2009 VA Secretary's Award Winners
Left to right: Steven P. Kleinglass, La’Shon Rivera, Margaret A. Mikelonis, Aneita Morgan, Cecilia McVey, and Michael A. Martinez at the Secretary’s nursing excellence award ceremony.
La’Shon Rivera, HT - Wilmington VAMC (Wilmington, DE)
VA Secretary: Eric K. Shinseki; La’Shon Rivera; Chief Nursing Officer: Cathy Rick, RN FACHE; and Acting Under Secretary for Health: Gerald M. Cross, MD FAAFP
Ms. Rivera works as the health technician in a very busy hematology and oncology clinic that also provides outpatient chemotherapy. She shows great compassion for the veterans with cancer and their families as they cope with this devastating diagnosis. She acts as a connection between the patients and oncologists. She is a strong patient advocate. Ms. Rivera has built patient trust enabling her to help patients navigate this complex system – she has never said “this isn’t our problem.” She is very dependable, informative, friendly, and caring.
Working closely with members of the healthcare team, Ms. Rivera goes above and beyond expectations in providing emergency services. She also works with social workers, the Cancer Care Coordinator, and the HIV coordinator. Ms. Rivera is self directed in everything she does, always providing excellent care. By attending educational meetings on her own time, she has become familiar with the medicines her patients are taking enabling her to detect side effects. Ms. Rivera is a pleasure to work with and a manager’s dream.
Michael A. Martinez, LPN - Denver VAMC (Denver, CO)
VA Secretary: Eric K. Shinseki; Michael Martinez; Chief Nursing Officer: Cathy Rick, RN FACHE; and Acting Under Secretary for Health: Gerald M. Cross, MD FAAFP
Mr. Martinez began his employment at the Denver VA Medical Center in 1991 after 10 years of active duty with the United States Army. He served as a combat medic in operation Desert Storm and has received many citations and awards. Since 2000 he has been the Orthopedic Clinic Manager and worked in Medical/Surgical as well as the Emergency Department. He is characterized by his excellence, dedication to duty, and care for patients.
As the Orthopedic Clinic Manager, Mr. Martinez is accountable for the overall functioning of the clinic that may be defined as high pressure, high volume, and high responsibility. He works consistently with attending physicians, physician assistants, resident surgeons, medical students, and Emergency Department personnel. Since 1991 Mr. Martinez has received numerous letters of commendation from the Denver VA Medical Center Director, nursing personnel, and clinicians.
Aneita Morgan, RN, BSN - James J. Peters Bronx VAMC (Bronx, NY)
VA Secretary: Eric K. Shinseki; Aneita Morgan; Chief Nursing Officer: Cathy Rick, RN FACHE; and Acting Under Secretary for Health: Gerald M. Cross, MD FAAFP
Ms. Morgan joined the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) after working on the Medical/Surgical floor. She is currently a staff nurse in the 20 bed combined ICU where she is highly respected for clinical competence, skills, and performance. While in the Medical/Surgical Unit she was able identify patient needs in critical situations leading her to choose to work in the ICU. She proactively sought out every available opportunity to expand and develop her skills as a critical care nurse. Ms. Morgan has established and maintained personnel development, returning to school to complete her Bachelor’s Degree with honors.
Ms. Morgan works well with others and is a member of many committees including the Palliative Care Committee. She has represented the medical center at conferences and published a paper titled, “Cultural and Spiritual Issues in the End-of-Life-Care. Ms. Morgan has demonstrated the effective use of evidence-based practice. She demonstrates integrity and adheres to the nursing profession’s code of ethics, developing and implementing strategies to improve performance.
