Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2016 Honorees

In a region known for world-class care, a career devoted to nursing in western Pennsylvania has never been more rewarding, challenging or packed with new opportunities. Meet Pittsburgh Magazine’s first-ever “Excellence in Nursing” honorees for 2016. Each may practice medicine in a different way, but they share one goal: to improve the quality of every life they touch.



(page 1 of 4)



 

Nursing is not what it used to be.

The days of white-uniformed women acting solely as maintainers of comfort are far in the past. Nurses of all genders fill crucial roles in guiding the direction of health care in our city, region and nation as they collaborate with medical-community peers and develop new solutions to address patient needs. They fill varied roles within and far from traditional hospital settings while continuously mastering the latest technologies. As they take on higher levels of responsibility and accountability than ever before, they may be required to accomplish more with fewer resources in evolving health care systems. And still, since 2002, nursing has been chosen as the most trusted profession in an annual Gallup poll that ranks honesty and ethics in various professions nationally.

With its first-ever “Excellence in Nursing” awards, Pittsburgh Magazine is honoring the often-unsung local heroes of the western Pennsylvania medical community. To showcase the remarkable talent and diverse skills of the city’s extensive nursing population, a panel of regional nursing leaders, educators and administrators evaluated and selected these individuals for recognition of extraordinary work within the field.
 


photos by laura petrilla

 

The panel’s task was not an easy one, thanks to the sheer volume of nurses working in the region. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pennsylvania’s number of registered nurses — 136,080 in 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available — is fifth-highest among U.S. states. Nurse-anesthetists, midwives and practitioners add nearly 7,000 more people to that total.

The greater Pittsburgh area — including Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties — is home to nearly one-quarter of the state’s nurses. That’s not surprising given the wide array of options available within the field. The region is home to 45 hospitals, including those operated by health care giants UPMC and Allegheny Health Network, as well as suburban hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and home health care operations.
 

 
 

Here, educators such as Carlow University’s Janice Nash are making sure new crops of students are prepared to face all of the challenges ahead in the field, while leaders such as Diane Hupp of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC work to recruit and retain the best possible talent. Anti-bullying expert Renee Thompson helps those working on the frontlines to navigate the pressures of high-stress environments. Advancing technology has led to new roles for nurses such as Sergey Blyakhor, who uses his background in information and technology to analyze data pertaining to patient care at Allegheny Health Network. Others, such as certified registered family nurse practitioner Darlene Ursiny, draw from their own history of battling health concerns to provide the most compassionate care possible. 

All do the job they love with the goal of improving the quality of every life they touch, and for that, much recognition is deserved.  
 

 

The Academic

Janice Nash

When she worked as a staff nurse, Janice Nash says she believed education was key to any patient’s positive outcome. She enjoyed teaching new nurses in her roles at the cardiology and medical surgical stepdown units at Allegheny General Hospital, then later at what was then Jefferson Regional Medical Center and Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC. Even more so, she loved providing patients with the necessary knowledge to continue their care at home and ensure their health needs were met in the most comprehensive manner possible. 

“I believe the most difference is made when people know how to care for themselves once they’re home and how to focus on prevention,” says Nash, 53, of South Park Township.

Nash’s dedication to guiding future front-line nurses enables her to excel as an associate professor of nursing and academic advisor at Carlow University.

“I strongly believe in the education we are able to provide for our students,” says Nash. “Students are getting the jobs they want, and those who want to stay in Pittsburgh are able to do so. We are blessed to be in a location with both UPMC and Allegheny Health Network where they are able to get clinical practice at wonderful facilities. They get experience in everything from transplants to trauma. There are people coming from all over the region to get care here.”

As a teacher, Nash helps her students “to see beyond their shifts.” She challenges them to consider the bigger picture surrounding their patients — to ask questions about their family members and their needs. She asks them to think about what each patient will need to know upon discharge and how any experience can be made better.

Knowing that nurses have more responsibility today than ever, particularly in regard to technology and accountability, Nash encourages her students to consider all factors affecting their field, including politics and public policy. Her students have gone on to enjoy successful careers at local hospitals as well as Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. 

“We love when they stay, but we love to see them recognized outside the area as well,” she says. 

Nash was involved in Carlow’s transition from a college to a university in 2004, and she helped to organize its schools into their current designations. The nursing program now falls under the College of Health and Wellness, a name chosen to appeal to a broader range of students and encourage growth in health care-related majors. Nash also chaired the committee dedicated to revamping Carlow’s nursing curriculum three years ago in an attempt to improve continuity and consistency.

Nash has done work with the university’s Prepare to Care summer program, in which high school students stay on campus, tour local hospitals and hear speakers while exploring their interest in health care careers.

She also is focused on trends in nursing to ensure students are educated to meet future needs. In anticipation of a projected shortage of operating-room nurses, Carlow offered an internship program in the summer in partnership with Magee, UPMC Presbyterian and UPMC Montefiore in which students could observe operating-room nursing firsthand. Students also accompany caregivers with Operation Safety Net, a program of the Pittsburgh Mercy Health System and Trinity Health that provides health care for the city’s homeless population.

Joan Reale, a retired Carlow professor and Nash’s mentor, describes Nash as driven by curiosity and unafraid to tackle any topic related to the field.

“Janice is a wonderful woman,” Reale says. “She is always professional with students. She is warm, kind and knowledgeable. She is a very caring person who always demonstrates empathy when students come to her with problems.”  
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

PM on KD: The Fall Weddings Issue

PM Associate Editor Lauren Davidson appears on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live to talk about the fall Weddings issue.

The Airbnb of Camping Has Started Pitching Tents in Pennsylvania

The startup Tentrr connects landowners looking for extra cash with interested campers.

