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Two Registered Nurses at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Receive Grants from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation

CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121


LOS ANGELES – Rita Secola, R.N., MSN, CPON, and Mary Nelson, R.N., M.S., CPNP, from Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, are both 2009 nursing grant recipients from the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation awarded $246,300 in grants, designed to improve the quality of care and life for young cancer patients and their families, to nurses at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, the University of Arizona and the University of California, San Francisco.
Having awarded medical research grants to leading hospitals and institutions across the nation, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation felt it was important to invest in helping nurses find better ways to care for children undergoing cancer treatment.
“Along with funding cutting edge medical research to find causes and cures for childhood cancer, we think it is equally important to improve the quality of care and life for childhood cancer patients and their families,” said Liz Scott, Alex’s mom and director of development for the Foundation.  “Nurses have direct interaction with cancer patients as they undergo treatments, giving them a unique view into ways their patients’ lives can be improved; we are here to help them do just that.”
 Ms. Secola, Hematology/Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant clinical manager and doctoral student at the UCLA School of Nursing, received a $26,300 two-year grant in the “Intermediate Nurse Researcher” category, to study Central venous catheter related bloodstream infections in pediatric cancer.
“For the majority of children diagnosed with cancer every year,” said Ms. Secola, “treatment will include the use of a central venous catheter (CVC).  The CVC maintains reliable intravenous access for medications and treatments, but also is associated with a risk of infection.”
This risk is particularly important in children with cancer because their immune function remains decreased throughout the treatment period.  “Our research study hopes to reduce CVC related infections in children with cancer,” Ms. Secola said.
Ms. Nelson, a pediatric nurse practitioner in Imaging Services/Anesthesia at Childrens Hospital, is a doctoral student at the UCLA School of Nursing, and received a $20,000 two-year grant in the “Mentored Nurse Researcher” category, to study Neuronal damage, neurocognitive losses and quality of life following high-dose chemotherapy in children with brain tumors.


“For those who survive brain tumors, neurocognitive deficits are common in the areas of memory, problem-solving and planning,” said Ms. Nelson.  “These deficits have been linked not only to poor educational attainment, but also to behavioral and social difficulties, all of which may contribute to poor quality of life.”
According to Ms. Nelson, there is some evidence that chemotherapy alone may contribute to cognitive effects in patients, but there is little research in the area of these effects in children treated in this manner for brain tumors.
“The overall objective of my study is to determine whether children treated with high-dose chemotherapy for brain tumors will display key areas of white matter and gray matter injury due to this treatment, which results in deficits in cognitive functioning and decreased quality of life,” Ms. Nelson said.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004).  With the vision of finding a cure for all childhood cancers, Alex set out to hold lemonade stands to raise funds to do just that.  Nearly 10 years later, the Foundation bearing her name funds both medical and nursing research, which aims to not only find better treatments and cures for all childhood cancer, but to improve the quality of care and life for children and their families fighting the disease.  To date, ALSF has raised more than $25 million toward fulfilling Alex’s dream of finding a cure, funding over 100 research projects nationally, including those examining leukemia, brain tumors, neuroblastoma, Wilm’s tumor, lymphoma and osteosarcoma, among others.
Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California since 1932.  The Saban Research Institute of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is among the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States. 
Since 1990, U.S. News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation.  Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is one of only 10 children’s hospitals in the nation – and the only children’s hospital on the West Coast – ranked in all 10 pediatric specialties in the U.S. News & World Report rankings and named to the magazine’s “Honor Roll” of children’s hospitals.



Mary Dee Hacker Receives Lifetime Achievement Award From NurseWeek Magazine at its Annual NurseWeek Excellence Event

CONTACT:  Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121

Kathy Ruccione, RN, was nominated in the category – Advancing and Leading the Profession

LOS ANGELES – Mary Dee Hacker, R.N., MBA, vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, received the “Diane Cooper Lifetime Achievement Award” at the Annual NurseWeek Magazine “Nursing Excellence Awards” ceremony held at the Garden Grove Hyatt Hotel on Sept. 25, 2009.

“Diane Cooper is one of my nurse heroes,” Hacker said, “and it is a great honor to be recognized with a lifetime achievement award in her name.

“I’m so proud to work at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles where I’m surrounded by the best.  And we’re supported by an organization that believes in professional nursing and the safety and care that we provide our children.  I love this profession, and I always say that I am most proud when I can tell someone that I am a registered nurse at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles,” she concluded.

Hacker is no stranger to accolades.  She received the St. Catherine University Alumnae Award (2009), the “Profiles in Nursing” award from Working Nurse (2007) and “Best Practice – Administration” from the Association of California Nurse Leaders (2003).

Hacker received the Marion Vannier Award for the “Advancement of the Profession of Nursing and the Care of Children” (2001), and was the recipient of the Association of California Nurse Leaders  “Excellence in Nursing Leadership” award  (2000).  She was named one of “California’s 100 Most Influential & Interesting Healthcare Leaders” by California Medicine magazine in 1997.  Hacker also received the 1997 “RN Excellence Award” bestowed by NurseWeek magazine.

Hacker is among the best-known leaders in nursing in California.  At Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, she initiated the development of an R.N. Residency known nationally as Versant.

Hacker is a member of the California Institute for Nursing and Healthcare (CINHC), Cerner’s Patient Care Executive Council, the Governance and Advisory Council for CalNOC, the American Nurses’ Association/California, the California State University, Los Angeles Department of Nursing Advisory Committee, the American Organization of Nurse Executives and the Society of Pediatric Nurses.

She is very active in the community, serving as a Board member for the DAISY Foundation and Versant, and as a member of numerous organizations, including Campbell Hall School, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and Hillsides.

Hacker was named a member of the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Board of Trustees in 2008.

She earned her R.N. degree from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota, and her MBA from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.  She also graduated from the Wharton Fellows Program in Management for Nurse Executives, an intensive three-week management education program held at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

Hacker is married to Steve Nishibayashi, M.D., a pediatrician and clinical associate professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, who practices in Glendale.  The couple and their two children, Kathryn and Mark reside in Glendale.

In addition, Kathy Ruccione, R.N., MPH, CPON, FAAN, director of Center Communication and co-director of the HOPE Program (Hematology-Oncology Psychosocial and Education) at the Childrens Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, and professor of clinical pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, was a nominee in the category  “Advancing and Leading the Profession.”

Ruccione was honored with the Davol Award for Excellence in Research from the Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses (APON) in 1989 and 1990; and the Jean Fergusson Award for Excellence in Education from the APON; the Senior Writing Award of The Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing in 1994 and 1999; and the Founders Award from the Southern California Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses in 1996, which was named for her.  She received the APON Casey Hooke Distinguished Service Award in 2008 and was named a finalist in the California NurseWeek “Nursing Excellence Awards” (Advancing and Leading the Profession category) in 2009.

Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California since 1932.  The Saban Research Institute of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is among the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States.

Since 1990, U.S. News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation.  Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is one of only 10 children’s hospitals in the nation – and the only children’s hospital on the West Coast – ranked in all 10 pediatric specialties in the U.S. News & World Report rankings and named to the magazine’s “Honor Roll” of children’s hospitals.

Visit our website: www.ChildrensHospitalLA.org



Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Recognizes Nurses with 35 Years or More of Service

Actress Annette Bening leads the special tribute at the Noche de Niños Gala at the Beverly Hilton

\CONTACT: Marlen Bugarin at (323) 361-5567

LOS ANGELES –Childrens Hospital Los Angeles honored 12 of its nurses for their dedication and years of service at the star- studded Noche de Ninos Gala held recently at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The nurse honorees were paid special tribute by actress Annette Bening for “…sharing their compassion and commitment…” in 35 years or more of service at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

The 12 nurse honorees have a combined 450 years of service to the hospital and the thousands of children and families it has served during their careers.
 
The following were honored:

36 Years of Service
Claudia Castellon, RN, who works in the Newborn and Critical Care Unit (NICCU) and resides in Atwater Village.
Cristine Ferrero, RN, MN, who works in Mental Health under General Pediatrics and resides in Burbank.
Pat Gisler, RN, who works in the Newborn and Critical Care Unit (NICCU) and resides in Redondo Beach.
Betty Reese, RN, who is part of the Intravenous Team and resides in Claremont.
Kathy Ruccione, RN, MPH, FAAN, who is co-director of the HOPE (Hemotology-Oncology Psychosocial and Education) Program at the Childrens Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases and resides in Burbank.

37 Years of Service
Wendy Christiana, RN, who works in the Post-operative Surgical Unit and resides in West Hollywood.
Victoria Ferrer, RN, MN, who is part of the Peri-operative Team in the Ambulatory Surgery Center and resides in Arleta.

38 Years of Service
Rebecca Corpuz Agdeppa, RN, BSN, who works in the Post-operative Surgical Unit and resides in West Covina.
Judy Wong, RN, BSN, who works in the Emergency Department and resides in Los Angeles.

39 Years of Service
Thomas “Tommy” Convington, RN, who works in the Childrens Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases and resides in Valencia.

41 Years of Service
Nancy Bridges, RN, MBA, CNOR, who is a manager in the Department of Surgery and resides in Sunland.
Phyllis D’Ambra, RN, MPA, who is a manager in the Childrens Orthopaedics Center and resides in Burbank.

To download photo of nurses honored at Noche de Niños, click here. Photo Caption: Left to right: Claudia Castellon, RN; Pat Gisler, RN; Cristine Ferrero, RN, MN; Rebecca Corpuz Agdeppa, RN, BSN; Judy Wong, RN, BSN; Victoria Ferrer; Thomas “Tommy” Covington, RN; Nancy Bridges, RN, MBA, CNOR; Wendy Christiana, RN; Betty Reese, RN; Phyllis D’Ambra, RN, MPA; and Kathleen S. Ruccione, RN, MPH, FAAN.

Noche de Niños is the legacy of Dustin Meraz, a terminally ill 11-year-old boy, who used the last weeks of his life to be a voice for critically ill children.  His memory lives on through this event and the funds raised provide care and support to pediatric patients and their families.

Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America's premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California since 1932. It is a national leader in pediatric research. The Saban Research Institute of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is one of the few freestanding research centers in the nation to combine scientific inquiry with patient clinical care – dedicated exclusively to children. Its base of knowledge is widely considered to be among the best in pediatric medicine, with 91 investigators at work on 231 laboratory studies, clinical trials and community-based research and health services.

Since 1990, U.S. News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation.
 



Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is Granted the Highly Coveted “Magnet Recognition” for Nursing Excellence

Only five percent of hospitals in U.S. have received Magnet status

CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121

LOS ANGELES – The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) yesterday (Feb. 20, 2008) granted “Magnet Recognition” to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles for nursing excellence, according to an announcement by Richard D. Cordova, FACHE, president and CEO of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

“The ANCC made ‘official’ what so many of our patient families and those within the profession have come to know,” Cordova said, “….that this hospital is a very, very special place, and its nurses are, too.”

The Magnet Recognition Program® was developed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center to recognize health care organizations that demonstrate nursing excellence. Only five percent of the hospitals in the United States have received Magnet Recognition, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, and only the very best children’s hospitals throughout the country.

The Magnet Recognition for Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is the culmination of an extended process that began under the leadership of Vice President for Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer Mary Dee Hacker, R.N., MBA, more than three years ago.

