Nursing Honors Two of Their Own

Life Experiences Revealed Nurse’s Leadership Potential

As a young girl, Jodi Owens, BSN, RNII, A7C, was standing at the bedside of her brother here at Cincinnati Children’s when she knew she would be a nurse. “I was in the middle of a family crisis, and the care that my little brother and my family received from the nursing staff and team left an everlasting impression on me and ignited a desire to want to help others when I grew up,” she said. Owens did become that nurse, helping patients through bedside care in Diabetes and Endocrinology, first as a patient care assistant. Then another family crisis pushed her to develop and extend her nursing reach, which is when she realized she was a nurse leader. “It was after my husband was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and required an organ transplant,” she said. “With this experience, I realized how effective I was as an advocate and nurse leader for my husband, and I knew that not all patients have the knowledge, the skills or the ability to take control of their medical plan of care like that, so I decided that I needed to help inspire other nurses to provide that level of care.”

Owens has helped others by sharing her leadership in many avenues. She serves as chair of Shared Governance, the A7C Scheduling Committee, the hospital-wide Development and Advancement Committee, and is co-chair for the Nursing Profession Council. A dedicated insulin safety nurse, she also has been a member of the Medication Safety Committee and leads both the insulin safety work and the work of the Hazardous Medication Committee. She applies system-level thinking and reviews policies, procedures and guidelines, participates in unit-based tests and changes, and develops educational materials to ensure safe practices for both staff and patients and families. She mentors nurses and played a key role in the expansion of the nursing Clinical Advancement Program. As a clinical coach, she provides information, feedback and support for employees wanting to clinically advance. This influential leadership is far reaching, and because of that, she was named the 2021 recipient of the Susan R. Allen Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award. “As I celebrate and reflect on my 15-year nursing career at Cincinnati Children’s, I am truly honored to receive this recognition from my well-respected peers, as I know all too well that great things are never done by one person, they are done by a team of people,” Owens said. “I am so grateful to have this opportunity to learn and grow at Cincinnati Children’s, and I look forward to continuing to do so in the profession of nursing, representing all of my peers. “Ever since I was a little girl, at the bedside of my baby brother at Cincinnati Children’s, I knew this is where I wanted to work, and it feels so good to say that I know I’m right where I was meant to be.”

Extra Compassion for Families Helps Them Cope with Loss

Melissa Minges, BSN, RN III, CPLC, nurse coordinator in the Fetal Care Center, works with and supports families who are facing challenges with their unborn child. Her 10-year background as a labor and delivery nurse fueled her passion for family-centered care and equipped her well for her next step. “In my 20 years of nursing, I have witnessed many sad scenarios of intrauterine fetal demise (IUFD) and have seen how patients struggle with the loss of their child,” she said. “The grieving process is very difficult to watch, and it became a goal of mine to somehow improve the care I provided to these families. One way I saw that this could be possible was to obtain my certification in perinatal loss care in 2017.” With her new certification and knowledge about perinatal loss, Minges approached Cincinnati Children’s End of Life Committee. “I was able to see that the care we were providing to our Fetal Care patients experiencing an IUFD needed improvement,” she said. A multidisciplinary team was formed, including Nursing, Bereavement, Pastoral Care, Social Work, Child Life and Integrative Care and Maternal Fetal Medicine doctors, and after many meetings and much collaboration, the group devised a workflow algorithm that identified roles and responsibilities for the care team and chaplain to improve care for IUFD patients. The algorithm is easy for staff to follow and ensures each patient is receiving compassionate, multidisciplinary and comprehensive holistic care. Kim Burton, MSN, MBA, RNC-NIC, clinical director, Fetal Care Center, said that the algorithm is so thorough and thoughtful that one of the chaplains who indicated that a recent fetal demise was her first experience providing support since the algorithm was put into place noted that she “was blown away.” Minges is the 2021 recipient of the B. Robison-Sporck Outstanding Nursing Award, which is reserved for a nurse who exhibits strong clinical knowledge, a positive attitude and family-centered care day in and day out. “It is an awesome feeling to be that resource that my patients can turn to with questions or concerns,” she said. “It makes me feel good when I can help others during one of the most difficult times that they may face in their life. “I truly believe that our team at the Fetal Care Center is one of the best in the world and that we care for our pregnant moms and families in the most compassionate way. I am amazed every day with how committed the staff is to providing the best care possible to our patients.”

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