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#GEMawards


Excellence in Management


An RN who makes signifi cant contributions to the management, supervision or direction of the environment of care and the performance of staff , demonstrating an ability to lead, infl uence and improve outcomes of care in any inpatient or outpatient setting.


Anna Liza Fernandez, MSN, RN, CSSM


Nurse Manager, Perioperative


West Palm Beach (Fla.) VA Medical Center


Rising Star


An RN who has been licensed and working in any care setting for fewer than fi ve years and who possesses a strong nursing knowledge base and good clinical skills; who shows special characteristics and traits indicative of future leadership strengths; who has personal and career goals in place and who demonstrates knowledge of current professional nursing issues.


Colleen McKay, BSN, RN Registered Nurse, CVCU


Houston (Tex.) Methodist Willowbrook Hospital


The do’s in leadership are easy, but the don’ts are diffi cult to face. Work on those don’ts and be an inspiration to all. That is one of several tips Fernandez said she has learned and shares with her colleagues as a nurse manager.


Described as an exemplary leader, Fernandez said she received the news of the GEM Award with feelings of surprise, joy and extreme excitement. “Being recognized by the people you are serving is like eating your favorite ice cream; being selected as the winner among a group of honorable nursing leaders is like eating your favorite ice cream complete with all your favorite toppings,” she said.


The hugely successful Lean Six Sigma project Fernandez led, Improving Surgical Excellence through Cultural Transformation, is the pinnacle achievement in her career. Fernandez said this cultural transformation work “aimed to sustain the rather drastic changes the team implemented. I was able to mentor my staff on how to be leaders on their special mini-projects.” She said the program brought out two major changes in the team: cultural transformation and servant leadership.


Holding a patient’s hand, hugging a spouse or crying with a patient’s daughter are the moments in McKay’s day that give her the most satisfaction and joy. “Working in a critical care environment, families and patients oſt en say thank you for the care they receive. I am sure that they never realize how much it blesses me to care for their loved ones,” she said.


Although she has been a nurse for less than two years, she has seized opportunities to practice at the highest level of her training. Her resourcefulness in initiating a Clostridium diffi cile protocol on a patient who entered the hospital with complaints of diarrhea prevented the spread of that patient's strain of Clostridium.


McKay said being a nurse is a great honor, adding: “I am so thankful to share that with my patients and their families.” She said the honor of being selected as a Rising Star is a “surreal experience for being rewarded at this level,” especially since she is doing something she loves. •


Karen Schmidt, RN, is a freelance writer.


READ EXTENDED PROFILES ON THE WINNERS AT Nurse.com/Article/2016-GEM-South-Winners


2016 • Visit us at NURSE.com 15


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