“Our nurses work tirelessly to provide the highest quality of care available, anywhere, built on a foundation of evidence-based best practices,” Cordova said. “They have embraced the goal of becoming leaders in research and education, too. Their work is found in professional journals, publications and textbooks.

“Our nurses participate in national and international conferences,” he said, “presenting their work in posters and at the podium. They are considered experts, and they are sought as consultants, nationally and internationally.

“Many of our nurses are leaders within the profession or serve as members of the faculty in nursing departments at colleges and universities in and around Los Angeles,” Cordova said. “They volunteer in their communities and abroad.”

The three-year Magnet Recognition application process was under the direction of Susan Cline, RNC, MSN, MBA, who is now operations manager in the Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. The process involved more than 100 nurses in the creation of a document, with addenda, of more than 3,500 pages.

The original Magnet research study in 1983 identified 14 characteristics that differentiated organizations that were best able to recruit and retain nurses during the nursing shortages of the 1970s and 1980s. These characteristics became the ANCC Forces of Magnetism that provide the conceptual framework for the Magnet appraisal process – attributes or outcomes that exemplify excellence in nursing.

The full expression of the current 14 Forces of Magnetism is the requirement for designation as a Magnet facility and embodies a professional environment guided by a strong and visionary nursing leader who advocates and supports excellence in nursing practice.

They are Force 1: Quality of Nursing Leadership; Force 2: Organizational Structure; Force 3: Management Style; Force 4: Personnel Policies and Programs; Force 5: Professional Models of Care; Force 6: Quality of Care; Force 7: Quality Improvement; Force 8: Consultation and Resources; Force 9: Autonomy; Force 10: Community and the Healthcare Organization; Force 11: Nurses as Teachers; Force 12: Image of Nursing; Force 13: Interdisciplinary Relationships; and Force 14: Professional Development.

Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California since 1932. It is a national leader in pediatric research.

Childrens Hospital Los Angeles treats 62,000 patients a year in its Emergency Department. It admits more than 11,000 children a year to the hospital, with almost 50-percent of those admissions children under four years of age. There are approximately 287,000 visits a year to its 29 outpatient clinics; nearly 2,800 visits at community sites through its Division of Adolescent Medicine. Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is able to offer the optimum in multidisciplinary care, with more than 100 pediatric subspecialty services.

Since 1990, U.S. News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation.



Josephine “Jiffy” Ellashek the Recipient of a Hospital Hero Award from the National Health Foundation

CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121

LOS ANGELES – Josephine “Jiffy” Ellashek, R.N., a nurse coordinator in the Division of Otolaryngology at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, received a Hospital Hero from the National Health Foundation at its Second Annual Awards Luncheon at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles on Nov. 9, 2007.

The Hospital Hero Award honors health care professionals that help “…to create miracles for patients each and every day.”

Since 1990, Ms. Ellashek has used her personal vacation time to go on humanitarian mission to Third-World countries for the organizations like Healing the Children and Mending Kids International. Ms. Ellashek has visited Thailand, and several countries in Central and South America, working 12- to 16-hour days, to provide post-operative care to heart surgery patients.

“I always take the opportunity to learn about the country, the people, their culture and their language,” she said.

Some of the superlatives “…lavished…” upon Ms. Ellashek by her co-workers, supervisors and physicians:

  • “Jiffy” does extraordinary things while performing her ordinary job! Her service to our tracheotomy patients and families has become the standard of care in our hospital community.
  • Her teaching and evaluation of the competency of the caretakers before the patient is discharged helps avoid unnecessary trips to the Emergency Department, unnecessary hospitalization and unnecessary complications.
  • “Jiffy” provides physicians with an accurate and clear assessment of a patient’s status so that we can intervene in a timely manner; especially important in patients with airway issues.
  • “Jiffy” schedules parents’ teaching sessions to fit their needs, no matter the time of day or night that might be. She often calls them at home to see if they have questions.<
  • She is honest and direct with her patients and families, using equal parts of health tips, spiced with constructive recommendations, all with the goal of making the home a safer environment for the patient.
  • “Jiffy” makes herself available to the school and home health nurses who care for kids after they are discharged.
  • “Jiffy” is a super nurse, but more importantly, she is a very special human being!
  • “Jiffy” is a true “…ambassador…” for American medicine abroad.
  • A parent wrote, “I thank God the day “Jiffy” decided to become a nurse. She is a hero, and consistently gave us hope, courage and strength to deal with our child’s illness. She armed us with useful knowledge and skills to care for our child. She showed us tools and ways to live as close to normal as possible. She kept an open door for us. She is always there to listen and encourage.”

Ms. Ellashek has served Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in a variety of nursing positions since joining the staff in 1985 as a registered nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), where she worked until 1998. She then moved to the Critical Care Float/Sedation Unit team (1998-2001) and was named Otolaryngology Nurse Coordinator in 2001.

Ms. Ellashek was a nominee for NurseWeek magazine’s “Clinical Care Excellence” award in May 2004. She received the Morris and Mary Press Humanitarian Award in Nursing from Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in April 2004.

Ms. Ellashek received a liberal arts degree from Far Eastern University in the Philippines (1976), and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from United Doctors Medical Center in the Philippines (1980). She received her registered nurse license in California in 1984.

Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California since 1932. It is a national leader in pediatric research.

Since 1990, U.S. News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation.



Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Nurses are Recognized by the Southern California Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses

Both receive the Kathy Ruccione Founder’s Award for Excellence In Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nursing

CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121

LOS ANGELES – Two Childrens Hospital Los Angeles nurses – Rita Secola, R.N., MSN, CPON and Anne Nord, R.N., BSN – received the Kathy Ruccione Founder’s Award for Excellence in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nursing from the Southern California Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (SCAPHON) at the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON) conference, May 10-11, 2007, in San Diego.

In 1995, the SCAPHON board of directors bestowed the first Founder’s Award to Kathy Ruccione, R.N., MPH, FAAN, CPON, nursing administrator in the Childrens Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and an associate professor of clinical pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. Ms. Ruccione was the driving force behind establishing the Southern California chapter of the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses.

“It is an honor and privilege for all Childrens Hospital Los Angeles nurses to work with Rita and Anne,” said Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Mary Dee Hacker. “They are role models for all of us to strive to be the best nurses possible to the children and families we serve.

“The Kathy Ruccione Founder’s Award for Excellence in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nursing is the highest honor bestowed by SCAPHON and [Childrens Hospital Los Angeles] we are proud and honored that two of our very best were recognized this year with this award.”

Ms. Secola is the clinical nurse manager of the Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation units in the Childrens Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

Ms. Secola received a bachelor’s degree in nursing (1983) from Carlow College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in nursing (1988) from the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. She became a certified pediatric oncology nurse (CPON) in 1993.

Ms. Nord is the hematology research nurse coordinator in the Childrens Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. She coordinates clinical trials in Hematology and assists in the planning, development and implementation of clinical protocols in accordance with the parameters established by the principal investigator and the hospital’s Institutional Review Board.

Ms. Nord received both an associate’s degree in nursing (1989) and a bachelor’s degree in nursing (1990) from Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles.

Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 75 years. It is a national leader in pediatric research.

Since 1990, U.S. News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation.



Versant Advantage, Inc. Recognized with the 2007 MS-HUG Annual Innovation Award

Innovative nurse training tool honored by Microsoft for its significant benefits to health care organizations and patients

CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121

LOS ANGELES – Versant Advantage, Inc., and SystemArts, Inc., were recognized as winners with the 2007 MS-HUG (Microsoft Healthcare Users Group) Annual Innovation Award in the Delivery Transformation category, according to an announcement yesterday (Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007) at the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HMISS) annual conference in New Orleans.

The MS-HUG awards recognize health care organizations and individuals who exhibit the best use of Microsoft-based products, as well as independent software vendors that develop solutions on Microsoft technology for the health care industry. Award recipients were evaluated on how they provided significant business benefits to health care organizations and improved patient care.

Designed by nurses, for nurses, the Versant RN Residency is a comprehensive, evidence-based, outcome-driven program that transitions new graduate nurses from the novice student role to competent and confident professional clinician. Versant residents are enriched with classes delivered through the Versant Voyager portal in conjunction with their clinical training. The web-based application executes Versant’s suite of workforce development applications to track and monitor professional growth. Versant partnered with SystemArts, Inc., an integrator of enterprise technology, to develop Versant Voyager. SystemArts provides ongoing maintenance and support for Versant’s web-portal.

“Versant is honored to be recognized by Microsoft as a leader and innovator in health care,” said Charles Krozek, R.N., M.N., president and managing director of Versant Advantage. “We realize the importance of educating Registered Nurse graduates with a research-based program that leverages an instructor-led, application-based curriculum.

“Built on Microsoft’s platform, Versant’s Voyager web portal delivers the best in continued learning and ensures new nurses receive the nurturing and training they need to succeed in the hospital environment,” Krozek said.

Microsoft Healthcare Users Group is a membership community within the HIMSS Users Group Alliance Program, providing technology leadership and knowledge for improving health care delivery and efficiency. The Alliance provides HIMSS with targeted industry expertise to help broaden its professional and industry contributions, and provides MS-HUG members with the opportunity to reach new markets with educational and professional development programs.

Established by Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Versant Advantage, Inc. is a non-profit public benefit corporation developed in response to the severe national shortage of experienced nurses. Designed by nurses for nurses, Versant is a leading provider of integrated, evidence-based and Web-facilitated programs that assist hospitals and healthcare organizations with strategically stabilizing their RN workforce while optimizing financial performance. Versant Voyager™ is the Web-based application that executes Versant’s suite of workforce development applications to track and monitor professional growth. More than 2,000 newly graduated registered nursing students from over 30 hospitals nationwide have completed the Versant RN Residency. Versant’s clients include leading healthcare institutions, such as Advocate Illinois Medical Center, John Muir Medical Center, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and Northridge Hospital Medical Center. For more information on the Versant RN Residency, please visit: www.versant.org.

SystemArts is an integrator of enterprise technology that helps organizations achieve measurable return on their new and existing investments through the design and implementation of information systems. We bring a high-performance and committed team with diverse skills to help our clients achieve exceptional results for their enterprise IT solutions and gain competitive advantage through the implementation of cutting-edge technology. Across our service areas we apply business insight and deep technical expertise to create innovative, cost-effective solutions that deliver strategic business value. Our core solutions and service offerings include: healthcare IT systems, business intelligence and data warehouse design and support, secure application hosting and administration, and mobile solutions design and integration. For more information visit: www.systemarts.net.

Founded in 1961, HIMSS is the health care industry’s membership organization exclusively focused on providing leadership for the optimal use of health care information technology and management systems for the betterment of health care. HIMSS represents more than 20,000 individual members and more than 300 corporate members.

Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 75 years. It is a national leader in pediatric research.

Since 1990, U.S. News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation. Child magazine also has ranked Childrens Hospital Los Angeles among the top children’s hospitals in America.



Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Nurse Receives Award from the Organization of Healthcare Educators

CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121

LOS ANGELES – Debbie Reid, RN, BSN, CPON, the manager of patient care services education for the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, received the “Outstanding Member of the Year Award” from the Organization of Healthcare Educators (OHE) at its annual Installation Luncheon in Pasadena on Jan. 26, 2007, according to Mary Dee Hacker, vice president and chief nursing officer at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

“Debbie is very committed to supporting her nursing team in becoming well educated professionals,” said Ms. Hacker. “I am very grateful to her for her energy and commitment to excellence.”

