NurseZone Contest Winner Shows Innovation in Palliative Care Program

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Read more about the 2013 National Nurses Week theme--“Delivering Quality and Innovation in Patient Care”--and our NurseZone.com contest to honor deserving nurses here.


By Melissa Hagstrom, contributor 

June 6, 2013 - When Jacki Satterlee, RN, came across NurseZone.com’s contest for National Nurses Week last month, she had the ideal nurse in mind to nominate for the special recognition award. 

She nominated Kate Hembrooke, RN, a hospice and palliative care nurse, as one who goes above and beyond for patients and plays a vital role in delivering quality and innovation in patient care--the 2013 theme for Nurses Week. Her entry was picked by the NurseZone.com staff as the contest winner, as a great representation of a very deserving profession.

“The reason I nominated Kate for the award was because I have known her for 13 years and she has worked for hospice the entire time. She is very giving of her time and goes out of her way to find new ways to help our community,” Satterlee said. 

Patient Sabrina Brown and Kate Hembrooke, RN, winner of NurseZone's Nurses Week contest.
Sabrina Brown (left) and Kate Hembrooke, RN (right), who was selected as winner of the recent NurseZone.com contest. Brown was one of Hembrooke's patients and serves as a spokesperson for CareFirst's palliative care program.

Both Satterlee and Hembrooke work as nurses in the small New York community of Elmira, and it was Hembrooke’s dedication to the local area and patients she serves that prompted Satterlee to submit her nomination.  

“She helped develop a palliative care program that she is now running and she also recently helped build up some support groups for grief counseling in the area,” she added. “But she doesn’t work for money; she works because she loves her job and is a giver.” 

Hembrooke pours herself into her work in many ways, according to Satterlee.

“She is also always seeking out educational opportunities so she can do a better job for her patients. She’s just really good at what she does.” 

The nomination and award came as a big surprise to Hembrooke, who wasn’t aware that Satterlee had submitted a nomination on her behalf. 

“I was very honored! I had no idea that Jacki would be doing this, she obviously hadn’t told me about it and it was not something that I would have ever expected,” Hembrooke said.  “I was completely blown away and to find out we won was even better.”  

Palliative program benefits from the caring touch of a nurse 

The CareFirst Palliative Care Program which Hembrooke spearheaded took a while to get off the ground, but is now in one local hospital with a likely expansion into two additional facilities. The program works as a local community partner for excellent care, support and knowledge that enables individuals to cope with serious illness. 

It stresses early intervention as the key to increased quality of life for people living with serious illness, and the staff helps patients and families navigate the many decisions and services that come with their conditions.

In addition to hospice and palliative care services, CareFirst also offers grief counseling, home care and other educational services for patients and their loved ones. 

“The program involves referrals from the hospital staff--including floor nurses, doctors, case managers, social workers, etc.--and working with recently admitted patients who may have chronic diagnoses or frequent hospitalizations that would require extra care support. We then work with these patients directly to provide care, identify their needs and develop a care plan to address these special needs,” said Hembrooke.

The need for nursing innovation, growth and recognition 

Both nurses agreed that it is essential for health care professionals to embody the 2013 Nurses Week theme by staying progressive in their care and promoting change and continuous improvement. 

“As we get older, sometimes change is hard to embrace,” Satterlee said, adding, “but we need to realize that the health care world is changing and if we don’t change with it, it will change without us.” 

Satterlee, who has worked in the same ER department for the past 22 years, said awards like this are important because many times nurses and other frontline clinicians are taken for granted. 

“We need to support each other and recognize each other,” she said. “I think we get so tired in our jobs that we forget to commend the people we work side by side with. When I’m in charge of the ER and I leave for the night, I tell everyone, ‘A job well done,’ but we don’t hear it enough.”

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