ABPANC Advocacy Award Winners and Stories
The 10th annual ABPANC Advocacy Award was presented at the CPAN®/CAPA® Celebration Breakfast held in conjunction with the ASPAN National Conference, April 19, 2010 at the New Orleans Marriott Hotel, to Vonda Kay Fitch, RN, CPAN, CAPA. Vonda works in the Same Day Unit, of Carlsbad Medical Center, in Carlsbad, NM. This award publicly recognizes a CPAN or CAPA-certified nurse who exemplifies leadership as a patient advocate and is the highest accolade given to a certified nurse. Veronica Barnhart, RN, nominated her colleague and wrote a story describing two moving instances when Vonda truly advocated for patients.
Vonda was presented with the beautiful Lladro Nurse Statue and a scholarship for her next recertification fee. Veronica, as the individual who took the time to submit the story, received a $100 cash award. The unit in which Vonda and Veronica work received a $350 award to use for certification/recertification fees, books, or continuing education.
Please note: A blind review process is used to select the recipient of the Advocacy Award.
Vonda exemplifies the role of the perianesthesia nurse, especially in her leadership as a patient advocate. She has worked in the Same Day Unit at Carlsbad Medical Center since 1986. She has been a member of ASPAN since 1988. She is CCRN certified (since 1991), CAPA certified (since 1994), and CPAN certified (since 2003). She has also been a member of the CAPA and CPAN examination review committee since 2005. Her commitment to professional development is a constant in her nursing career. This commitment is only exceeded by her compassion for patients and excellent patient skills. She is never in a hurry, always making time to listen and show concern. She acts as an advocate for each and every patient at every encounter.
Her preparation of patients pre-operatively and care for patients no matter how complicated post-op is unequaled. She is great at thinking through a problem and reaching resolution. The staff in surgical services knows that she is a ready resource, willing to help out even on her days off.
Two examples of her compassion for excellent patient care, out of many, are as follows: Vonda was admitting an orthopedic patient for surgery. He was going to be admitted after surgery. He was homeless and living under a bridge with his dog. She realized his clothing needed to be laundered. Seeing this as a matter of hygiene as well as comfort, she took his clothing to a local Laundromat and washed his clothing and shoes. She knew he didn’t have anyone to help him or visit him while in the hospital, but she knew it was important for him to have clean clothes when he was discharged. In this instance, Vonda exceeded any job expectation.
An example of her excellent observations skills: Vonda was in the lobby of the hospital and noticed a young woman being discharged after having a baby. She noticed the young woman seemed to be in distress. She asked the woman what was wrong and the woman said she had a severe headache. Vonda realized she had a spinal headache and accompanied her back to same day surgery and helped arrange for a blood patch.
These are only two examples of Vonda’s leadership as a patient advocate. Her dedication and positive attitude are genuine and inspiring. Nursing benefits from role models like Vonda, and Carlsbad Medical Center is lucky to have her as a staff member.
Her passion for nursing and quality patient care, her dedication to the education of nurses and her leadership qualities have earned her the respect of all who know her. She does this all quietly and in a professional manner. That is why I am nominating her for the Advocacy Award.