Excellence in Nursing: Meet Our 2018 Honorees
Pittsburgh Magazine highlights the unsung heroes of the health care field: our Excellence in Nursing honorees, chosen by our panel of distinguished judges in the field.
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Chief Nursing Officer
West Penn Hospital, Allegheny Health Network
Jacqueline Collavo was with West Penn Hospital when the facility became the first in Pittsburgh to earn Magnet designation, the most prestigious distinction a healthcare organization can receive for nursing excellence. She also was there a few years later when the hospital faced closure before Highmark acquired the West Penn Allegheny Health Network and created the Allegheny Health Network.
Several more years and two additional Magnet designations later, which she was instrumental in helping the hospital obtain, Collavo, of the South Side, remains at the place where she began her career as a summer aide in 1979. West Penn’s chief nursing officer says the culture is what’s kept her there through the ups and downs. “We have a culture of transparency, honesty, collaboration, teamwork and trust,” says Collavo.
Collavo, whose mother Dorothy “Penny” Collavo also was a longtime West Penn nurse, was working as magnet program director on the neonatal intensive care unit in 2006 when the hospital pursued and was awarded its first Magnet designation, awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Her interest in quality care, safety and patient satisfaction led her to become the hospital’s Magnet director.
When Highmark bought West Penn, as nursing director, Collavo was instrumental in “bringing the hospital back to life.” It gained its second Magnet designation, and Collavo went on to become chief nursing officer in 2016. A third Magnet designation came in 2017.
In her leadership role, Collavo is passionate about staff engagement. She attends orientations, helps with patient care and makes sure the nurses know who she is. “I tell nurses all the time: seize the opportunities and learn and grow,” says Collavo, who’s also earning her doctorate degree. “There’s so much you can do with nursing.”