During the Nurses Day Conference 2021, held online on May 7, 2021, Nicole Visaggio, RN, and Teresa Henderson, BSN, RN, recognized recent recipients of McLean’s Professional Nursing Advancement Program (PNAP).
Recipients were presented in Tier 1 and Tier 2. As part of the application process for Tier 1, the recipients provided a clinical exemplar essay to showcase their proficiency in assessing patient needs, planning, and implementing nursing interventions while utilizing therapeutic communications techniques. Tier 2 recipients’ exemplars included instances of utilizing critical thinking skills and leadership capabilities.
Congratulations to the Spring 2021 recipients!
Below is the list of the recipients along with their nomination letters.
Kristina Hendron, RN, Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Inpatient Program – Nominated by Britney Glover, BSN, RN, Staff Nurse
It is my pleasure to highly recommend Kristina Hendron for the Professional Nurse Advancement Program at McLean Hospital.
Throughout our time working together on the schizophrenia and bipolar disorders unit as registered nurses, Kristina has displayed great talents in assessing patient’s needs, providing compassionate care, and effectively de-escalating in times of crisis. Kristina possesses the knowledge and ability to perform all duties as a nurse and is exceptionally gifted at making patients feel comfortable while maintaining a positive atmosphere. She leads by example and fosters a safe, therapeutic environment for patients and staff.
I first met Kristina following a sudden transition to AB2 [Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Inpatient Program] when the unit I worked on closed for the pandemic. I was immediately impressed by her ability to make new staff feel welcomed and inspired to provide excellent care. One of my first memories of Kristina was when she was working with a patient who had been in the hospital for almost a year. Due to the patient’s severe anxiety and depressive symptoms, it was very rare to see the patient on the milieu or engaging at length with anyone. Each shift, Kristina spent extra time building a therapeutic relationship by establishing shared goals, listening, and providing validation. I will never forget the genuine joy and excitement as she celebrated the little victories, such as an off-unit walk to a vending machine.
It is without hesitation that I recommend Kristina for the Professional Nurse Advancement Program. She is extremely motivated, hardworking, and compassionate in her nursing practice. She is a tremendous asset to our unit and I feel very fortunate to have her as my coworker, as she inspires me each day to better my practice.
Makayla Hourihan, RN, Community Reintegration Unit – Nominated by Michelle Forrest Wilson, RN, BSN, Clinical Coordinator
It is both a high honor and great privilege to have the pleasure of writing a letter of recommendation for Makayla Hourihan. McLean Hospital’s Community Reintegration Unit opened to patients in September of 2000, and I proudly remain as the only original staff member at the program. In my clinical coordinator role, I function as the permanent charge nurse and oversee the frontline staff on a full-time basis. Kayla’s exceptional blend of academic knowledge and professionalism has been obvious since her first shift as a nurse on the floor in October of 2016. Having the opportunity to work alongside her has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.
Our locked inpatient unit is part of the hospital’s Division of Psychotic Disorders. While specializing in schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder, the program treats all mental health diagnoses and has the most diverse demographics at McLean. We provide a calm, steady presence, emotional support, and encouragement to our 22 patients who are experiencing psychiatric crises and deemed to be a risk to self or others. The unit facilitates patients in gaining the therapeutic skills and medication stabilization necessary to successfully step down to an outpatient level of care.
Kayla thrives in the rigorous, scholarly demands of our busy inpatient unit with agitated patients and complex milieu events. She’s able to see the beauty and organization within the chaos and both recognize and celebrate the small victories within a shift. Kayla knows who she is and likes what she knows. She impressively combines this self-awareness with an unassuming nature and generous spirit that shine through in everything she does. Kayla has the adaptability to meet others where they are and takes the same pride in the perfunctory tasks as she does in the immense challenges. She has consistently proven to be a trustworthy staff member, of strong character and ethical mind, whose actions always reflect her beliefs.
Kayla has established herself as a clear leader within our inpatient team. She is our most relied on evening charge nurse, a role that she performs exceedingly well. She shows exceptional motivation and ambition in taking a primary role in quality improvement initiatives on the unit. Kayla created our instructional materials used in orienting new nurses and we depend on her to mentor these nurses throughout their time at the program. She is a member of the Nursing Practice and Qualities Committee here at McLean, which took on the task of streamlining change of shift reports this year with great success.
Most recently Kayla has been involved with another nurse in improving communication between staff nurses and mental health specialists, including co-leading meetings around the same. She is consistently respectful of others in her effective advocacy for improved patient care in staff meetings and beyond. While Kayla excels at assuaging agitated patients and de-escalating conflict, as well as staying ahead of medical crises, there are times when psychiatric and medical emergencies can’t be avoided. Kayla displays confidence and competency in leading peers through these circumstances, including debriefing with others after their occurrence to minimize the personal expense these difficult events can have over time.
Kayla’s phenomenal communication skills are an asset to the unit and a pleasure to witness. She is an old soul with keen intuition and insight into the human condition. She develops deep connections with all levels of staff and has meaningful counsel with her assigned panels of patients. In addition to regular patient education, Kayla guides patients through workbooks on self-esteem, anger management, self-care, and coping with depression and anxiety. Her written assessments are meticulously bolstered with quotes and behavioral descriptions that communicate care remarkably well.
Kayla uses her creative energy to lead imaginative groups which foster each patient’s sense of belonging by providing them with positive outlets to share common experiences and relate to the concerns of their peers. She is a skilled listener with a rare ability to calm others by making them feel they are being heard. Kayla is a tech-savvy individual who has a mastery of our medical software system, Epic, and willingness to help others with the same.
Kayla is one of the most frequently identified staff as deserving special recognition on the hospital’s Perceptions of Care surveys completed by patients at the end of their stays. She has an unrelenting desire for learning and betterment and has always shown great resilience throughout our time together on the Community Reintegration Unit. She is committed to making the best interventions instead of the easiest. I highly recommend Kayla Hourihan for Tier 1 in Nursing Advancement without any hesitation.