EndoNurse MVP 2014: Meet Your Winners

On a daily basis, endoscopy team members meet new challenges and deliver cutting-edge care tailored to meet individual patient needs. Safety is at the forefront of these efforts and it takes unparalleled teamwork to get the job done. EndoNurse has the honor of recognizing some of the many dedicated professionals associated with endoscopy suites across the United States, Canada?and across the world?with our Most Valuable Professional (MVP) special supplement.

The Winner is: Lilishor Hijaz

Hospitals in the Middle East and Africa are being touched by nurses who know their way around an endoscopy suite. Nominator Debbie den Boer, RN, BSN, CGRN, has seen such evidence in Lilishor Hijaz. Den Boer, from the University of California San Diego Medical Center's endoscopy unit, said that Hijaz does a great job leading presentations and group activities at international meetings.

Hijaz, an RN in Romania and Jordan, is the only motility nurse in Jordan. According to den Boer, Hijaz helps perform motility procedures in Amman Hospital, in Amman, Jordan, where she is the head nurse of the hospital's endoscopy unit.

"Lilishor formed a committee to research the cleaning and disinfection processes that were used in all the hospitals and endoscopy centers in Amman," den Boer said. "She visited all the hospitals and spoke to the nurses about the need for GI-specific education."

Hijaz is also an invaluable resource for physicians, according to den Boer.

At the UEGW Congress annual meetings, Hijaz helps with the practice workplace by assisting physicians with different GI equipment modalities. "Her role is very important because of her language skills. She can address physicians in Romanian, Arabic as well as English," DenBoer said.

The Runner up: Gregory Sutton

Gregory Sutton, an endoscopy technician at INOVA Fairfax Hospital, in Virginia, and has 24 years experience as a technician. Sutton's colleague of more than two years, Sonja Hopper, RN, is very impressed with Sutton and that's why she nominated him for MVP.

"He not only is very compassionate in his work ethics for each individual patient but he has helped myself and all of our team become more acutely aware of our positions in providing the utmost skilled patient care to all," Hopper said.

"Gregory always presents himself to each patient we encounter in a professional manner extending himself to any patient needs," she added. "As a technician, he provides new employees and physicians alike, with the education and instructions needed to perform each procedure with individuality concerns, explaining to nurses and technicians, the probability of reasoning behind the procedure and the probable outcome."

Physicians regard Sutton as a "second set of eyes" on the screen and take his recommendations on specific scope use or maneuvering techniques. Sutton is often requested by individual physicians for their patient case-load, Hopper said.

"Gregory never speaks a negative word of anyone and always greets colleagues and patients with a lifted spirit and smile," she added.

"During preceptoring, Gregory uses a soft gentle voice, never raising his tone. ... Gregory continues to maintain professional certification without regard to compensation for such. He is the exemplary colleague of any endo technician I have ever encountered and hands down, the person I would want as my technician during a procedure. That is why I am very proud to nominate him for the MVP award!"

Third Place: Lisa Chasmar

Lisa Chasmar, ADN, is not only her unit's endoscopy charge nurse, but also its patient and new employee advocate, according to nominator Aimee Wentz, BSN, procedural surgical service's unit based educator at Hardin Memorial Hospital, in Elizabethtown, Ky. "Lisa advocates for our new employees during and after orientation to be sure they gain the skills they need to succeed," Wentz said. "And she is, above all, a fabulous patient advocate. She has a unbiased attitude and treats everyone fairly. When Lisa is around, the patients will receive the best care possible."

Chasmar has 15 years of endoscopy-unit experience. Wentz said Chasmar's influence doesn't stop at advocacy; she is also the unit's "go-to" for any questions. "She has an awesome working relationship with our surgeons and physicians," Wentz said. "They know they can come to her with any needs they have."

Fourth Place: Jody Scheresky

The opinion of nominator Shannon Moulton, RN, Marietta's clinical director for GI Specialists of Georgia, is that people will follow leaders who are sensible and right.

"Jody Scheresky is exactly that," Moulton said. "To the physicians, she is stability, sensibility and levity in all situations. For management, Jody offers experience, leadership and loyalty. For patients, she is an educator with a touch of mothering."

Moulton said that Scheresky, an RN and clinical coordinator for Lithia Springs' GI Specialists of Georgia, has leadership skills not limited to those groups.

"Jody is able to command a team which brings compassion to their patients, but also each other," Moulton said. "She is a mentor to the younger generation of nurses coming up through the ranks."

According to Moulton, Scheresky also possesses a sense of empathy and reality.

"She understands the business side and always helps to find balance within that structure for best practice and efficiency," Moulton said.

Fifth Place: Juanita Aitken-English

Where navigational bronchoscopy, endobronchial ultrasound and bronchothermoplasty are happening, there's got to be an endo suite team member (or more) who really knows his or her stuff.

Juanita Aitken-English, RN, ADN, CGRN, is the Ellis Medicine, Schenectady, N.Y., nurse "Super User" for those procedures.

According to nominator and Ellis staff nurse Winnefred Akangbou, RN, BS, CGRN, Aitken-English's "super" status also spills into mentoring and to community service.

"She is a resource to new nurses, students and also to the experienced nurse," Akangbou said. "She is the go-to person for all the procedures and is always ready to give a helping hand to anyone. She finds time to be involved in the community activities such as Blue Star Mothers of America, Marine Corp League and Ladies Auxiliary of the Guilderland Fire Department."

The energy continues in a quest for even more credentials. Akangbou said Aitken-English, who has over 30 years nursing experience, two decades devoted to GI, is now considering getting her BSN.

"Juanita is well respected by doctors, colleagues and technicians in the department for her standard of care," Akangbou said.