The Outstanding Member of the Year award, created 25 years ago to recognize peers in the field of healthcare education, is awarded annually to a member who “…demonstrates leadership, initiative, commitment and professionalism.”

As the education manager since 1996, Ms. Reid is not only responsible for educational programs on the Hematology/Oncology unit, but for the rest of the hospital as well. She shares the responsibility for the coordination and operation of the unit with the clinical manager and operations manager.

In addition, she supervises all new registered nurses (RNs) through their first year of employment, as well as all the LVNs (licensed vocational nurses) and PCSAs (patient care services aids) to achieve the goals and objectives of the unit.

Ms. Reid has been a member of the OHE for four years, and is in the second year of her two-year term as the organization’s secretary.

“I enjoy the networking this group has allowed me to do,” Ms. Reid said. “I meet with educators from all over the greater Los Angeles area, and from different venues, not just pediatrics.

“I have learned a great deal form these people,” she said, “and I value the relationships I have made with so many of them.”

According to Ms. Reid, the primary reason she received the award was due to her work on arranging for the OHE to be the Southern California affiliate of the National Nursing Staff Development Organization (NNSDO), since there wasn’t one in the Los Angeles area.

“I felt we could gain so much by being part of their national organization for educators,” she said. The process is not complete, but Ms. Reid feels confident that the OHE will indeed become an affiliate of the NNSDO.

Ms. Reid received a bachelor’s degree in marine biology (1988) from California State University, Northridge, and a bachelor’s degree in nursing (1991) from California State University, Los Angeles. She is working on her master’s degree in nursing at California State University, Los Angeles.

Ms. Reid joined Childrens Hospital Los Angeles as a student nurse in 1990, assisting in the care of pediatric oncology patients.

She and her husband, Iain, and their two children, live in Burbank.

The Organization of Healthcare Educators (OHE) is a non-profit professional organization committed to providing leadership, professional support and development in all areas of healthcare education. OHE proudly traces its organizational roots back almost 50 years. The OHE became officially incorporated by the State of California in 1999. They provide healthcare education within numerous divers settings, including acute care hospitals, sub-acute and skilled nursing facilities, ambulatory care, HMOs, community and academic settings.

Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 75 years. It is a national leader in pediatric research.

Since 1990, U.S.News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation. Child magazine also has ranked Childrens Hospital Los Angeles among the top children’s hospitals in America.



Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Wins Consumer Health World Award

Program for improving the quality of pediatric trauma care is honored

CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121

LOS ANGELES – Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and its efforts to improve the quality of pediatric trauma and critical care were recognized this week (Dec. 12, 2006) with a Consumer Health World (CHW) Award at a special ceremony at the organization’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The program was honored with a second-place award.

The program submitted by Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, entitled, “Using Public Surveillance Systems to Advance Pediatric Trauma Critical Care,” was authored by Elizabeth Ferguson, R.N., BSN, a nurse research associate in the Department of Anesthesiology Critical Care Medicine; Theresa M. Dunaway, R.N., MBA, CCRP, a clinical research coordinator in the Division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy; and Christy L. Beaudin, Ph.D., LCSW, CPHQ, vice president and chief quality officer at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

To improve quality of care, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles developed the Pediatric Trauma Critical Care Conference (PTCCC) in 1999, and continues to fund it at a time when other hospitals are closing their trauma programs and emergency departments.

“The conference expanded the hospital’s impact on treatment approaches to seriously injured children and pediatric trauma prevention,” Dr. Beaudin said. “For the past seven years, this innovative program has proactively brought the current issues of pediatric trauma to the health care community in Southern California.”

The PTCCC bridges the gap between surveillance data on childhood injuries and equipping health care professionals to address the issues of patients and families confronted with pediatric trauma.

The PTCC coordinators at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles use the Los Angeles County Trauma and Emergency Medicine Information System (TEMIS) to obtain the latest local and national trauma data. TEMIS links the county, state and national trauma systems for data related to causes of injury, fatalities and hospitalizations. These findings inform the curriculum development for the PTCCC.

PTCCC provides an integral service to the community and serves as a forum for national and community leaders to present current issues based on the data from the TEMIS. Each year, an annual “…drill down…” of TEMIS data is conducted by PTCCC coordinators to identify the most salient issues for prevention and treatment based on the year’s events. This enables the staff at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles to develop the content for PTCCC based on “…actual versus perceived…” community need. The results:

  • Increased collaboration between the health care team and the government officials;
  • Increased awareness and knowledge to ensure children receive the most effective acute and long-term treatment; and
  • Improved community environment promoting prevention.

“The ultimate beneficiary of the program is the child,” Beaudin said, “because the PTCCC program facilitates the healing of injured children.”

By sharing information from the local and national data centers, Southern California benefits from a health care team readily equipped to respond to pediatric trauma.

Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 74 years. It is a national leader in pediatric research.

Childrens Hospital Los Angeles treats 62,000 patients a year in its Emergency Department. It admits more than 11,000 children a year to the hospital, with almost 50-percent of those admissions children under four years of age. There are more than 287,000 visits a year to its 29 outpatient clinics; more than 3,300 visits at community sites through its Division of Adolescent Medicine. Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is able to offer the optimum in multidisciplinary care, with more than 85 pediatric subspecialties and dozens of special services for children and families.

Since 1990, U.S.News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation. Child magazine also ranked Childrens Hospital Los Angeles among the Top Ten children’s hospitals in America in its February 2005 issue.



Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Nurse is a Finalist for the ADVANCE for Nurses Magazine’s “2006 Best Nurse Leader” Award

CONTACT: Steve Rutledge

LOS ANGELES – Rita Secola, MSN, RN, CPON, clinical manager in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, has been selected as a finalist in the 2006 Best Nurse Leader Award, sponsored by ADVANCE for Nurses, according to Linda Jones, editorial director of the magazine.

Ms. Secola will be featured, along with the other nominees, in the October 30, 2006 issue of ADVANCE for Nurses.

“I am truly honored to have been nominated for this award,” Ms. Secola said. “I am dedicated to my career, and I will continue to work hard to promote clinical practice and leadership in my position here at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

“My work here is exciting, rewarding and educational,” she said, adding that “…the care of our patients and their quality of life depend on our future nurses and leaders, and I’m proud to a part of that development.”

“We have heard time and again, that a nursing unit is a great place to work when it has a supportive, respected nurse leader,” Ms. Jones said. “We wanted to recognize these leaders and acknowledge all they do for staff and for their facility.”

Nurses across the Southern California region nominated more than three-dozen nurse managers, directors of nursing, nursing supervisors and charge nurses for consideration by the magazine. A panel of three judges evaluated the entries by awarding scores on: how the manager made a difference in patient outcomes, interpersonal relationships, professional development, effectiveness and efficiency of the unit, making a difference in the overall work environment, and other qualities.

“Rita is an outstanding nurse leader,” said Mary Dee Hacker, vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. “She inspires all of us to be excellent nurses, and she is very deserving of this recognition. I am very proud to work with her.”

ADVANCE for Nurses, a biweekly magazine, reaches registered nurses with editions in 10 regional areas. It presents articles and features for registered nurses of all specialties, and features clinical information and local nursing coverage. Merion Publications, Inc., publisher of ADVANCE for Nurses, is a family of 30 publications serving more than 1.7 million healthcare professionals nationwide, including 800,000 nurses.

Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 74 years. It is a national leader in pediatric research.

Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is the only hospital in Greater Los Angeles affiliated with the Children’s Miracle Network, an international non-profit organization dedicated to helping children by raising funds and awareness for pediatric hospitals throughout North America.

Since 1990, U.S.News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation. Child magazine also ranked Childrens Hospital Los Angeles among the Top Ten children’s hospitals in America in its February 2005 issue.



Nurse at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Makes a Presentation at Conference in Zurich, Switzerland

CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121

LOS ANGELES – Colleene Young, R.N., a clinical nurse IV and core charge nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles made a poster presentation entitled, “Continuous Veno-Venous Hemofiltration Dialysis (CVVHD) as Toxin Removal in an Anhepatic Patient,” at the Fourth International Conference on Pediatric Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

Nurses and physicians from 26 countries participated in the conference. The abstract of the presentation is published in the May 2006 issue of the journal Pediatric Nephrology.

“The poster outlined a case study of one of our patients who had undergone liver transplantation and had to return to surgery to remove the newly transplanted liver due to hepatic artery and portal vein thrombosis,” said Ms. Young. The surgeons removed the liver to prevent toxic liver necrosis.

“In this instance,” she said, “CVVHD was a life-saving bridge for this patient while he awaited a second liver transplant.

“In many medical centers around the United States and internationally, they have specialized nurses whose job is to set up and manage the CVVHD, while the PICU nurse just takes care of the patient,” Ms. Young said. “At Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, our nurses do both, while working closely with the physicians in a team approach to patient care.”

Ms. Young joined Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in 1986 as nurse in the PICU, immediately after she received her bachelor’s degree in nursing at California State University, Los Angeles. She was a certified nurse assistant at Western Medical Center in Anaheim, California (1980-86).

Ms. Young lives in Anaheim, California.

Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 73 years. It is a national leader in pediatric research.

Since 1990, U.S.News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation. Child magazine also ranked Childrens Hospital Los Angeles among the Top Ten children’s hospitals in America in its February 2005 issue.



Nurse at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Chosen to Speak at Johnson & Johnson Gala in Los Angeles

CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121



LOS ANGELES – William Kenny, R.N., BSN, a nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, was chosen to share his story about becoming a nurse at The Promise of Nursing for Southern California Gala on April 27, 2006 at the Century Plaza Hyatt Regency in Los Angeles.

The Promise of Nursing for Southern California, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson since 2003, is expected to raise $550,000 this year for nursing school grants, fellowships and scholarships for Southern California. One hundred percent of the sponsorship funds from the event will support nursing student scholarships, fellowships to prepare nurses to become nursing faculty, and grants to Southern California area nursing schools to help expand their program capacity.

Mr. Kenny, a recent graduate of the RN Residency in Pediatrics program at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, was nominated for the honor by Mary Dee Hacker, R.N., MBA, vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

According to Lorie Kraynak with Johnson & Johnson’s Campaign for Nursing’s Future, “Mr. Kenny was chosen as one of our speakers because of his outstanding commitment to nursing and his patients, and to making a difference in the lives of so many people each day.”

To qualify as one of the four speakers chosen, Mr. Kenny was required to write a short summary of why he chose nursing as a career, and he had an interesting story to share.

“I studied creative writing in college and worked in television for several years, starting as an NBC page at Rockefeller Center in New York City,” Mr. Kenny said. He eventually became a writer/producer for such shows as “Designing Women,” “Blossom,” “The Newlywed Game,” Family Feud,” “Pyramid” and “Big Brother.”

Mr. Kenny also is a two-time cancer survivor, and it was during his volunteer work at The Wellness Community, an organization that offers free psychosocial support for cancer survivors and their families, that he decided to pursue a career in nursing.

After transferring from Boston College, Mr. Kenny graduated from San Francisco State University (1982) with a degree in creative writing. He received his bachelor’s degree in nursing from Mount Saint Mary’s College (May 2005) in Los Angeles, where he received two honors: the Accelerated Nursing Student Award and the Leadership Award.

