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Nursing Staff at Duke Wins "Best Nursing Team" Contest

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

DURHAM, N.C. - Advance for Nurses magazine announced today (Monday) that the nursing staff on Unit 9100, one of the hematology and oncology inpatient units of Duke University Hospital, has won the magazine's first "Best Nursing Team Contest" for the Georgia and Carolina region. The staff includes almost 60 nurses, nursing assistants, health unit coordinators and others.

"This award shows the staff really works together," said assistant nurse manager Joey Misuraca. "With all that's going on in health care, it shows that the staff recognizes that the patients are most important."

Many patients on 9100 are terminally ill, and that can make for a stressful and sometimes sad environment. Teamwork ensures that everything gets done, and patients, family members and co-workers are all cared for.

"It is true that we often find we are nursing the loved ones of our patients as much as the patients themselves," wrote registered nurse Teresa Brinton in the letter that served as part of the staff's nomination packet. "High anxiety, depression and hopelessness can easily debilitate our patients and families if the nursing staff is not a cohesive unit dedicated to their healing."

Three judges - practicing nurses from East Carolina University, the Shepherd Center in Atlanta and a private practice outside of Charleston - read and scored the letter and an essay in each nomination packet. When all the scores were added up, Duke's 9100 came out on top. The staff won mugs, a plaque and a dinner to be held at George's Garage in Durham.

Started in September 1999 by Merion Publications, Advance for Nurses includes the latest in nursing care news for certain geographic regions. The magazine's Georgia/Carolina edition is distributed free to licensed registered nurses in the metropolitan areas of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The May 1 issue includes photos and a story about the 9100 staff.

When Linda Jones, managing editor of Advance for Nurses, presented the magazine's award to the staff on April 7, she was surprised by what she found. "Coming to a hematology/oncology unit, I expected a fairly somber group of people, but I found a lot of people really enjoying what they do and, even beyond that, enjoying each other. They are all really good friends. It was clear that the patients saw that, too."

Personnel in other departments, such as clinical nurse specialists, social workers, case managers, dietary and housekeeping employees, pastoral services, the unit service coordinator, recreational therapy and volunteers are all vital to the unit's smooth operation, but unfortunately couldn't be included in the contest, said Brinton, who was the team's representative for the contest.

"It's not just the nurses that make 9100 what it is; it's everyone who is there," she said.

That was a key aspect of the award, Jones said. "We didn't want to recognize an entire hospital or just one nurse," she said. "Every nurse needs to work as part of a team. The more effective the team is, the better the outcome for everyone, and that's the point."

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