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Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - Inspira’s Michele Zucconi named National Nurse of the Year!

South Jersey Healthcare’s Administrative Director of Cardiac Care, Michele Zucconi, R.N., M.S.N., C.C.R.N., has been honored by Nursing Spectrum as a 2012 National Nurse of the Year award recipient. Donna Novak, R.N., director and nurse executive of Greater Philadelphia/Tri-State, recently presented the award to Zucconi at a reception with her colleagues at the SJH Regional Medical Center.

From left to right: Elizabeth A. Sheridan, SJH Chief Operating Officer of the Regional Medical Center and Corporate Chief Nursing Executive, Donna Novak, Director and Nurse Executive of Greater Philadelphia/Tri-State, Michele Zucconi, SJH Administrative Director of Cardiac Care, and Anne McCartney, SJH Vice President of Patient Care Services for the Regional Medical Center

For more than a decade, Nursing Spectrum has recognized the extraordinary contributions Philadelphia-area nurses make to their patients, each other and the profession. This year, nurses from the region came forward to nominate RNs who make a difference in the profession every single day.

“In the call for nominations we ask the nursing community to consider nominating nurses who exemplify all that nurses should be,” said Novak. “Nurses who we would want to care for us or our loved ones, who have advanced the profession, who have taught us how to nurse or mentored us throughout our own careers and who have gone beyond the call of duty to better the lives of the people in their community. Michele Zucconi is a nurse who surpasses all expectations!”

Each year, Nursing Spectrum selects regional nurses of the year in six categories. From this group, one national nurse of the year is selected in each category. Zucconi was selected as the award winner in the category of patient and staff management and was the only national award winner from the Philadelphia/Tri-State area. 

The category of patient and staff management recognizes RNs who have a proven record of making significant contributions to the management, supervision, or direction of the environment of care and the performance of staff, demonstrating an ability to lead, influence and improve outcomes of care in any inpatient or outpatient setting. Under Zucconi’s leadership, SJH’s Cardiac Intensive Care Unit has received several prestigious recognitions, including becoming only the twelfth unit in the country to earn the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses’ (AACN) Beacon designation for three consecutive years.

“In the twelve years I have worked with Michele there has not been a single challenge she has not met with clinical and professional excellence,” said Sami Abate, R.N., M.S.H.S., C.C.R.N., SJH manager of nursing quality and Magnet Program manager, who nominated Zucconi for the award. “Any endeavor that has the potential to positively impact her patients or her staff is not seen as a challenge by her…but as an opportunity she is ready to whole-heartedly embrace.” 

At SJH, Zucconi serves as the nursing representative on several interdisciplinary committees and task forces including, most recently, the therapeutic hypothermia initiative. She is the chair of the Severe Sepsis Committee and has led several research studies which have been published in academic journals. Zucconi has presented her work to nurses across the nation at the AACN’s National Teaching Institute and the National Magnet Conference.

Zucconi is the second SJH nurse in three years to be named National Nurse of the Year.

SJH is a nonprofit, integrated health care system, providing access to a continuum of health services. SJH provides hospital services, numerous community health clinics, home health services, and specialty services, which serve the medical and health care needs of southern New Jersey residents.