Mr. Kenny joined the RN Residency program at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in August 2005, and graduated in January 2006.

During his year-long tenure as a student nurse (2004-2005) he served rotations at UCLA Medical Center, UCLA Harbor Medical Center, UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance, Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, the Los Angeles Public Health Department, and the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Westwood, before joining the R.N. Residency program at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

Mr. Kenny lives in Los Angeles.

Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 73 years. It is a national leader in pediatric research. Training programs at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles include 274 medical students, 84 full-time residents and 73 fellows, who collectively reflect the diversity of the patient population and the city of Los Angeles. Those who receive their instruction in pediatrics at Childrens Hospital care for children in the community, throughout the United States and in countries as far away as Japan, Australia, China, Turkey and Israel.

Our unique approach to teaching also has created a new national model – The RN Residency in Pediatrics, a 22-week program that provides new nursing school graduates with a comprehensive guided clinical experience to prepare them for work in an acute care environment. To date, 405 nurses have successfully completed the residency. Graduates of the RN Residency have a turnover rate of only 15-percent for the first year of employment, compared to 36-percent prior to the advent of the residency program; the 24-month turnover rate has been reduced from 56-percent to 25-percent.

Since 1990, U.S.News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation. Child magazine also ranked Childrens Hospital Los Angeles among the Top Ten children’s hospitals in America in its February 2005 issue.



Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Nurse Elected to Leadership Position with Prestigious Nursing Organization

San Dimas resident heads LA Chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121


LOS ANGELES – Judith K. Cobos, R.N., MSN, a nurse at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, has been elected president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNP). She is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner in Surgical Admitting at Childrens Hospital.

Ms. Cobos began working at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in 1978 as a respiratory care practitioner and member of the Emergency Transport Team. She also has worked in the hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Ms. Cobos received her associate’s degree in respiratory care (1978) from El Camino College and an associate’s degree in nursing (1990) from Mount San Antonio College. She received a bachelor’s degree in nursing (1995) and master’s degree in nursing (1998), both from California State University, Long Beach.

The NAPNP serves as an active advocates for children’s health by providing funding, education and research opportunities to pediatric nurse practitioners (PNP); influencing legislation at the state and national levels, and producing and distributing educational materials to parents and families.

“I serve as the conduit between our local chapter and the national association,” Ms. Cobos said. “We offer scholarships annually to PNP students, and have an active community outreach program that provides new books to needy children and clothing to children taken into protective custody by the Foster Care system.”

Ms. Cobos and her husband, Charles, live in San Dimas. They have three children: Bret, a software engineer; Carrie, an emergency department nurse; and Shelley, an intellectual properties and patent attorney.

Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of < research. pediatric in leader national a is It years. 73 than more for California>

Since 1990, U.S.News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation. Child magazine also ranked Childrens Hospital Los Angeles among the Top Ten children’s hospitals in America in its February 2005 issue.



Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Nurse Elected to Leadership Position with Prestigious Nursing Organization


West Hills resident heads the Association of Pediatric Liaison Nurses of LA County

CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121


LOS ANGELES – Inge Morton, R.N., CPN, a nurse at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, was elected president of the Association of Pediatric Liaison Nurses of Los Angeles County (PdLN-LA). She is the education manager in the Emergency Department at Childrens Hospital.

Ms. Morton began at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles as a licensed vocational nurse (1992-1995) in the Emergency Department’s urgent care clinic, and she has remained in the Emergency Department. She has served as a clinical nurse II (1995-98) and clinical nurse III (1998-99). She became the manager of education for the Emergency Department in 1999.

Ms. Morton received her nurse training in pediatrics (1986) from the University of Frieburg’s School of Pediatric Nursing in her native Germany. She became licensed as a registered nurse in the United States in 1995, and CPN certified in 2005.

The PdLN-LA’s provides pediatric emergency education and awareness through resource development, its annual conference, educational activities, collaboration with the EMS Agency and multi-hospital performance improvement projects. It membership includes a pediatric liaison nurse from each of the 40 emergency departments approved for pediatrics (EDAP) in Los Angeles County.

“My duties include representing the group to the outside world, as well as leading the monthly meetings and quarterly board meetings,” Ms. Morton said. “My goals include moving from an association to a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation status to increase public awareness of the qualities of EDAP’s through development of our website and public service announcements.”

Ms. Morton and her husband, Anthony, and their two children – Maurice, 11, and Ayla, 9 – live in West Hills, California.

Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 73 years. It is a national leader in pediatric research.



Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Nurse Elected to Leadership Position with Prestigious Nursing Organization

Burbank resident to head the Nursing Discipline Committee of the Children’s Oncology Group

CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121

LOS ANGELES – Kathleen S. Ruccione, R.N., MPH, a nurse at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, was recently elected chair of the Nursing Discipline Committee of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). She is the nursing administrator in the Childrens Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Childrens Hospital.

Ms. Ruccione began at Childrens Hospital in 1973 as a cancer nurse epidemiologist. She is an associate professor of clinical pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

Ms. Ruccione, who co-authored the book Childhood Cancer Survivors: A Practical Guide to Your Future, was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2002.

Ms. Ruccione received a nursing degree from the Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing in 1966. She received a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude (1973) from California State University, Northridge, where she was elected to Phi Kappa Phi, as well as a master’s degree in public health (1978) from Cal State Northridge.

“The COG Nursing Discipline Committee sets the standard for the care of children and adolescents with cancer treated on COG clinical trials,” she said, “and to transform the practice of nursing in pediatric oncology by developing and conducting research within the COG.”

Ms. Ruccione leads the nurses in all COG institutions, with responsibility for their participation in the design and implementation of clinical trials, ongoing education about clinical trials in childhood, adolescent and young adult cancer, continuous quality improvement and conducting related research on symptom management and quality of life issues. COG is an international organization with more than 1,000 nurse members.

Ms. Ruccione is the mother of a son, Daniel, 20, and she lives in Burbank.

Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 73 years. It is a national leader in pediatric research.



Nurse Leader at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Receives Award from the Association of California Nurse Leaders

CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121



LOS ANGELES – Nancy T. Blake, R.N., MSN, CCRN, CNAA, director of Critical Care Services at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, was recognized with one of four “Leadership Excellence” awards from the Association of California Nurse Leaders (ACNL) at its annual conference in February 2006.

Ms. Blake, who directs activities of all Critical Care departments at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and supervises the night house supervisors and departments of education, was the “Leadership Excellence” honoree from the South region, recognized for her work in the area of Emergency Preparedness.

Ms. Blake is currently the treasurer for the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, an organization of 65,000 nurses, nationwide.

Ms. Blake has held a variety of nursing and management positions at Childrens Hospital. She served as the assistant nurse manager in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (1981-1989), then as the nurse manager for that unit (1990-1993). Her duties expanded to include the Emergency Department (1993-1995), before she assumed her current title in 1995.

Ms. Blake received her bachelor’s degree in nursing (1980) from Mount St. Mary’s College, and her master’s degree (1989) in nursing administration from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Ms. Blake and her husband, Kevin, and their two children – Carlyn, 14, and Matthew, 12 – reside in Valencia, California.

Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 73 years. It is a national leader in pediatric research. Since 1990, U.S.News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation. Child magazine also ranked Childrens Hospital Los Angeles among the Top Ten children’s hospitals in America in its February 2005 issue.



Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Nurse-Researcher to Study Carotid Artery Disease in Childhood Cancer Survivors

CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121



LOS ANGELES – Kathleen Meeske, RN, Ph.D., a nurse-researcher in the Hematology and Oncology Psychosocial and Education (HOPE) program at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, and an assistant professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, has received a $150,000 two-year grant from the National Cancer Institute to study carotid artery disease following neck irradiation in childhood cancer survivors.

Although recent studies of adult cancer patients have found that radiation therapy to the neck is a significant risk factor for carotid artery disease and stroke, this adverse late-effect of radiation therapy has only recently been documented in survivors of childhood cancer, according to Dr. Meeske.

“This pilot study will obtain preliminary data on the association between carotid artery disease and neck irradiation, and other associated risk factors,” Dr. Meeske said. “The study also will evaluate the feasibility of conducting a subsequent larger follow-up study in pediatric oncology patients aimed at assessing the risk factors associated with radiation-induced carotid artery disease.”

The study will examine 30 long-term survivors of childhood cancer who received radiation therapy to the neck, and 30 healthy related age- and gender-matched control subjects.

The four objectives of the study are:

  • Determine the feasibility of obtaining ultrasound-based measurements of carotid intima-media thickness (C-IMT), and carotid arterial wall stiffness (C-AWS) in pediatric cancer survivors who were treated with neck irradiation and in matched related healthy controls;
  • Investigate the differences in prevalence of carotid artery disease, as measured by C-IMT and C-AWS in childhood cancer survivors who received radiation therapy to the neck and in matched related healthy controls;
  • Collect preliminary data on the relationship between C-IMT and C-AWS measurements and radiation dose and time since treatment in pediatric cancer survivors; and
  • Collect preliminary data on the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors that may be related to carotid artery disease, such as obesity, dyslipidemia and smoking, in cancer survivors who received neck irradiation and in matched related healthy controls.

    “Information from this study will help us begin to understand which childhood cancer survivors are at risk of developing premature carotid artery disease,” Dr. Meeske said. “Once we have identified our ‘high-risk’ group of patients, we can then begin to develop specific recommendations for their follow-up, including guidelines for screening, disease management and prevention.”

    According to Dr. Meeske, early identification of high-risk individuals provides us with the opportunity for timely implementation of preventive measures, such as counseling on diet, smoking and physical activity.

    “Our ultimate goal is to decrease the risk of, and the significant morbidity and mortality associated with, advanced carotid artery disease,” she said.

    In addition to conducting independent research at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Dr. Meeske serves as a senior clinician and a member of the Long-Term Information, Follow-up and Evaluation (LIFE) program, a Childrens Hospital Los Angeles program designed specifically for long-term survivors of childhood cancer.

    Dr. Meeske received a bachelor’s degree in nursing (1970) from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in nursing (1983) from the University of California, Los Angeles. She also has received a master’s degree in Applied Biometry and Epidemiology (1999) and a doctorate in Epidemiology (2003) from the University of Southern California.

    Dr. Meeske just completed a two-year fellowship at USC’s Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research. Dr. Meeske has authored nearly 30 peer-reviewed manuscripts, abstracts and book chapters.

    Dr. Meeske and her husband live in Santa Monica, California.

    Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 73 years. It is a national leader in pediatric research.

    Since 1990, U.S.News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation. Child magazine also ranked Childrens Hospital Los Angeles among the Top Ten children’s hospitals in America in its February 2005 issue.



  • Three Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Nurses Elected to Leadership Positions with Prestigious Nursing Organizations

    CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121



    LOS ANGELES – Judith K. Cobos, R.N., MSN, Inge Morton, R.N., CPN, and Kathleen S. Ruccione, R.N., MPH, all nurses at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, were recently elected to office with prestigious nursing organizations.

    Ms. Cobos was elected president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNP). She is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner in Surgical Admitting at Childrens Hospital.

    Ms. Morton was elected president of the Association of Pediatric Liaison Nurses of Los Angeles County (PdLN-LA). She is the education manager in the Emergency Department at Childrens Hospital.

    Ms. Ruccione was elected chair of the Nursing Discipline Committee of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). She is the nursing administrator in the Childrens Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Childrens Hospital.

