Clara Ford Nursing Excellence Award

About the Clara Ford Nursing Awards

  • The Clara Ford Award for Nursing Excellence was established four years ago to honor Henry Ford Health System registered nurses for their dedication to their patients, the community and the health system in each of our System’s seven performance pillars.
  • The award was named in memory of Clara Ford who was an advocate of the Henry Ford Hospital School of Nursing.
  • The School of Nursing founded in 1925. It had a 300 room Nurses’ Residence on this Campus. It was named for Clara Ford and it remained in existence until 1996.
  • The diploma school offered training in basic sciences and nursing practice, graduating more than 5,000 students in the 71 years of its operation. The School was known for its high standards and excellence in education and practice. The “Ford Grads” were easily recognized by their skillful care of patients and their unique nursing caps.
  • With the history of Henry Ford nursing as its foundation the Clara Ford Awards for Nursing Excellence are bestowed annually upon seven nurses who are nominated by their colleagues.
  • Each of these nominees was nominated based on the System’s seven performance pillars, which create The Henry Ford Experience. The seven pillars are People, Service, Quality & Safety, Growth, Research & Education, Community and Finance.
  • A selection committee comprised of Nurse Executives representing each Henry Ford Health System business unit selected the award winners.
  • The nominations were blinded, without a name or business unit attached, ensuring winners are selected based solely on the merit of the nominee.

People Pillar Award

Carson  DaisyPeople Pillar Award winner: Dawn Carson

Dawn is a nurse in Henry Ford Hospital’s Medical Intensive Care Unit – Pod 4. She is a member of the Unit Governance Council, a preceptor and leader on her unit. She goes above and beyond to support patients and families showing great compassion and kindness in their greatest time of need.

Here is an excerpt from Dawn’s nomination form:

A family recently expressed their heartfelt appreciation for her exemplary care.

“Dawn showed outstanding professionalism, compassion, sympathy and empathy. She cared for our father following his cardiac arrest as if he were one of her family members. But, more than that, she cared for us. She met our needs and shared her exemplary nursing knowledge and education by explaining in great detail the statistics of our father’s vital signs and became our advocate between family and doctors when the answers were unclear.

Her ability to be human during this difficult time and not just articulate medical jargon was astounding. She helped us gather information we needed whether it be asking for a doctor or translating their reports during rounds.

She tended to our hurting hearts as we realized our father’s condition was deteriorating and the end of his life was near and we had to make a decision. She became a part of our family in the MICU.

She was there for our family throughout this tragic ordeal and there for us in the end. We were relieved and thankful that Dawn was the one administering the medication to our father to keep him comfortable until his passing.”

Service Pillar Award

Feistel DaisyService Pillar Award winner: Margaret Feistel

Margaret is known to friends is the Pediatric Clinic Nurse Manger at Henry Ford Medical Center – Ford Road. She is a champion for service improvement for patients and staff.

By creating a special bond with patients and staff, she contributes to a culture of caring and exemplifies the concept of relationship-based care. She is an advocate for childhood immunizations and deeply cares about the well-being of children. She initiated the “Reach Out and Read program” in the clinic through which the team has given thousands of new books to children from 6 months to 5 years of age.

Here is an excerpt from Meg’s nomination which exemplifies her dedication:

“One of our physicians recently had a newborn patient who was found to be dehydrated and not gaining weight at the first visit. She discovered that the mother and her children were living in a homeless shelter where the mother could not bring in outside food to increase her nutrition for adequate breastfeeding. The baby had to be admitted to the hospital. Meg worked with System resources to try to obtain housing for the family.

The mother ultimately found housing with help from the shelter. Meg then applied for a CATCH grant for the mother to obtain an automobile and she was able to get a check for the mother to purchase a car and cover her first 7 days of insurance. The mother is a nurse, lost her job due to illness at the beginning of her pregnancy, and once she had transportation was able to look for work. She has been offered a job with home health care. These efforts took hours of phone calls and coordination in addition to Meg’s regular, extensive work duties.

Quality & Safety Award

Sweeney DaisyQuality and Safety Pillar Award winner Catherine Sweeney

Catherine is the Director of Infection Prevention and Control as well as Performance Excellence and Quality at Henry Ford Macomb Hospitals.

Kate supports numerous multidisciplinary teams at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital as an active facilitator and proponent of quality improvement. She has a talent and unique ability to bring out the talent in others giving team members the tools to seek quality improvement, implement them flawlessly, sustain and re-evaluate when needed.

Here is an excerpt from Kate’s nomination:

“Kate’s passion for quality extends to our entire organization. She has an integral role in our journey to become a High Reliability Organization (HRO). Every day during the week, HF Macomb Hospital holds a “Safety Huddle”. She facilitated implementation of the HRO characteristics leaders practice and consistently communicates our quality measures to the entire Leadership Team. She has collaborated with members to create a visual communication tool based upon the needs and feedback of the team. Kate worked diligently hand in hand with our CEO Barbara Rossmann to develop the foundation and template used for the organization, based upon the five characteristics of a HRO to be constantly mindful and responsible in identifying a means to accomplish this goal.

