I was delighted to note that Aroh was accompanied to the award presentation by a large contingent of senior leadership from her hospital, including the president and CEO, which says a lot about how nursing leaders can succeed when working in a supportive, collaborative environment.
Equally impressive were the winners of the clinical practice category. The judges chose the neonatal ICU team at University Hospital of Brooklyn SUNY Downstate Medical Center for their focus on quality improvement issues and dedication to providing compassionate, competent care to patients and their families. The team focuses on continuing education and works to present a positive image of nursing.
The two nurse managers of the unit were there to receive the award, along with several members of their staff, and it was heartening to see their reaction as the entire audience gave these top performers a rousing round of applause.
It's an oft cited notion that managers spend too much time coaching the bottom performing 20% of staff and trying to help them improve, rather than spending time with the top performing 20% of staff and helping them excel even higher. These are the employees who are so competent and good at their jobs that we largely leave them to it, knowing they will be just fine, rather than helping them excel even further.
So it's worth turning our full attention to our exceptional employees—the Dianne Aroh's and NICU teams of the world—both because we should be recognizing and rewarding them for all they do, but also because given the right environment and encouragement, exceptional employees can be role models, mentors, and teachers. They lift up the spirit and performance of all of us around them—as they did in the hotel ballroom in Boston, where we all felt a little more inspired for having met them.
Editor's note: I'd be interested in hearing about ways readers promote a positive image of nursing at your facilities and ways you recognize and reward the shining stars at your organization. You can contribute your thoughts on this topic, nursing leadership, or the business of healthcare by e-mailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.