    Judy Cobos, R.N., MSN, began at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in 1978 as a respiratory care practitioner and member of the Emergency Transport Team. She also has worked in the hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

    Ms. Cobos received her associate’s degree in respiratory care (1978) from El Camino College and an associate’s degree in nursing (1990) from Mount San Antonio College, as well as a bachelor’s degree in nursing (1995) and master’s degree in nursing (1998) both from California State University, Long Beach.

    The NAPNP serves as an active advocates for children’s health by providing funding, education and research opportunities to pediatric nurse practitioners (PNP); influencing legislation at the state and national levels, and producing and distributing educational materials to parents and families.

    “I serve as the conduit between our local chapter and the national association,” Ms. Cobos said. “We offer scholarships annually to PNP students, and have an active community outreach program that provides new books to needy children and clothing to children taken into protective custody by the Foster Care system.”

    Ms. Cobos and her husband, Charles, live in San Dimas, California.

    Inge Morton, R.N., CPN, began at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles as a licensed vocational nurse (1992-1995) in the Emergency Department’s urgent care clinic, and she has remained in the Emergency Department. She has served as a clinical nurse II (1995-1998) and clinical nurse III (1998-1999), then became the manager of education for the Emergency Department in 1999.

    Ms. Morton received her nurse training in pediatrics (1986) from the University of Frieburg’s School of Pediatric Nursing in her native Germany. She became licensed as a registered nurse in the United States in 1995, and CPN certified in 2005.

    The PdLN-LA’s provides pediatric emergency education and awareness through resource development, its annual conference, educational activities, collaboration with the EMS Agency and multi-hospital performance improvement projects. It membership includes a pediatric liaison nurse from each of the 40 emergency departments approved for pediatrics (EDAP) in Los Angeles County.

    “My duties include representing the group to the outside world, as well as leading the monthly meetings and quarterly board meetings,” Ms. Morton said. “My goals include moving from an association to a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation status to increase public awareness of the qualities of EDAP’s through development of our website and public service announcements.”

    Ms. Morton and her husband, Anthony, and family live in West Hills, California.

    Kathy Ruccione, R.N., MPH, began at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in 1973 as a cancer nurse epidemiologist. Ms. Ruccione is an associate professor of clinical pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

    Ms. Ruccione, who co-authored the book Childhood Cancer Survivors: A Practical Guide to Your Future, was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2002.

    Ms. Ruccione received a nursing degree from the Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing in 1966, as well as a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude (1973) and a master’s degree in public health (1978), both from California State University, Northridge, where she was elected to Phi Kappa Phi.

    “The COG Nursing Discipline Committee sets the standard for the care of children and adolescents with cancer treated on COG clinical trials,” she said, “and to transform the practice of nursing in pediatric oncology by developing and conducting research within the COG.”

    Ms. Ruccione leads the nurses in all COG institutions, with responsibility for their participation in the design and implementation of clinical trials, ongoing education about clinical trials in childhood, adolescent and young adult cancer, continuous quality improvement and conducting related research on symptom management and quality of life issues. COG is an international organization with more than 1,000 nurse members.

    Ms. Ruccione and her son, Daniel, live in Burbank, California.

    Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 73 years. It is a national leader in pediatric research.

    Since 1990, U.S.News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation. Child magazine also ranked Childrens Hospital Los Angeles among the Top Ten children’s hospitals in America in its February 2005 issue.



    Versant RN Residency Developed by Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Receives an $800,000 Employment Development Department Grant

    CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121



    The grant will enable Versant to train 180 registered nurses at three Southland hospitals


    LOS ANGELES – The State of California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) has awarded an $800,000 grant to the Versant RN Residency developed by Childrens Hospital Los Angeles to train 180 new graduate nurses at three local hospitals, according to Charlie Krozek, president and managing director of Versant.

    The grant will enable new nurses at St. Vincent’s Medical Center, White Memorial Medical Center and Torrance Memorial Medical Center to participate in an 18-week intensive, specialized hospital-based training course through the Versant RN Residency. Each hospital may enroll as many as 60 new nurses trained by Versant.

    “The Versant RN Residency is the only one of its kind in the country,” Mr. Krozek said. “Over the past seven years, our program has proven its ability by turning brand new nurses into competent and safe professionals.”

    The Versant RN Residency is a unique and innovative non-profit public benefit corporation, based on the successful RN Residency in Pediatrics, which was created at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in July 1999 in response to the growing national nursing shortage. The curriculum was developed with the support of a Job Development Incentive Grant from the California Community College’s Chancellor’s office.

    Versant provides healthcare organizations with the highest quality solutions to strategically develop and stabilize the RN workforce, while maximizing internal capabilities.

    “In short,” Mr. Krozek said, “it’s focus is to ‘…find a cure…’ for the critical shortage of registered nurses, both in California and throughout the country.”

    The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) predicts there will be a sustained nationwide nursing shortage by 2010. California ranks last among the 50 states in number of RNs per thousand people. The problem is even more acute in metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles.

    Versant currently trains new graduate nurses at 22 hospitals in five states through a comprehensive, evidence-based training program for new graduate nurses that helps them gain experience, judgment skills and the confidence they need to navigate the complexity of hospital life.

    According to Mr. Krozek, Versant transforms novice nurses into advanced beginners quickly, safely and efficiently as they “…travel the road from knowledge to knowing.”

    At Childrens Hospitals Los Angeles, more than 400 nurses have graduated from the RN Residency. Graduates from the program have just a 15 percent turnover rate after the first year of employment, as compared to 36 percent prior to the advent of the program. The two-year turnover rate at Childrens Hospital has been from 56 percent to just 25 percent.

    The grant was submitted to the California EDD on behalf of Versant by the Human Services Consortium of the East San Gabriel Valley. The grant is funded through the Workforce Investment Act Funds, as part of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s discretionary funds.

    Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 73 years. It is a national leader in pediatric research. Training programs at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles include 270 medical students, 84 full-time residents and 73 fellows, who collectively reflect the diversity of the patient population and the city of Los Angeles. Those who receive their instruction in pediatrics at Childrens Hospital care for children in the community, throughout the United States and in countries as far away as Japan, Australia, China, Turkey and Israel. The RN Internship Program in Pediatrics is a 22-week program (unlike the adult program, which is 18 weeks) that provides new nursing school graduates with a comprehensive guided clinical experience to prepare them for work in an acute care environment. It has become a national model, and now provides training to more than 20 hospitals in five states.

    Since 1990, U.S.News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation. Child magazine also ranked Childrens Hospital Los Angeles among the Top Ten children’s hospitals in America in its February 2005 issue.



    Two Nurses from Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Recognized by NurseWeek Magazine

    CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121


    LOS ANGELES – Two nurses from Childrens Hospital Los Angeles – Patricia M. Peterson, R.N., MSN, CPNP, and Victoria Winter, R.N., BSN, MSN(c), CCRN – were recognized by NurseWeek magazine at the annual “Nursing Excellence Awards” on Saturday, August 20, 2005, held in Pasadena. “Trish” Peterson was a finalist for NurseWeek’s “Nursing Excellence Award” in the “Clinical Care” category. She is a pediatric nurse practitioner in the Childrens Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases, providing nursing care to hematology patients with a wide variety of blood disorders such as sickle cell disease, thalassemia, aplastic anemia and rare immune deficiency diseases.

    Ms. Peterson was nominated for the award by four co-workers from the hospital’s multidisciplinary Hematology Team: Debbie Harris, CPNP, Sue Carson, CPNP, Thomas Coates, M.D., and Dawn Canada, LCSW.

    “Trish is an effervescent spirit, always concerned about how each member of the team is coping and functioning,” said Ms. Harris. “She focuses on how her patients are living the best lives they can given their overwhelming health complications. She has an amazing attitude, and is always eager to lend an ear to a colleague or patient.”

    Ms. Peterson often serves as a guest speaker, sharing her expertise both internally to other medical staff at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, as well as externally to staff at other hospitals. She also volunteers as a camp nurse for children with sickle cell disease. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing (1995) from Mount St. Mary’s College, and her master’s degree in nursing (2000) from the University of California, Los Angeles.

    Ms. Peterson resides in Monrovia, California.

    Ms. Winter was a finalist for NurseWeek’s “Nursing Excellence Award” in the “Mentoring” category. She is a Clinical Nurse IV and charge nurse on the night shift in the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit (CTICU), caring for patients from all age ranges with a variety of diseases requiring cardiac surgery, heart transplants and lung transplants. In addition, she serves as a preceptor and mentor in the hospital’s RN Residency Program, and as a backup House Supervisor as needed.

    Ms. Winter was nominated for the award by two co-workers: Nancy Blake, R.N., director of Critical Care Services, and Ana Hernandez, R.N., MSN, operations manager in the CTICU. “Victoria acts as a preceptor for new nurses and is very respectful and nurturing to those new to the profession,” said Ms. Blake. “She frequently puts the unit’s needs above her own, and will come in and help out in the middle of the night if needed.” “Victoria takes each nurse under her wing and sits down with them to make a plan for their clinical advancement based on their learning needs,” Ms. Hernandez said. “She is extremely patient and non-judgmental, which instills in the new nurses both confidence and the desire to continue to learn.”

    Ms. Winter was the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Morris and Mary Press Humanism Award winner in 2004. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing (1978) from California State University Los Angeles, and is currently working on her master’s degree in nursing at Azusa Pacific University.

    Ms. Winter resides in Tujunga, California.

    Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 73 years. It is a national leader in pediatric research.

    Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is the only hospital in Greater Los Angeles affiliated with the Children’s Miracle Network, an international non-profit organization dedicated to helping children by raising funds and awareness for pediatric hospitals throughout North America.

    Since 1990, U.S.News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation. Child magazine also ranked Childrens Hospital Los Angeles among the Top Ten children’s hospitals in America in its February 2005 issue.



    Two Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Nurse Leaders are Recognized by the Association of California Nurse Leaders


    Charles F. Krozek and Linda Searle Leach honored for Excellence

    CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121

    LOS ANGELES -- Charles F. Krozek, MN, RN, and Linda Searle Leach, PhD, RN, CNAA, executives with the Versant RN Residency Program at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, were honored by the Association of California Nurse Leaders (ACNL) at its annual meeting on Feb. 8, 2005, at the Monterey Marriott in Monterey, California.M

    Mr. Krozek, president and executive director of the Versant RN Residency Program at Childrens Hospital, received the “Excellence in Advancement of Clinical Practice” award, given to an ACNL nurse leader who has made a significant contribution in areas of nursing that support program development, education, research or the strategic direction of ACNL. Mr. Krozek has more than 25 years of professional experience as a nurse.

    Dr. Leach, vice president of Research and Innovation for the Versant RN Residency Program received the “Excellence in Nursing Leadership – South” award, given to an ACNL nurse leader from each geographic region that has made significant contributions to nursing leadership.

    Childrens Hospital Los Angeles established Versant Advantage, Inc., a not-for-profit, public benefit corporation, in response to the growing nursing shortage and patient safety issues. Versant is committed to making fundamental contributions to the nursing profession by providing integrated web-facilitated education and training residency programs that elevate the standard of nursing care and improve the financial performance of healthcare institutions. Hospitals that have implemented the Versant RN Residency have experienced clinical, financial and quality benefits through significant reduction of first- and second-year new graduate turnover rates.

