Nursing trio honored with Nightingales for Nursing Excellence

April 13, 2022  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees

Three U-M Health nurses have been recognized with Nightingale Awards as this year’s top nurses in Michigan.

Jan Doolittle, M.S.N., R.N., CNML, Isabelle Miller, R.N., CPEN, and Michelle Whalen, D.N.P., R.N., NNP-BC, CNE, were each honored, as announced by the Oakland University’s School of Nursing and Board of Visitors. The trio will be formally honored during the Nightingale Awards event on Wednesday, May 11, on Oakland’s campus.

Doolittle and Miller are the 2022 winners in Executive Administration and Staff Nurse categories, respectively, while Whalen is a runner-up in Excellence in Advanced Practice Nursing. Nurses were nominated by their peers, supervisors and patients in recognition for their superior nursing expertise.

Congratulations to each of them!

Read below to learn more about their impact on their patients and teams:

Jan Doolittle: Winner, Executive Administration

Doolittle serves as an associate chief nursing officer for primary care and post-acute services with the U-M Medical Group (UMMG).

Doolittle has been instrumental in multiple areas of UMMG’s foundational improvements. Notably, she has helped lead UMMG’s rollout of the Centralized Nurse Triage (CNT) care model, which eliminates disparity in call management, advice, documentation and timely intervention for patients. The CNT model fields more than 2,000 calls per day, which led Doolittle to coordinate a multidisciplinary team to set a business plan that addressed efficiencies in resource usage, real-time access, reduction in patient wait times and streamlining appointments and emergency department referrals.

Doolittle also led numerous initiatives to meet the challenge of meeting patients in the community in terms of containment and treatment of COVID-19. Several solutions were rolled out including four additional testing sites, four vaccine sites and a COVID-19 hotline for quick access any time of day for symptom management and quarantine information from registered nurses. For the last 10 months of 2021, UMMG’s COVID-19 hotline fielded nearly 235,000 calls.

Isabelle Miller: Winner, Excellence in Staff Nurse Practice

Miller is a Level D staff nurse in the Children’s Emergency Services (CES) area of C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Miller was a leader in a sensitive public health topic that just 13% of colleagues were trained to recognize — human trafficking. Miller designed a project to share updated information about incidence, management and treatment of human trafficking victims in an emergency department. She identified that the average age group was 12-14 years old, and a literature search found that 68% of survivors were seen by a health care provider while trafficked, and 56% of those were in the emergency department.

Miller created a lecture series that prepared nurses to better identify victims in the ED based on clinical evaluation and physical assessment, while preparing colleagues to make resources available for victims. A new screening tool was introduced, and a workflow initiated for nurses to follow based on social situation or high-risk behaviors.

Miller also worked to provide access to extraordinary care to help pediatric burn patients receive evidenced-based care based upon updated information. This work educated fellow nurses and caregivers about pain management, diet and wound care, as well as signs that would warrant further physician consultation.

Michelle Whalen: Runner-up, Excellence in Advanced Practice Nursing

Whalen is a neonatal nurse practitioner with a commitment to peer and patient education.

As a proponent and educator of Parental Airway Education with Simulation (PAWS), Whalen has been vital to educating parents of children dependent upon long-term mechanical ventilation. This initiative assesses parent knowledge and skills related to safe, quality care in their home and tailors education to adult learning needs with hands-on practice. This education led to a 22% increase in self-reported confidence among parents caring for their child.

Additionally, Whalen developed a three-pronged approach to address burnout among the advance practice provider (APP) team in the High-Risk Neonatal Unit. Her initiative focused on efficiency of practice, personal resilience and culture of wellness. A survey of the APP team found that 78% utilized the web-based resiliency tools and 75% recognized a peer(s) with micro-recognition.

U-M Health is proud to support the Nightingale Awards for Nursing Excellence, conducted by Oakland University’s School of Nursing and its Board of Visitors. Several Michigan Medicine leaders will be in attendance with the system’s honorees for the May event.

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