Kate’s focus on quality is also on System quality initiatives. She co-leads the health systems sepsis team. She ensures the quality indicators are met and data is measured.”

Growth Award

Sharp  DaisyGrowth Pillar Award winner: Shari Sharp

As the Nurse Educator on Henry Ford Hospital’s Nephrology Unit, H2/I2, she is instrumental in helping nurse’s maintain their nursing skills while providing them opportunities to learn and grow on the unit.

This past year, she was instrumental in the implementation of a new machine for the Continuous Cycler Peritoneal Dialysis or CCPD on the unit.

Here is an excerpt from Shari’s nomination:

Many patients in the community that do peritoneal dialysis are using a Continuous Cycler Peritoneal Dialysis machine at home and want to use it during their hospitalization. Shari was instrumental in getting the cycler program started for the Nephrology patients on H2-I2.

Shari attended classes on the Cycler and in collaboration with others developed the order sets and flow sheets for the Cycler in EPIC as well as downtime forms. She developed hospital policies for the CCPD and developed the education and training programs for the nursing staff adjusting her schedule to ensure all the nurses on the unit were educated on the new machine.

Shari also worked with the other sites in the System to develop system-wide policies for the Cycler Peritoneal Dialysis. This ensures patients are receiving the same care at all Henry Ford locations.”

Research & Education Award

Klassa  DaisyResearch & Education Award winner: Patricia Klassa

As a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Birthing Center at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital Patricia, or Trish as she is known, is an instructor for numerous educational programs including Neonatal Resuscitation Program certification. She formulates annual competency programs, simulations, and weekly educational programs including strip review.

Here is an excerpt from Trish’s nomination:

“Trish makes a huge difference each day for the staff and patients of the Birthing Center. She brings energy, passion, and engagement to our team and into the community as well. Trish helps others achieve their own personal goals such as when she mentored me through my first Quality Expo project this past year. She inspires others to do their best and to never quit learning.

She has worked tirelessly to improve our unit's identification of, and response to obstetric hemorrhage. She researched the latest practices and brought them to West Bloomfield Hospital. Working collaboratively with our anesthesia team, blood bank, our providers, and the entire nursing staff to pre-screen for risk factors, develop a hemorrhage cart that has all necessary supplies, develop treatment algorithms, develop a rapid transfusion process, organized an OB Rapid Response Team, and educated all about more accurate blood loss estimation.

Trish is currently collecting data to determine the success of her year-long work. She will be taking this work to new levels as we begin work with the Michigan Hospital Association's OB Keystone Project.”

Community Award

Yore DaisyCommunity Pillar Award winner: Jill Yore

Jill is a manager of the Henry Ford Macomb School Health Network leading the School Based Community Health Program. She co-leads a Henry Ford Macomb sponsored community initiative known as Operation RX where the focus is to address and eradicate teen opiate use and abuse in Macomb County.

Here is an excerpt from her nomination:

“Jill applied for and was awarded a grant to develop and operationalize a School Based Health Program at Mt. Clemens High School where the student population is underserved. She created the program including the design of the space at the School to establishing an Advisory Board to creating the process and procedures to hiring and training the staff. Thanks to her tireless efforts many students have benefited from the program including one student who accessed the center without an appointment to talk with the counselor who identified the student's depression and plan to commit suicide. This plan was averted and the student was referred for additional counseling and treatment. There are countless stories of the people she and her team have helped.

In addition, she co-leads Operation Rx with several colleagues from Henry Ford Macomb and the community. She is working directly with Community Leaders from the Schools, Health Systems, Judicial System, Law Enforcement and the Physician Community to address the Opiate abuse epidemic in Macomb County among teenagers to 21 year olds. There were 13 deaths in one week due to overdose; other data/information is more devastating. Jill's passion for this work is evident with every discussion, her planning and her engaging countless stakeholders.”

Finance Award

Renny DaisyFinance Award winner: Kay Renny

Over the past year, Kay Renny, manager of Henry Ford Extended Care, has been able to transform a private-duty operation that was losing staff and money into an efficient and effective operation, while simultaneously growing business for our System. She has focused on adding the right staff to support the Henry Ford mission and to make a meaningful difference with the predominantly nurse and nurse aide staff she leads.

Here is an excerpt from Kay’s nomination:

“Last year, Kay negotiated a contract with the American House organization for Extended Care to provide all nursing services to the residents of the Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care units of the Grosse Pointe location within the HF Cottage Medical Center. This partnership not only dramatically increased Extended Care business and Henry Ford’s presence in the community, but created downstream revenue for our System as well. The Henry Ford-American House partnership Kay directed has resulted in:

  • 75% of the residents transferring their care under a HFMG physician at the Pierson clinic. These physicians will even walk across the bridge to see residents in their apartments!
  • HFHS Lab, Radiology, Outpatient Rehab and Emergency Department businesses in Grosse Pointe all experiencing increases in volume.
  • HF Ambulatory Pharmacy now provides services to 100% of the Assisted Living and Memory Care residents.

Consequently, Extended Care net revenue has grown 53.5% and profitability has increased 51.2%.”