    “Charlie excels as a champion for the advancement of clinical practice and is distinctively a nurse leader who takes action to address serious professional concerns,” said Mary Dee Hacker, RN, vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. “He is actively contributing to the success and sustainability of nursing as a vital force in the delivery of quality care to patients and families.”

    Dr. Leach is working to establish the Versant RN Residency as a national standard for new graduate nurses by extending the program beyond pediatric hospitals through innovative curriculum design, multi-site implementation, and research and evaluation to alter attrition and assure a flow of experienced, expert nurses. She influences nursing leaders through her research on the work environment, presentations nationwide, publications and contributions to the policy arena.

    “Linda’s distinguished career spans both the service side, as well as academia, where she has consistently provided valuable input and unique perspectives,” Ms. Hacker said. “Through her professional association volunteer roles, and her work as a researcher, educator and administrator, she is most deserving of this recognition.”

    The Association of California Nurse Leaders (ACNL) is an influential voice for nursing leadership and health care in California. It provides an environment for personal and professional growth, a primary venue for networking and career pathing, and a dynamic environment with unlimited possibilities and perspectives.

    The ACNL’s vision is to lead nursing to influence and improve health care in California. It is the nursing organization that advances professional nursing practice, influences health policy and improves the health of California’s communities.

    Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 72 years. It is a national leader in pediatric research.

    Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is the only hospital in Greater Los Angeles affiliated with the Children’s Miracle Network, an international non-profit organization dedicated to helping children by raising funds and awareness for pediatric hospitals throughout North America.

    Since 1990, U.S.News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation. Child magazine also ranked Childrens Hospital Los Angeles among the Top Ten children’s hospitals in America in its February 2005 issue.



    Four Nurses at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Receive Held Foundation Grants

    CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121


    LOS ANGELES – Four nurses currently enrolled in the RN Residency in Pediatrics Program at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles have received grants from the Held Foundation, according to Mary Dee Hacker, R.N., vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at the hospital.

    The Childrens Hospital Los Angeles nurses to receive the awards are: Amy Erisman, R.N., BSN, Seattle, Washington; Karen Rivera, BSN, Los Angeles; Tanvi Patel, R.N., BSN, Fremont, California; and Jennifer Serna, R.N., BSN, Bergenfield, New Jersey. Ms. Erisman, Ms. Rivera and Ms. Patel are graduates of Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles; Ms. Serna is a graduate of Farleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.

    The first 11 recipients of the Held Foundation grants were selected from applicants graduating from 23 elite nursing schools throughout the country. Nine of the applicants were from Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

    A second round of awards will be made by the Held Foundation early next year.

    Spurred by the end-of-life experience of family matriarch Louise K. Held, the Held Foundation has made a first step in relieving the pressing nursing shortage in Los Angeles by providing top graduate nurses awards to work in four area hospitals (Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, UCLA Medical Center or St. John’s Medical Center) for at least five years. Each nurse will receive $2,500 annually for five years, as long as they remain working in one of the four participating hospitals. The nurses may use the funds in any way they choose.

    The first eleven awardees were selected from applicants graduating from 23 elite nursing schools, and will be working for their respective hospitals beginning this fall. All the awardees have earned bachelor’s degrees in nursing. A second round of awards will be made early next year.

    “When my wife Louise was very ill in the hospital, our family became aware of the acute nursing shortage in Los Angeles,” said Harold Held, chairman of the Held Foundation and of Held Properties. “Our foundation developed this program to address the problem, and to pay tribute to Louise’s strength and courage during her illness.”

    California has the second lowest number of nurses per capita in the United States – 585 nurses for every 100,000 people – compared to the national average of 798. Only Nevada has fewer. One half of California’s nurses receive their education in another state or country.

    The Held Foundation was established in 1986 and has since provided a range of philanthropic support to causes in Los Angeles, and of interest to the Jewish community.

    Originally developed at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in July 1999 in response to the growing national nursing shortage, the RN Residency in Pediatrics, is a 22-week program that provides new nursing school graduates with a comprehensive clinical experience to prepare them for careers in acute care environments. It has become a national model – currently the pediatric program is being replicated at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital Orange County, Children’s Hospital San Diego, and Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi; the adult-care version is being beta tested at Norton Hospital in Louisville, Northridge Hospital Medical Center in California, and Grandview Medical Center in Dayton.

    Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 72 years. It is a national leader in pediatric research. Training programs at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles include 250 medical students, 83 full-time residents and 71 fellows, who collectively reflect the diversity of the patient population and the city of Los Angeles. Those who receive their instruction in pediatrics at Childrens Hospital care for children in the community, throughout the United States and in countries as far away as Japan, Australia, China, Turkey and Israel.

    Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is the only hospital in Greater Los Angeles affiliated with the Children’s Miracle Network, an international non-profit organization dedicated to helping children by raising funds and awareness for pediatric hospitals throughout North America.



    Two Nurses from Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Recognized by NurseWeek Magazine


    Susan Carson wins the Nursing Excellence Award for Patient Advocacy

    CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121

    LOS ANGELES – Two nurses from Childrens Hospital Los Angeles – Susan Carson, R.N., MSN, CPNP, and Josephine “Jiffy” Ellashek, R.N., BSN – were recognized by NurseWeek magazine at the annual “Nursing Excellence Awards” on Friday, Nov. 5, 2004, at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose.

    Ms. Carson was the recipient of NurseWeek’s “Nursing Excellence Award” in the “Patient Advocacy” category. She is a nurse practitioner/care manager in Hematology/Oncology, with an emphasis on the thalassemia and chronic transfusion program. She was nominated for the award by two of her colleagues, Debbie Harris, R.N., M.N., CPNP, and Trish Peterson, R.N., MSN, CPNP.

    “Sue takes care of the bodies, minds and spirits of her patients and their families,” Ms. Harris said. “She is a vital part of the Thalassemia Action Group, a support group for kids with thalassemia. She has flown all over the country to speak about the psychosocial needs of her thalassemia patients.”

    Ms. Carson has been published on several occasions, and is a co-author on “Cardiac T2* by MRI as a noninvasive way to measure iron overload,” published earlier this year in the journal Blood. She also is the national president for Alpha Tau Delta, a professional nursing fraternity.

    Ms. Carson lives in Toluca Lake.

    Ms. Ellashek, a tracheostomy nurse coordinator, was nominated in the “Clinical Care” category by Lisa Costantino, R.N., M.S., her supervising nurse manager.

    “The relationships [Josephine] develops with her patients and families are based on compassion, respect and support,” Ms. Costantino said. “She is the first person parents or caregivers contact with questions about care. It is obvious to those who work with her, that ‘Jiffy’ conveys a willingness to share her nursing expertise with those around her.”

    Ms. Ellashek is a recent recipient of the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles “Humanism Award,” which honors individuals who go beyond their daily job expectations in demonstrating superlative and consistent kindness in their interactions with co-workers, patients and their families.

    Ms. Ellashek resides in Westlake Village.

    Four Childrens Hospital Los Angeles nurses have been nominated for the prestigious NurseWeek magazine awards in the past two years; three have been recognized by the magazine.

    Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 72 years. It is a national leader in pediatric research.

    Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is the only hospital in Greater Los Angeles affiliated with the Children’s Miracle Network, an international non-profit organization dedicated to helping children by raising funds and awareness for pediatric hospitals throughout North America.



    Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Establishes Versant Advantage, Inc., to Offer Innovative Nursing Residency to Hospitals Nationwide

    Innovative Business Model Established in Response to the Growing National Nursing Shortage and Patient Safely Issues

    CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121

    LOS ANGELES –Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has established Versant Advantage, Inc., a not-for-profit, public benefit company in response to the growing national nursing shortage and patient safety issues.

    Versant provides hospitals and healthcare organizations with comprehensive research-oriented and empirically evaluated RN Residency programs that both elevate the standard of nursing care and optimize the financial performance of health care institutions. Hospitals that have implemented the Versant RN Residency have realized financial and clinical quality benefits through significant reduction of first- and second-year new graduate turnover rates.

    “Versant Advantage, Inc., is based on an RN Residency model that is proven; that is, it is based on [our] considerable experience with an innovative model over the past five years,” says Childrens Hospital Los Angeles President and CEO Walter W. Noce, Jr. “It is a value-added investment that will pay dividends in terms of nurse retention and patient safety.

    He said that Versant also creates programs to provide hospitals and healthcare organizations with RN Residency programs for adults. “Versant brings value by providing comprehensive, systems-oriented programs to the participating health care institutions,” says Versant Advantage President and Managing Director Charles Krozek, RN, MN. “These programs have been empirically evaluated on their ability to achieve quantifiable and demonstrable results, both in terms of cost-effectiveness and quality, through the development and retention of a safe, competent nursing workforce, as well as by improving quality and continuity of care, with demonstrable reductions in operating costs.”

    He said that Versant’s primary business is to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate education “systems” to selected health care facilities under licensing contracts. A report issued by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2002, “Projected Supply, Demand and Shortages of Registered Nurses: 2000-2020,” predicted that the nursing shortage is expected to increase from a six-percent shortage in 2000 to 29 percent by 2020.

    “This enormous shortage of registered nurses has created a health care crisis,” says Mary Dee Hacker, RN, MBA, vice president of Patient Care Services at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, adding that with a large percentage of the national RN workforce soon reaching retirement age, hospitals and health care organizations will depend on the recruitment and retention of the newly graduated nurse.

    “That’s precisely why we place a premium here on ‘transition programs’ that are rigorously measured for their validity and reliability in developing competent, safe nurse professionals,” she says.

    “Unfortunately, the new nurse just coming out of school is not yet prepared for the complex, high stress environments typical of acute care hospitals,” Krozek says. “This ‘preparation gap’ places patients, their families, and our nurses at risk – the job of transitioning the new graduate into a safe, competent professional rests largely with the hospital.”

    Yet, he says, the development, implementation and continuous evaluation of comprehensive residency programs are resource-intensive activities that can be cost-prohibitive for most hospitals and health care institutions. Versant Advantage, Inc., he says, can provide “…a cost-effective solution that is research-based and, most important, flexible…” through an innovative, state-of-the-art web portal, which provides a residency curriculum that has proven to increase the clinical performance and satisfaction of the new graduate RN while dramatically increasing long-term retention.

    Versant’s blend of proven education content, experience, expertise and service allows for rapid program implementation, avoiding the costs typically associated with a hospital attempting to independently develop their own residency.

    Originally developed at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in July 1999 in response to the growing national nursing shortage, the RN Residency in Pediatrics, a 22-week program that provides new nursing school graduates with a comprehensive clinical experience to prepare them for careers in acute care environments, has become a national model – currently the pediatric program is being replicated at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital Orange County, Children’s Hospital San Diego, Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi and Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville; the adult-care version is being beta tested at Norton Hospital in Louisville, Northridge Hospital Medical Center in California, and Grandview Medical Center in Dayton.

    Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 72 years. It is a national leader in pediatric research. Childrens Hospital Los Angeles treats nearly 58,000 patients a year in its Emergency Department. It admits more than 10,800 children a year to the hospital, with almost 50-percent of those admissions children under four years of age. There are more than 287,000 visits a year to its 29 outpatient clinics; nearly 5,000 visits at community sites through its Division of Adolescent Medicine. Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is able to offer the optimum in multidisciplinary care, with 33 pediatric subspecialties and dozens of special services for children and families.