Painting Made Simple: Paintzen Launches in Pittsburgh

Partnering with PPG Paints, the company uses an online platform to match customers with professional painters and provide supplies.

New TV Series Shot in Pittsburgh Area Premiering This Month

See if you recognize any of the locations in the thriller “One Dollar.”

Bocce, Pasta, Music and More Highlight Little Italy Days

Experience Italian culture and cuisine during Bloomfield’s annual Little Italy Days.

Vintage Details Give Weddings Classic Feel

Combining the old and the new, these couples used their vintage details to create a modern-yet-elegant wedding day.

Make Your Mark by Entering Pittsburgh’s Handmade Arcade

Artists have until Sunday to submit their applications to the independent craft fair held annually in December.

Heinz Red Ketchup Packets Set to Get a Green Makeover

The Kraft Heinz Co. has announced plans to recreate 100 percent of its packaging to make it more environmentally sustainable by 2025.

VisitPITTSBURGH Forecasts Full Fall Schedule

Culture in Pittsburgh this fall expands across the globe — and into space.

TopGolf is Big, Ridiculous, Still Fun

The new driving-range game is way over the top, but the game it's offering is fun and they'll ensure you have a good time.

Apteka’s Roasted Sunflower: Summer's Most Interesting (and Instagramable) Dish?

The owners of the Bloomfield vegan eatery introduce a limited run of whole sunflower heads that you can eat like corn.

Carnegie Art Museum to Sport a More Modern Look This Fall

The outside of the museum will be transformed by four contemporary artists in honor of the 57th Carnegie International.

The 400-Word Review: The Meg

The big, dumb shark flick will keep your attention, but don't think about it for more than a moment.

10 Real Pittsburgh Weddings

Picture-Perfect in every way, these real Pittsburgh wedding couples were chosen from nearly 100 submissions.

Steelers’ Saint Vincent Saga Even More Inspiring This Summer

Ryan Shazier's battle back from a paralyzing injury last season and his subsequent rehabilitation from spinal stabilization surgery is a more compelling saga than the Steelers’ quest to reach Super Bowl LIII.​
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


The Airbnb of Camping Has Started Pitching Tents in Pennsylvania

The Airbnb of Camping Has Started Pitching Tents in Pennsylvania

The startup Tentrr connects landowners looking for extra cash with interested campers.

Comments

New TV Series Shot in Pittsburgh Area Premiering This Month

New TV Series Shot in Pittsburgh Area Premiering This Month

See if you recognize any of the locations in the thriller “One Dollar.”

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Apteka’s Roasted Sunflower: Summer's Most Interesting (and Instagramable) Dish?

Apteka’s Roasted Sunflower: Summer's Most Interesting (and Instagramable) Dish?

The owners of the Bloomfield vegan eatery introduce a limited run of whole sunflower heads that you can eat like corn.

Comments

Pittsburgh's Steel City Salt Company's Special Seasoning

Pittsburgh's Steel City Salt Company's Special Seasoning

John and Candy Tarallo sell an array of speciality salts, offer advice on how to use them and are about to open a new location in Millvale.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
6 Best Places to Get Your Nostalgia Fix in Pittsburgh

6 Best Places to Get Your Nostalgia Fix in Pittsburgh

Ah, the good old days. They may be gone, but there are still a few places where you can get a blast from the past.

Comments

The Eight Best Frozen Treats in Pittsburgh

The Eight Best Frozen Treats in Pittsburgh

Our dining critic picks his favorite ice cream, ice pop, frozen custard, vegan delight and more.

Comments


TopGolf is Big, Ridiculous, Still Fun

TopGolf is Big, Ridiculous, Still Fun

The new driving-range game is way over the top, but the game it's offering is fun and they'll ensure you have a good time.

Comments

Five Essential August Events in Pittsburgh

Five Essential August Events in Pittsburgh

Imported improv, indie imbibing and other August attractions.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers’ Saint Vincent Saga Even More Inspiring This Summer

Steelers’ Saint Vincent Saga Even More Inspiring This Summer

Ryan Shazier's battle back from a paralyzing injury last season and his subsequent rehabilitation from spinal stabilization surgery is a more compelling saga than the Steelers’ quest to reach Super Bowl LIII.​

Comments

Suddenly, It's a Whole New Ballgame for Pirates

Suddenly, It's a Whole New Ballgame for Pirates

The non-waiver trade deadline came and went on Tuesday and when the dust had settled, the Pirates were a legitimate contender. They had bought, not sold players and they had positioned themselves to compete, not play out the string in 2018.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: The Meg

The 400-Word Review: The Meg

The big, dumb shark flick will keep your attention, but don't think about it for more than a moment.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: BlacKkKlansman

The 400-Word Review: BlacKkKlansman

Spike Lee's captivating new film is an unusual, but almost essential, work of cinema.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Vintage Details Give Weddings Classic Feel

Vintage Details Give Weddings Classic Feel

Combining the old and the new, these couples used their vintage details to create a modern-yet-elegant wedding day.

Comments

When Asking for Their Hand Doesn’t Go As Planned

When Asking for Their Hand Doesn’t Go As Planned

These proposal faux pas serve as a reminder that sometimes things have to go wrong to end up right.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Painting Made Simple: Paintzen Launches in Pittsburgh

Painting Made Simple: Paintzen Launches in Pittsburgh

Partnering with PPG Paints, the company uses an online platform to match customers with professional painters and provide supplies.

Comments

Make Your Mark by Entering Pittsburgh’s Handmade Arcade

Make Your Mark by Entering Pittsburgh’s Handmade Arcade

Artists have until Sunday to submit their applications to the independent craft fair held annually in December.

Comments