Margaret A. Mikelonis, RN, NP - James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital (Tampa, FL)
VA Secretary: Eric K. Shinseki; Margaret Mikelonis; Chief Nursing Officer: Cathy Rick, RN FACHE; and Acting Under Secretary for Health: Gerald M. Cross, MD FAAFP
Until August 2008, Ms. Mikelonis served simultaneously as the Women Veterans Program Manager ((WVPM) at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, Tampa, FL, and as a direct care provider for women in a primary care setting. In her role as WVPM in VISN 8 she provides program oversight and guidance for the staff. She has played a crucial role in all aspects of the planning, implementation, and transformation of the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital’s ever growing Women Veterans’ Comprehensive Health Center. Many of her collaborative achievements have found a permanent place in national program development.
Using the principles of the nursing process and evidence-based practice, Ms. Mikelonis has enhanced the standards of practice for women’s health at the facility, making a major impact on the Veterans Integrated Service Network and national programs. She has integrated her unwavering ethical principles into all areas of practice, influencing policy makers to recognize women’s health as an imperative. Through her membership in a number of professional organizations, Ms. Mikelonis has mentored colleagues, promulgated VA nursing, and enhanced the profession through her continuous demonstration of stellar leadership skills, extraordinary compassion, and ever present commitment to professional development and patient care.
Cecilia McVey, RN, MSN - VA Boston Health Care System (Boston, MA)
VA Secretary: Eric K. Shinseki; Cecilia McVey; Chief Nursing Officer: Cathy Rick, RN FACHE; and Acting Under Secretary for Health: Gerald M. Cross, MD FAAFP
Ms. McVey has served in the role of Associate Director for Nursing/Patient Services at the VA Boston Health Care System since February 1999. She constantly demonstrates contemporary and progressive leadership in advancing nursing programs. She regularly advocates that continuous educational programs be made available to nursing staff. Her core values, attitudes, and skills significantly influence the environment insuring patient safety providing leadership in the establishment and improvement of programs for the delivery of quality patient care. Under her leadership Boston was ranked as one on the highest rated facilities in job satisfaction.
Ms. McVey began her nursing career at VA as a nursing assistant while attending nursing school and has worked her way up to Nurse Executive. She has been a mentor and preceptor to a staff nurse at Northeastern University. She is an advocate of succession planning and presented her “Strategic Planning Update” at the 2008 national Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs (NOVA) conference, encouraging staff to utilize available scholarships and educational resources like the VA Learning Opportunity Residency Program. Ms. McVey has been active in a number of professional organizations such a NOVA, holding numerous leadership positions. She has published several articles in professional journals and News from NOVA.
Steven P. Kleinglass - Minneapolis VAMC (Minneapolis, MN)
VA Secretary: Eric K. Shinseki; Steven Kleinglass; Chief Nursing Officer: Cathy Rick, RN FACHE; and Acting Under Secretary for Health: Gerald M. Cross, MD FAAFP
Mr. Kleinglass fully supports the incorporation of evidence-based nursing practices. Since 2003 he has committed the fiscal resources and time to involve nursing in the Institute for HealthCare Improvement (IHI) initiatives. Network and national collaborations have brought new evidence to inpatient and outpatient care settings. The collaborations include Intensive Care, Communication/Collaboration, and Chronic Disease enabling nursing to implement a Rapid Response Team and incorporate all elements of the 5 Million Lives Campaign. In addition the Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) telehealth program won one of this year’s National Innovations awards.
Mr. Kleinglass has always demonstrated a deep and abiding respect for the role of nursing in the facility. He has supported the involvement of nursing in the network strategic initiative to promote evidence-based nursing (EBN), funding travel and tuition for teams of nurses to attend EBN workshops. Mr. Kleinglass has worked tirelessly to provide the resources to redesign the Mental Health Unit resulting in “a unit within a unit” for highly unstable patients. He facilitated the construction a new Spinal Cord Injury Unit and approved the hiring a Nurse Manager who assembled a team to visit other facilities. He consistently supports the acquisition of technology to support nursing care. Mr. Kleinglass has been an active board member and chairperson for the Minneapolis Hospital Association. His participation at the Network and national levels has brought great benefits and recognition to nursing and the facility.