    Since 1990, U.S. News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation.



    RN Residency in Pediatrics at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Receives Three-Year HHS Grant Totaling $619,473

    Innovative Program now a Nationwide Model in ResponseTo the Growing National Nursing Shortage

    CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121

    LOS ANGELES – The RN Residency in Pediatrics Program at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has received a three-year grant totaling $619,473 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), one of 62 grants to universities, colleges, nursing schools, medical centers and other health care institutions to expand the nation’s supply of qualified nurses and promote diversity in the nursing profession.

    “The national nursing shortage threatens the quality of America’s health care,” said HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. “These grants will help us meet future demand for the essential health care services that nurses provide.”

    The grant to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is one of seven grants awarded to universities, colleges and other health care institutions in California – and the only grant awarded to a medical center in the state – for nurse education, practice and retention programs.

    The HHS grant will fund approximately 15 percent of the RN Residency in Pediatrics program over the three-year term of the grant, with $3.2 million committed to the program by Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

    The RN Residency in Pediatrics at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles was created in July 1999 in response to the growing national nursing shortage. The 22-week program provides new nursing school graduates with a comprehensive clinical experience to prepare them for careers in acute care environments. The curriculum was developed with the support of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.

    To date, 290 nurses have successfully completed the RN Residency at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, and there are 43 nurse residents in the current nurse resident class that began on Aug. 6, 2004.

    For Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, the major benefit of the RN Residency program is the retention of new nurses. Prior to the program, turnover for new graduates during the first year of employment was 36 percent. Graduates of the RN Residency program have a turnover rate of only 11 percent for the first year of employment, and the 24-month turnover rate has been reduced from 56 percent to only 22 percent. The significant reduction in turnover has direct impact on budget, reducing costs associated with replacing a single nurse, about $50,000, as well as the need for the use of overtime and registry nurses.

    The RN Residency in Pediatrics is one of the few RN transition programs rigorously measured for its validity and reliability in developing safe and competent pediatric nurse professionals.

    The RN Residency in Pediatrics at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has drawn applicants from nursing schools across the country, including those at Boston College, the University of Arizona, Georgia State University, Georgetown University, the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education, Johns Hopkins University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Washington State University, Seattle Pacific University, University of Miami and the University of Pennsylvania. Benefits of the program for the nurse resident include “…significant improvement in self-confidence, work satisfaction, professional role conception, leadership empowerment and clinical decision-making skills,” said Mary Dee Hacker, R.N., MBA, vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

    “The residency program is the bridge necessary for the new nurse as he or she moves from the classroom to the bedside; we support the new nursing graduate to develop the knowledge and silss required to be a good pediatric nurse.”

    Additionally, Childrens Hospital hopes to prove through rigorous outcomes measurements a direct relationship between the RN Residency program and improved patient safety.

    This unique approach to teaching also has become a new national model – currently the program is being replicated at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital Orange County, Children’s Hospital San Diego and Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas. The expectation is that the RN Residency will expand to as many as six other hospitals in the near future. A report issued by HHS in 2002, “Projected Supply, Demand and Shortages of Registered Nurses: 2000-2020,” predicted that the nursing shortage is expected to increase from a six percent shortage in 2000 to 29 percent by 2020.

    Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California for more than 72 years. It is a national leader in pediatric research.

    Childrens Hospital Los Angeles treats nearly 58,000 patients a year in its Emergency Department. It admits more than 10,800 children a year to the hospital, with almost 50-percent of those admissions children under four years of age. There are more than 287,000 visits a year to its 29 outpatient clinics; nearly 5,000 visits at community sites through its Division of Adolescent Medicine. Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is able to offer the optimum in multidisciplinary care, with 33 pediatric subspecialties and dozens of special services for children and families.

    Since 1990, U.S. News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation.



    Nurse at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Receives Award From the Society of Pediatric Nurses

    CONTACT: Steve Rutledge at (323) 361-4121

    LOS ANGELES – Mary Lee Lacy, R.N., B.S.N., M.S.N., C.R.R.N., an operations manager at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, will receive the 2003-2004 Excellence in Advanced Practice Award from the Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN) at its national meeting in April in Las Vegas.

    Ms. Lacy was nominated for the award by the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Society of Pediatric Nurses. She manages a 31-bed unit, which specializes in cardiac, gastroenterology and renal care. Her responsibilities include global operations of the unit, as well as staff development.

    “I am deeply honored to receive this award,” Ms. Lacy said. “Over the course of my career, I have tried to contribute to the ‘professionalization’ of nurses. “I was drawn to the nursing profession,” she said, “because I believed that it held promise as a career-path in which one could make a difference in the lives of people on a daily basis.

    “I have been in advanced practice roles as a clinical nurse specialist, clinical manager and operations manager,” Ms. Lacy added. “All of these positions have provided me with wonderful opportunities to contribute to the profession of nursing. “More importantly,” she said, “most of my career has been spent at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, whose vision is one to which I aspire. In that practice setting, I have been given many opportunities to contribute in the advanced practice arena, for which I am truly grateful.”

    Ms. Lacy has worked at Childrens Hospital since 1982. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Mount St. Mary’s (1983), and a master’s degree in nursing from California State University, Los Angeles (1994). Ms. Lacy and her husband Richard reside in Hacienda Heights. They have a son, Ethan, 34.

    Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens Hospital is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, training more young pediatricians than any other health care facility in California through its association with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California since 1932. It is a national leader in pediatric research. Childrens Hospital Los Angeles treats nearly 56,000 patients a year in its Emergency Department. It admits nearly 11,500 children a year to the hospital, with almost 50-percent of those admissions children under four years of age. There are more than 289,000 visits a year to its 29 outpatient clinics; nearly 6,000 visits at community sites through its Division of Adolescent Medicine. Childrens Hospital Los Angeles is able to offer the optimum in multidisciplinary care, with 33 pediatric subspecialties and dozens of special services for children and families.

    Since 1990, U.S. News & World Report and its panel of board-certified pediatricians have named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation



    Karen Prommer Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

    Contact: Steve Rutledge (323) 361-4121

    (Los Angeles) -- Karen Prommer, R.N., M.S., CPHRM (Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management), the director of risk management at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, received the “Greatest Contributions to the Field of Healthcare Risk Management for Lifetime Achievement” award from the Southern California Association of Healthcare Risk Management (SCAHRM) at its annual meeting held in Palm Desert on May 7-9, 2003.

    Ms. Prommer was nominated for the honor by the SCAHRM board of directors. “Karen has been an icon, a pillar of strength for the industry, and she has served as a mentor to numerous colleagues,” said Richard Bernard, a SCAHRM board member.

    “I am very honored and proud to have received this award from my distinguished peers – Southern California Association for Healthcare Risk Management,” Ms. Prommer said. “I have been involved in the risk management profession for more than 14 years, and have been active as a member of both SCAHRM and ASHRM (American Society of Healthcare Risk Management). This recognition by my peers is the highlight of my career, and will be cherished.”

    Ms. Prommer joined Childrens Hospital Los Angeles as its director of Risk Management in January 2002. Prior to that she served in a variety of positions for a decade at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles, including director of risk management/compliance. She also served as a pediatric nurse for Cedars Sinai Medical Center from 1982-1987.

    Ms. Prommer earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Miami (1975), before earning her degree as a registered nurse (R.N.) from State University of New York (1982), and her master’s degree in healthcare administration from California State University, Los Angeles (1995).

    The Southern California Association for Healthcare Risk Management (SCAHRM) is affiliated with the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management. Its varied membership of 400 professionals is comprised of risk managers in acute care, ambulatory care, long-term care, and managed care settings, patient safety personnel, defense attorneys, insurance and claim management professionals, consultants, quality management professionals, privacy officers, equipment and supply vendors, and health information specialists.

    Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, training more young pediatricians than any other facility in California through its 70-year association with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, and it is a national leader in pediatric research.

    Since 1990, U.S. News & World Report has named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation and its panel of board-certified pediatricians has ranked the hospital the best on the West Coast for 13 straight years.



    Two Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Nurses Receive California “Nursing Excellence Awards”

    Contact: Steve Rutledge (323) 361-4121

    (Los Angeles) – Mary Halvorson, R.N., MSN, CNS, CDE, and Deborah G. Harris, R.N., M.N., PNP, each received the prestigious “Nursing Excellence Award” from NurseWeek recently at its annual ceremony held at the Universal Hilton Hotel.

    The ceremonies recognized 45 finalists from hospitals and health systems throughout California in eight categories: Clinical Care, Leadership, Teaching, Mentoring, Community Service, Innovation/Creativity, Patient Advocacy, and Advancing the Profession. Ms. Harris won in the “Patient Advocacy” category, while Ms. Halvorson won in the Innovation/Creativity category. It is the first time NurseWeek has recognized two award recipients from the same hospital, or hospital group, in a single year.

    “I was very touched that one of my colleagues would take the time to nominate me for this award,” Ms. Harris said. “Pediatric nurses are in a unique position of advocating for the patients. Many do not have the verbal, cognitive or developmental skills to effectively express their needs.” She went on to add “This award is so special to me since I really value the important job that we all do here at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, addressing this important need.”

    Ms. Harris received the award for “…going beyond the call of duty to advocate for patients…” for patients with sickle cell disease, thalassemia, hemolytic anemia, aplastic anemia, and thrombocytopenia.

    “Debbie is a wonderful pediatric nurse practitioner,” said Mary Dee Hacker, vice president of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. “She has expert nursing knowledge and has pursued advanced nursing education in an area of pediatric medicine, resulting in a professional who serves as an extraordinary advocate and care provider for children with sickle cell disease. It is an honor to work with Debbie.”

    The only previous Childrens Hospital recipient of a NurseWeek award was Ms. Hacker, who was recognized with the 1997 Nursing Excellence Award in the Advancing the Profession category. Ms. Harris was nominated for the award by Thomas Coates, M.D., director of the Sickle Cell/Hemoglobinopathy Program at CHLA, and an associate professor of Pediatrics and Pathology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

    “While Ms. Harris is clearly outstanding in all technical aspects of her duties, it is her role as a stabilizing force that is most important to the medical team, and thus to the kids,” Dr. Coates said.

    “She is able to handle situations and people skillfully and professionally. This is all done without patronizing or compromising her principles. In short, Ms. Harris represents more than anyone I know the role that nursing plays as an equal partner in the medical team, and the pivotal role nursing can play in multidisciplinary care of children with complex medical and social problems.” Ms. Harris joined the Childrens Hospital staff in August 1988 as a staff nurse in the Adolescent Care Unit. Prior to joining CHLA, Ms. Harris held nursing positions at the University of California Los Angeles and Holy Cross Hospital. While earning her advanced degrees in nursing, she also has served at Harbor UCLA Medical Center, and at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach.

    Among the numerous patient advocacy projects Ms. Harris has been involved, which earned her this award, include: Planning a blood drive for patients with sickle cell; developing and implementing a “Rainbow Competition” for patients on nightly desferal injections to enhance their compliance; serving as a facilitator of a teen group with sickle cell disease; and producing and directing an educational video “Perspectives of the Amputeen … Life Goes On.”

    In addition to serving as a patient advocate, her current duties include providing nursing care to hematology patients, and emphasizing health promotion and disease prevention. She collaborates with the health care team to diagnose and manage the patients’ health care problems in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. She also serves as an educator to patient, family and staff, and as an interdisciplinary consultant.

