Saint Peter’s Nursing Team Recognized for Service Excellence and Patient Safety

June 2, 2022

Saint Peter’s Nursing Team Recognized for Service Excellence and Patient Safety
Saint Peter’s Nursing Team Recognized for Service Excellence and Patient Safety
Each year, National Nurses Week is celebrated from May 6-12 in recognition of the dedication of nurses in the United States. Saint Peter’s Healthcare System hosts several events to celebrate our award-winning nursing team throughout the week, including an annual awards ceremony.

The 2022 Saint Peter’s Nursing Awards honored members of the nursing team and included the presentation of the Eleanor Irene Higgins Link Nursing Award.

The Eleanor Irene Higgins Link Nursing Award was established by a gift from the George Link Foundation and recognizes nursing units for their service excellence and patient safety initiatives. The award of $4,000 is given to inpatient nursing units to support professional development for the nursing team.

This year, a record breaking eight units qualified for the award, having achieved an Overall Nursing Section Score in the 75th percentile or higher and if not available, obtaining a standard mean score of 80 or higher during each quarter the previous year. The selection committee, which includes staff from Saint Peter’s Foundation, Human Resources, Nursing and Service Excellence, were inspired by the achievements of each of the applicants. Two applicants stood out in their own way, leading to the committee’s decision to bestow the honor on two nursing units for the first time – Mother Baby Units 3A/B and 4D/E, led by Nurse Manager, Ashley Zapolski, and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), led by Nurse Manager, Dolly Allen.

First time recipient of the Link Awards, Mother Baby Units 3A/B and 4D/E cares for two patient populations, obstetrics and newborns. The unit is dedicated to preparing both parents and newborns for success upon leaving Saint Peter’s, providing support through programs such as Breastfeeding Warriors. This program offers an introduction to new admissions focused on latch, education and support. Additionally, Mother Baby has three staff members who are Certified Lactation Counselors and is involved in the Mother Baby Breastfeeding Task Force at the Saint Peter’s Family Health Center to continue care. Mother

Baby also participates in SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) Awareness Month, has received a Certificate of Recognition for promoting safe sleep, is participating in a research study called Current Health, which involves the collection of vital data to better monitor cesarean patients and received Perinatal Care recertification through the Joint Commission.

A three-time recipient of the Link Award, the NICU cares for our smallest patients and prides itself on an inclusive approach to care known as Family-Centered Care. This approach shapes the overall care provided by the NICU team and includes initiatives that identify the needs of families, engages parents and fosters a personal connection between the team and families. Practices include nurses making FaceTime calls to parents twice daily to establish the “partner in care” model with parents, focus-group discussions in partnership with the NICU Parent Advisory Committee, a Saint Peter’s led NICU Family Facebook Group and keepsake milestone cards that celebrate a baby’s journey during hospitalization. Additionally, the NICU has been recognized for its exceptional care, dedication to patient safety and inclusive care model, including being ranked in the nation’s Best Children’s Hospitals for Neonatology by U.S. News and World Report for three consecutive years.  

The accomplishments of these units are just one of many examples of nursing excellence at Saint Peter’s.  In fact, Saint Peter’s nursing team has been recognized with the gold standard of nursing – Magnet® recognition – for six consecutive terms, becoming only one of five hospitals worldwide to do so. In addition, Saint Peter’s Adult Intensive Care, Cardiac Progressive Care, Neonatal Intensive Care and Pediatric Intensive Care units have earned the Beacon Award for Excellence. Support the continued education of Saint Peter’s Nursing team by visiting


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