Magnet & Clinical Partner Award

Recognizing and celebrating our 2021 HMH Magnet/Pathway to Excellence & Clinical Partner Award Winners.

Dana EgbertThe network Exemplary Professional Practice award was presented to Hackensack University Medical Center director of nursing Dena Egbert. Dena is described as an exemplary leader who recognizes and supports her team members' commitment to high quality care. Dena has been improving her service line quality outcomes by collaborating with other disciplines to introduce new interventions to improve outcomes. Examples of Dena’s accomplishments include increasing communication through her weekly huddles with the leadership team, weekly updates sent to her entire team, and unit rounding to acknowledge hard work. Dena has influenced her team members to give more and become more by giving their 100%. She introduced the “move to improve project” to decrease delirium, fall and pressure injury for the older adult population. She encourages bedside reporting and Ipass to improve shift to shift and hospital to rehab communication. And, she is devoted to increasing nursing certifications. Dena also supported COVID response efforts, coordinating the right resources for the best patient outcomes.

Maryanne FranzisAt the start of the first wave of COVID, Maryanne Franzis was an assistant nurse manager when she was unexpectedly left as the only leader on what would become the first full COVID unit at Ocean Medical Center. Maryanne’s efforts and leadership throughout the pandemic led to her being honored with the network Magnet/Pathway to Excellence award for Transformational Leadership. Maryanne worked countless hours and led her team through this very challenging difficult experience. Under Maryanne’s leadership, this unit was on the cutting edge of trying new interventions and actively proning patients before it became a part of the standard of care. She inspired, motivated, encouraged, and influenced her team to do more, be more, and be proud of their accomplishments!

Leavie Jones Described as the “unsung hero of the ICU” at Raritan Bay Medical Center – Perth Amboy, Plant Operations Specialist Leavie Jones is the network winner of the Creative Clinical Partner award. Leavie is described as an amazing human being and someone who is never too busy for any request – from fixing a gas leak to putting up wall hangings. Throughout the pandemic, Leavie “worked quietly behind the scenes,” and was critical to effectively relocating the IV pumps to the hallway in the ICU and CCU, resulting in less exposure to the team, minimized use of PPE and, at the same time, providing clinicians with the ability to timely administer IV drips to keep our patients safe.

Patricia MezzinaPatricia Mezzina was recognized with the Transformational Leadership Magnet/Pathway to Excellence award at Jersey Shore. Pat serves as nurse manager of a designated COVID unit. She not only managed the high acuity and changes in her unit, but she kept her staff informed of the guidelines, took ownership of outcomes and most importantly, provided a touchpoint, a loving heart and a strong hug for patients, their families and her team. Pat is described as a light in the darkness of COVID uncertainty. She offered hope by sharing her personal experience during the AIDS crisis, and she always emphasized that despite losing some patients, the team’s efforts were not futile. Pat also led her team in the implementation of self-proning and the use of incentive spirometry to improve patient outcomes, bundled care to shorten staff exposure without compromising safety, humanized patient care despite isolation and visitor restrictions and also volunteered as a vaccinator after her work hours and on weekends, supporting the vaccination of more than 4,000 of her colleagues, their families and community members.

Patricia Paneca JFK Medical Center Patient Care Technician (PCT) Patricia Paneca “is the cornerstone of her unit. She is fearless in her commitment to her unit colleagues and the patients she cares for.” Patricia was honored with the Courageous Clinical Partner award. Patricia is described as the hand hygiene champion and PPE advocate. Notably, Patricia was recognized for consistently speaking up for safety and taking seriously her role in addressing poor practices. Patricia is also known for her role as the “skin detective” on her unit, serving as a resource for her peers on skin inspection. In addition, she volunteered to be an Epic super user, and she consistently shares best practices with her fellow PCTs. She is always willing to assist others and always does so with a smile.