    Ms. Harris’ other professional activities include: serving as a camp nurse for children with sickle cell disease (1991 to present), and as editor for Alpha Tau Delta Alumnae Chapter (1992 to present).

    Ms. Halvorson received the award for “…innovative and creative contributions that have improved patient care…”

    “Receiving this award is truly an honor, and reflects on the skills and dedication of the entire staff in the Center of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism,” Ms. Halvorson said. “Innovation and creativity is the beginning, but having a staff who embrace and implement new concepts and ideas makes it all possible.”

    “It is such an honor to work with a professional nurse like Mary Halvorson,” said Ms. Hacker. “She pushes herself and everyone around her to be more creative and better providers of care each and every day.”

    Ms. Halvorson was nominated for the award by Francine R. Kaufman M.D., division head of Endocrinology & Metabolism at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, and current president of the American Diabetes Association. Dr. Kaufman is a professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

    “Mary is simply the most capable person in the nursing profession,” stated Dr. Kaufman. “She has the most thorough grasp of how to be an effective administrator, yet also is a most gifted nurse, and a visionary leader who develops ways to improve other people’s effectiveness. She’s a world-class researcher, and a compassionate and caring person.”

    Ms. Halvorson joined the staff at Childrens Hospital as a nurse educator and Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in January 1985. She has worked in the division of Endocrinology since 1993, and over the past decade has served as a case manager, a director, and as a certified diabetes educator (CDE). She has held her current as administrative director since 2000. Prior to joining CHLA, Ms. Halvorson held nursing positions in Tucson, Arizona, and Seattle, Washington.

    Among the numerous innovations and product development Ms. Halvorson has been involved, which earned her this award, include: Serving as Co-Principal Investigator on a Mental Health Competency Tool (2003), as a Co-Investigator on the Kids ‘N Fitness Management Program and Curriculum (2001-2003), as the Principal Investigator on the Diabetes Self-Paced Competency Tool and Curriculum (1999-2003), and the Co-Principal Investigator of the Kids Kamp Curricula and Activities for Children with Diabetes (1999-2003).

    In addition to the Innovative/Creativity award from NurseWeek, Ms. Halvorson received the Marion Vanier Award at Childrens Hospital (2001), and was included in “Who’s Who in Nursing. She has been a nominee for the coveted “Humanism” award at Childrens Hospital an impressive seven times. She developed or assisted in the development of several diabetes teaching tools, including a plastic hand-held dose adjustment guide, a CD-ROM game designed to teach young children about diabetes, patient/family teaching manuals, an insulin pump booklet and a bingo-card basal dose adjustment guide.

    Ms. Halvorson earned both her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1977, and her Master of Science in Nursing in 1983, from the University of Arizona.

    Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, training more young pediatricians than any other facility in California through its 70-year association with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, and it is a national leader in pediatric research.

    Since 1990, U.S. News & World Report has named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation and its panel of board-certified pediatricians has ranked the hospital the best on the West Coast for 13 straight years.



    Chief Nursing Officer Receives “Best Practice Award for Administration

    Contact: Steve Rutledge
    (323) 361-4121

    (Los Angeles) -- Mary Dee Hacker, MBA, R.N., the vice president of Patient Care Services, and Chief Nursing Officer at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, was recently honored in Sacramento as the recipient of the 2003 Best Practice Award for Administration by the Association of California Nurse Leaders.

    “It is truly an honor to be recognized by the peers I most respect in California nursing,” said Ms. Hacker. “The ACNL is the single-most committed nursing organization in California for nursing excellence. During a time of great nursing shortages, we must be attentive to not only ‘numbers’ of nurses, but also ‘well-educated’ nurses, who are qualified to provide care to the citizens of California.”

    The ACNL annually recognizes nurse leaders for excellence in nursing leadership and advancement of clinical practice, as well as individuals who have made significant contributions to, or demonstrated significant support of the nursing profession. The Best Practice Award is a new award given by the ACNL, and goes to outstanding nurse leaders who have implemented excellent projects or programs that have resulted in a best practice.

    Ms. Hacker is no stranger to accolades, having been named one of “California’s 100 Most Influential & Interesting Healthcare Leaders” by California Medicine magazine in 1997. She also received the 1997 “RN Excellence Award” bestowed by NURSEweek magazine. The Healthcare Public Relations & Marketing Association awarded her the 1999 Golden Advocate Award, and in 2000, she received the Nursing Leadership Award from the Association of California Nurse Leaders.

    Ms. Hacker is among the best-known leaders in nursing in California. At Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, she initiated the development of a unique model that involves the entire staff in the planning, decision-making and implementation of each patient’s care; a model that is widely copied today.

    She also was instrumental in the development of the first RN Internship in Pediatrics program in an attempt to solve the hospital’s nursing shortage situation. The goal is to develop registered nurses into pediatric specialists, while bridging the gap between academic and service organizations such as ours.

    Ms. Hacker serves on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors at Hillsides (Pasadena), which creates safe places for children by treating abuse, neglect and mental illness, and is a board member for Campbell Hall. She also is a member of the Department of Nursing Advisory Committees at both Pasadena City College and California State University. She is an assistant professor of Clinical Nursing at the University of Southern California Department of Nursing. She is a member of the Association of California Nurse Leaders, the American Organization of Nurse Executives, Sigma Theta Tau/International (nursing honor society, Society of Pediatric Nurses, and serves on the Nurse Executive Council/Los Angeles.

    She earned her R.N. degree from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota, and her MBA from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Ms. Hacker also graduated from the Wharton Fellows Program in Management for Nurse Executives, an intensive three-week management education program held at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. She was one of 36 nurse executives selected to participate in the program.

    Ms. Hacker, her husband Steve Nishibayashi, M.D., and their two children, Kathryn and Mark reside in Glendale.

    The Association of California Nurse Leaders provides a platform from which nurse leaders may speak and be heard on nursing and health care issues. An action-oriented group, ACNL encourages all members to take part; to communicate their ideas; to influence what is happening in health care; and to learn and grow from the interaction of such a mutual interest group.

    Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, training more young pediatricians than any other facility in California through its 70-year association with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, and it is a national leader in pediatric research.

    Since 1990, U.S. News & World Report has named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation and its panel of board-certified pediatricians has ranked the hospital the best on the West Coast for 13 straight years.



    Kathy Ruccione, R.N., Named Fellow of The American Academy of Nursing

    Contact: Steve Rutledge
    (323) 361-4121

    (Los Angeles) -- Kathy Ruccione, R.N., MPH, the nursing administrator for the Childrens Center for Cancer & Blood Diseases at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, has been named a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN), according to an announcement by Carmen Portillo, chair of the Fellow Selection Committee. Ruccione, who also is an associate professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, will be inducted at a ceremony in Naples, Florida, in November 2002.
    “I’m thrilled to be recognized for doing what I love to do,” Ruccione said. “I see miracles every day as a pediatric oncology nurse, and I hope my experience can contribute to the mission of the Academy in a meaningful way.”
    “This honor,” she said, “also is a tribute to my colleagues, and the patients and families who have taught me so much over the years.”

    Ruccione, who recently co-authored the book Childhood Cancer Survivors: A Practical Guide to Your Future, has worked at Childrens Hospital since 1973, when she was recruited to the Hematology/Oncology Program as a cancer nurse epidemiologist.

    Ruccione has co-authored 42 peer-reviewed manuscripts, three books, seven book chapters, and 27 published abstracts. She has served as the principal investigator or co-investigator on eight childhood cancer studies.
    “This is extraordinary recognition,” said Mary Dee Hacker, R.N., MBA, who is vice president, patient care services at Childrens Hospital. “Kathy’s career has been devoted to the care of children with cancer. Her commitment has been to their dignity and empowerment.”

    Ruccione pioneered the development of resources for the care of childhood cancer survivors. She developed the LIFE (Long-term Information, Follow-up and Evaluation) Program at Childrens Hospital, which has served as a model nationwide. Ruccione and a colleague also developed a portable survivor’s health record (“Taking Care of Yourself for Life”), which has been internationally distributed, and she developed a website for childhood cancer survivors.
    Ruccione served as a conduit and interpreter of scientific/medical research discoveries to nurses by writing and lecturing about the biology and treatment of childhood cancer. She developed a video digest (An Update on Genetics and Epidemiology for Nurses) and a nurses’ epidemiology notebook for the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), which has been distributed to all centers managing the care of pediatric oncology patients in North America.
    Ruccione has contributed to improving the understanding of the informed consent process by leading a series of studies on informed consent in randomized clinical trials, and publishing the findings. She also wrote the first review article on informed consent in the pediatric oncology nursing literature.

    Ruccione founded the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses (APON), and chaired the first APON Local Chapter committee, which developed 14 chapters nationally, now 35 chapters. She also chaired the Childrens Cancer Group Nursing Committee, and
    represented nursing in the transition to the Childrens Oncology Group (COG) following the merger of the four pediatric oncology cooperative groups. She now chairs the COG Nursing Discipline.
    “Kathy is an exceptional role model for young nurses who aspire to an academic career,” said Stuart E. Siegel, M.D., director of the Childrens Center for Cancer & Blood Diseases at Childrens Hospital. “She is bright, creative, committed, compassionate and eloquent when it comes to children with cancer, and the role of pediatric oncology nurses in both the care and the research needed to give them a full, productive life. Her election as a Fellow is truly earned and deserved.”

    Ruccione’s nomination was supported by Pauline Beecroft, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN (Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing), a nurse researcher at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, and Ida “Ki” Moore, DNS, R.N., FAAN, a professor and division director of nursing at the University of Arizona College of Nursing.
    “Kathy is a pioneer in the field of pediatric oncology nursing, and continues to be a national and international leader,” said Dr. Moore. “I am confident that she will continue to create opportunities to support the professional development of her colleagues and for creating multidisciplinary partnerships.”
    Dr. Beecroft added, “Kathy’s outstanding contributions can be verified through the leadership she has demonstrated in research, education and publication locally, nationally and internationally.”
    Ruccione received the Davol Award for Excellence in Research from the Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses (APON) in 1989 and 1990; and the Jean Fergusson Award for Excellence in Education from the APON; the Senior Writing Award of The Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing in 1994 and 1999; and the Founders Award from the Southern California Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses in 1996, which was named for her.
    Ruccione received a nursing degree from the Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing in 1966 and a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from California State University, Northridge in 1973. She received a master’s degree in public health from Northridge in 1978, where she was elected to Phi Kappa Phi.
    Kathy is the mother of a son, Daniel, 16, and they reside in Burbank. “Living with Daniel, who is profoundly deaf, has brought many challenges and opened new worlds. My personal experience as a mother of a child with a disability has enriched my perspective, and deepened my commitment to finding ways to help children and their families survive and overcome life-changing experiences.”

    Founded in 1901, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century, and it is acknowledged throughout the United States and around the world for its leadership in pediatric and adolescent health. Childrens is one of America’s premier teaching hospitals, training more young pediatricians than any other facility in California through its 70-year association with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, and it is a national leader in pediatric research.
    Since 1990, U.S. News & World Report has named Childrens Hospital Los Angeles one of the top pediatric facilities in the nation and its panel of board-certified pediatricians has ranked the hospital the best on the West Coast.