in Advancing and Leading the Profession


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  • Robert Smeltz, NP, Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Coordinator, Palliative Care, Bellevue Hospital (8 years of service) – Created Bellevue’s Palliative Care program and served as its first full time faculty member. He is an advocate for patients and families who face the challenge of serious illness and has made tremendous strides in supporting and advancing front line caregivers.

Excellence in Home, Community or Ambulatory Care

  • Tiffany Reid, CLC, MS, PNP, Supervisor of Nurses, Nurse-Family Partnership, Harlem Hospital (3 years of service) – As a community health nurse she uses her advanced knowledge in pediatric medicine to aid first-time mothers on their path to becoming competent and confident caretakers. Her caseload is almost always at capacity and her patient attrition rate is one of the lowest among her peers.

The others include:

Excellence in Clinical Nursing, Inpatient

  • Marie Alverio, RN, MSN, BC, WCC, Associate Director of Nursing, Wound Care, Coney Island Hospital (34 years of service) Changed the way HHC handles wound care by creating a wound care team to provide a skin care assessment for every patient admitted to Coney Island Hospital within 24 hours. She advocated for an electronic wound tracker, which has proven to decrease length of stay and improve patient experience.

Excellence in Management

  • Susan Gullo, RN, Assistant Director of Nursing, Adult Emergency Department, North Central Bronx Hospital (31 years of service)Created a multidisciplinary approach to education and care which led to better health outcomes for patients in the emergency department. Through the development of protocols and creating a culture of clinical excellence and compassionate care, she has improved patient health outcomes and decreased length of stay in the emergency department for admitted ICU patients.

Excellence in Education and Mentorship

  • Eileen Achacoso, BSN, MA, Senior Clinical Consultant, Clinical Information Systems, Central Office (6 years of service) Balances business and clinical requirements with metrics, to best analyze gaps, chart workflow, and ultimately determine a work strategy across the system. In addition to regular duties, she leads the system-wide Nursing Information Systems Advisory Group (NISA), with a mission to support HHC nurses in the field. She has also influenced and expanded the role of nurses into the field of informatics and her enthusiasm and dedication to supporting HHC nurses, especially those new to NISA is unparalleled.

Excellence in Volunteerism and Service

  • Bindu Rai, RN, Staff Nurse, Emergency Department, Elmhurst Hospital (3 years of service) – In addition to her full-time job in the emergency and trauma rooms, she uses her personal funds and vacation time for humanitarian efforts. In June, she served as the Director of Nursing on a medical mission to Ecuador, managed the flow of patients in the clinic and operating room, maintained exam rooms and supplies, and educated patients regarding the potential side effects and proper administration of medication.

HHC Nursing Champion

  • The Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing – Founded in 1996 with the goal of shaping the quality of health care for older adults through excellence in nursing practice. Today, HIGN is a globally recognized leader in the field of geriatrics. In 2008 HHC long-term care staff participated in the Institute’s Nurses Improving the Care of Health System Elders (NICHE) program, emphasizing age-sensitive quality care for better outcomes and improved patient experience. The NICHE program at HHC facilities has continued to expand and is now offered at all 11 acute care hospitals. This year funding from the Institute will support training and standard work at HHC facilities to educate nurses in HHC’s patient-centered medical homes through the Nurses Improving Primary Care for Older Adults program, which emphasizes age-sensitive care.

For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/hhc.

(L-R) Antonio Martin, Corporate Chief Operating Officer, Josephine Bolus, RN, Chair, HHC Strategic Planning and Community Relations Committees, Susan Gullo, RN, Tiffany Reid, CLC, Eileen Achacoso, BSN, Robert Smeltz, NP, Bindu Rai, RN, Staff Nurse, Lauren Johnston, Corporate Chief Nurse, Marie Alverio, RN, Ross Wilson, MD, Corporate Chief Medical Officer  

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