Rose Marie Izbicki Known for her exceptional work ethic by both team members and patients, Environmental Services Aide Rose Marie Izbicki of Raritan Bay Medical Center – Old Bridge was awarded the network Collaborative Clinical Partner award. Rose Marie is described as a team member who consistently goes above and beyond on the ICU and telemetry units where she serves. Rose Marie takes her responsibilities seriously, particularly as it relates to infection control practices, and is always looking for ways to help others. She reports patient concerns right away, models positivity, and is proud of her role providing for a clean and safe environment for patients and the entire team.
Rhodora Pagayunan & Nazeh TargailNazeh Targail was presented with the Magnet/Pathway to Excellence New Knowledge & Innovation award at Bayshore Medical Center. Naz, who has been a member of the team for over 10 years, is currently pursuing his masters in nursing and is described as a self-motivated individual who has gained a great deal of knowledge and critical thinking skills as his career grows. Naz is a strong advocate for evidence-based practice nursing care and is committed to researching and bringing his findings to the unit to better care for the patients. Patient Care Technician Rhodora Pagayunan was honored with the Creative Clinical Partner award at Bayshore Medical Center. Rhodora has been part of the Bayshore night shift 2 telemetry team for 3 years, and has grown to be the “go to” night preceptor for any new PCTs on the night shift. She takes anyone new to night shift under her wing and works with each new PCT as an individual and tailors her precepting to meet their needs. Rhodora’s creativity to her orientation process is an amazing skill that allows for the new hires growth and learning opportunities.

Carey Cranmer & Anna PonaAt Southern Ocean Medical Center, Carey Cranmer and Anna Pona were recognized with the New Knowledge & Innovation award. Carey and Anna put together the first protocol for complex pulmonary embolism treatment for any HMH campus, referred to as the Pulmonary Embolism Response team (PERT). These nurses noted that each interventionalist had differing post procedure orders and there was no set protocol to follow once the patient was sent to the critical care area. This initiative was successful because of their efforts throughout - collaborating with the physicians to develop pre, intra and post procedure order sets, creating and providing nursing education, and partnering with Pharmacy to ensure safe and effective standard dosing to minimize bleeding risk.



Anne CarterThe network Magnet/Pathway to Excellence Empirical Outcomes award was presented to Anne Carter of Riverview Medical Center. As the coordinator for Quality Performance, from 2018 to 2020, Anne led the team to extraordinary achievement in decreasing sepsis mortality rates. The rate dropped to 0.79, outperforming all benchmarks. Anne’s efforts achieved 93% CMS sepsis bundle compliance last November, significantly outperforming the benchmark in New Jersey (64%), and across the country (60%). Anne recognized that increased bundle compliance produces decreased sepsis mortality, so she customized sepsis education for providers, creating a CMS algorithm card and providing daily compliance reports.



Brenda NealAt Carrier Clinic, mental health counselor Brenda Neal was honored with the Compassionate Clinical Partner award. For over 20 years, Brenda has touched countless lives - from her patients to the team members that she has worked with. Brenda arrives to work every day with a smile on her face, pep in her step, and a song in her heart. You can often find Brenda singing a happy tune while walking through the unit checking on her patients. Her joy is contagious! Brenda is also described as a natural caretaker, someone who treats everyone with the utmost compassion and integrity, and she would do anything for her patients and for her team, even if that means she will have a more difficult shift herself. Brenda also creates memorable interactions with her patients who are having a bad day. She checks and double checks that her patients feel safe and cared for.


Maybeline Lavina & Oscar ToapantaUnit secretary Maybeline Lavina was honored with the Creative Clinical Care Partner award at Palisades Medical Center. Maybeline always takes the initiative to promote a positive work environment and makes everyone’s day better. She adapts quickly to the fast-paced, changing environment and workflow in order to help keep the unit organized. Maybeline advocates for the team and patients every day to create a fun-loving, team oriented and safe culture. She takes pride in her work and understands how important her role is for patient care and throughput. She has been part of the Palisades family for 40 years and continues to be an asset to the organization and the 5th floor! Nursing assistant Oscar Toapanta was honored with the Connected Clinical Partner award. Oscar is always connected to “why” he chose to work in health care. He has a strong sense of urgency to help people and creates an environment that promotes positivity and healing. As a nursing assistant, he connects to both his peers and his patients through humor and music and reminds everyone that no matter how busy they are, there is always room for a little fun and dancing. Oscar always makes every moment positive by finding the right words of encouragement and motivates the team to look at the brighter side.

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