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Upstate celebrates nursing excellence

Stan TallUpstate University Hospital's 25th annual Nursing Excellence Celebration takes place tonight at the Doubletree Hotel. It's one way that Upstate supports its nursing staff, which is growing.

Among the award recipients are 49 "excellence" winners, plus 19 specialty award winners, including two recipients of the William J. Painter Award for Excellence. Two departments -- the Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit and the Regional Oncology Center -- will receive environmental services awards.

In addition, 21 nurses will be recognized for professional advancement, 20 for obtaining their certifications; 20 for receiving their degrees; 37 for retiring and one for having a paper published in the Journal of Ultrasound Medicine.

The William J. Painter Award is named for a man who inspired his colleagues while he worked for Upstate, from 1981 to 1993. Each year, the 3R Advisory Group honors William J. Painter by giving an award for excellence in nursing clinical practice and an award in nursing management to recipients who are named by their peers. Each receives $250 and recognition.

This year's recipients are Lisa Brackett, director of patient support services, and Danielle Keller, case manager in the neurosurgical intensive care unit.

Gamma KnifeLisa Brackett is described as a manager who uses "creative wisdom," by Kelly Dolan, RN Administrative Supervisor. "She has become somewhat of a legend for her ability to find innovative ways to meet the needs of the department (combine positions, split positions, reclassify -- whatever it takes."

This year, Dolan says in her nomination letter, Brackett "worked diligently to develop staffing plans for the coming year which are responsive to the current changes in healthcare reimbursement. Throughout this process she was, as always, steadfast in her commitment to patient care and patient safety."

Outside of work, Brackett is an advocate for animals, working with the nonprofit, Labs for Rescue, an organization that provides new life for rescued or displaced Labrador retrievers. She has four dogs of her own.

Model portfolio AlissaDanielle Keller  joined the neuroscience floor in January 2011. "In this short time, patient average length of stay has decreased from 7.5 days to 5.3 days," writes social worker Paul Stasior in nominating Keller. "The safe patient discharge as rapidly as possible saves money for Upstate hospital, insurance carriers and our patients/families."

Stasior says Keller is "one of the most organizerd persons I have ever met. In rounds, or while working on the floor, she is constantly thinking two to three days ahead, discussing with all staff how are we doing on this or that, managing her patients' care by keepiing everyone involved in patient care accountable."

Outside of work, Keller enjoys outdoor activities including motorcycle, four-wheeler and snowmobile riding. She always wears a helmet.