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AdventHealth has appointed nine frontline nurses from different specialties and hospitals across Central Florida to form a Nursing Advisory Panel, a new effort putting bedside nurses in direct communication with leaders.
“We felt it was really important for our nurses to have a loud voice in the decisions we make as an organization that impact their practice,” said Cathy Stankiewicz, chief nursing officer for AdventHealth’s Orange, Osceola and Seminole county hospitals. “We are coming out of the pandemic and there has been a significant impact on the nursing workforce, so it’s imperative that we have this group, to ensure that the choices we make as leaders make the nursing profession better.”
A selection committee looked for nurses who are passionate about nursing and pushing for improvement and change. The panelists are:
- Ashley Norris, AdventHealth Orlando
- Enid Tirado, AdventHealth East Orlando
- Joe Bookwalter, AdventHealth Daytona Beach
- Maelizabeth Limas, AdventHealth Kissimmee
- Melinda Leach, AdventHealth Fish Memorial
- Michele Diformato, AdventHealth Palm Coast
- Sara Gale, AdventHealth Celebration
- Shantal Puerta, AdventHealth DeLand
- Taylor Burdsall, AdventHealth for Women and Children
The Nursing Advisory Panel will provide AdventHealth leaders with insight into the issues that are most important to nurses and help identify possible solutions, directly from some of the health system’s most passionate caregivers. The group meets monthly, often joined by Stankiewicz and Michele Goeb-Burkett, AdventHealth’s executive chief nursing officers.
In its first year, the panel has streamlined the process for license renewal, helped revise the health care system’s website for potential nursing job candidates, developed a division-wide process to escalate nursing feedback, and provided input to improve team member internal communications. The group is also working on innovative solutions to address burnout.
Amid a growing need for RNs, the creation of the Nursing Advisory Panel is one of several initiatives AdventHealth has implemented post-pandemic to better support and retain talented nurses. The health system has also invested $100 million in market pay and bonus initiatives, offers all team members tuition assistance, loan repayment programs and 24/7 access to mental health professionals, and provides mentorship programs and on-the-job training.
"I am continually inspired by the passion and dedication of our nursing team," Michele Goeb-Burkett, chief nursing officer for AdventHealth hospitals in Flagler, Volusia and north Lake counties. "Our Nursing Advisory Panel serves as a vital link between our nursing workforce and leadership team, empowering our nurses to actively shape our organization's future and ensure that decisions impacting them are grounded in their unique perspectives. It is this culture of collaboration and innovation that keeps AdventHealth at the forefront of clinical excellence.”
In taking on the responsibility to represent her nurse colleagues, Sara Gale, co-chair of the panel, said she looks to Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. Florence became an icon caring for wounded soldiers during the Crimean War and is credited with improving hygiene practices in the medical field.
“Florence Nightingale was not somebody who was soft-spoken,” Gale said. “She was boisterous and she was very interested in the medical world and how it could be improved from a nursing perspective. And she was not shy about speaking her opinion.”
To her fellow nurses, Gale said, “Come to me and tell me what’s important to you and what you’d like me to bring to the table. This panel is our chance to be heard.”
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