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Upstate celebrates nursing excellence

SYRACUSE, N.Y.-- Upstate University Hospital will host its annual Nursing Excellence Celebration on Thursday, Oct. 25 to honor the outstanding work and commitment of its nursing staff.

The Nursing Excellence Celebration is a 26-year tradition at Upstate. The awards are given in recognition of the nurses’ devotion and commitment to patient care and staff, but also community involvement, leadership skills and other examples of excellence in practice.

“This is the special night when we shine the spotlight on our nurses and honor their contributions,” said Katie Mooney, Upstate’s chief nursing officer. “Our nurses do just about everything.  Whether it’s providing care at the bedside, developing new programs to enhance patient care, training future nurses, or even giving back to the community through their volunteer efforts, our nurses are committed to making lives better for others every day. In their work they exemplify Upstate’s mission, vision and values.”

This year, the awards will honor 62 recipients and recognize a range of achievements.

Patient Service Leader Kim Spinelli, RN, winner of the William Painter Award for her clinical work, is passionate about improving the knowledge base of her peers. Spinelli trained her staff how to do thorough and complete neurological exams and understand complex diagnoses.

But even small actions like taking time to get to know patients go a long way in making their stay at the hospital easier. Cyndy Carr is one of 2012 Excellence Award recipients for showing true devotion to her patients. She has been known to sing happy birthday to patients on their “new birthday,” the day of their stem cell reinfusion, and even provided medical information in both English and Turkish, when she learned one of her patient’s families was from Turkey.

Jodie Purdy, director of nursing recruitment and retention, who helps coordinate the event, said the celebration is dedicated to nurses recognizing the outstanding work of their colleagues.

“The celebration is a way for the nursing staff to nominate their peers that they feel go above and beyond in providing excellence in patient care,” Purdy said.

According to Purdy, this is the first year that the celebration is for both Upstate’s downtown and community campus nurses.

“It’s a great opportunity for the staff of the two campuses to come together as one big nursing department,” said Purdy.

The program will include an invocation, followed by remarks from Upstate Medical University President David R. Smith, MD; Upstate University Hospital CEO John McCabe, MD; Chief Administrative Officer Meredith Price, and Chief Nursing Officer Katie Mooney.

The proceeds from the event, which will include a reception and dinner before the award presentation, will benefit Upstate University Health System: Nursing Recruitment, Recognition and Retention Professional Nursing.

Caption: Kim Spinelli, a registered nurse who is the patient service leader on 9E, the Neuro Intensive Care Unit, will receive the William J. Painter Award at the Nursing Recognition Dinner Oct. 25.  The award is named for William J. Painter, RN, who worked at Upstate University Hospital from 1981 to 1993, and was known for his excellence in the areas of clinical practice, nursing management.