Nurse at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford Receives National Award from Leading Publication

Nurse at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford Receives National Award from Leading Publication

<0> Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital StanfordRobert Dicks, 650-497-8364 </0>

Linda Ritter, RN, a longtime nurse in the at , has been honored by as a national winner of the 2014 Giving Excellence Meaning (GEM) Award in the category of Clinical Nursing, Inpatient.

“I am shocked, honored, and humbled,” said Ritter upon hearing of the prestigious award.

Each year, conducts a nationwide search for the best of the best in nursing, generating hundreds of nominations highlighting stories of excellence in leadership and management, education, volunteerism and all areas of clinical practice. Ritter, a nurse since 1982, received the GEM Award for her extraordinary leadership in improving palliative care education for the Bass Center.

“Linda truly embodies every aspect of providing excellence in patient care,” said co-worker Leslie Griffith, RN, who nominated Ritter. “We are so blessed she decided to become a nurse. The world is a little bit better because of the differences she has made.”

Ritter works as both a resource nurse and clinical nurse in the Bass Center, and her professional interest in was inspired by results from a survey she created that indicated a need for support and education among the center’s nurses.

To make it all happen, Ritter completed the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium program at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, first as an attendee and then as a trainer. That led Ritter to implement a yearly ELNEC training program at the hospital, now in its fourth year. The ELNEC program is a national education initiative that teaches palliative care to undergraduate and graduate nursing faculty; continuing education providers; staff development educators; specialty nurses in pediatrics, oncology, critical care and geriatrics; and other nurses. This essential information can then be taught to other nursing students and practicing nurses.

“Nurses advocate for their patients, who, in their opinion, have unmet needs and would benefit from some aspect of palliative care, and it is those moments that make our work worthwhile and engender our pride in the organization and the profession,” Ritter said.

In addition, Ritter’s leadership led to the formation of a palliative care committee for the pediatric unit and the pediatric stem cell unit, where she serves as a charge nurse. She and her colleagues created and developed a comfort cart, a holiday giving tree, staff mini-retreats and a palliative care manual for staff. They have applied many other comfort measures for patients, including door decals, music and quilts, to provide excellence in pediatric palliative and end-of-life care.

Because of the success at the Bass Center, other units in the hospital have expressed interest in implementing similar efforts. Ritter has helped raise the bar for providing excellence in pediatric patient care and has improved the delivery of palliative care throughout the hospital.

“Everyone at Stanford Children’s Health is proud that Linda has received this award, but we are not surprised,” said Susan Costello, PhD, vice president, patient care services and chief nursing executive. “She has long been known as a true leader and a wonderful voice for her patients. The honor is very well-deserved, and our entire organization congratulates her.”

Stanford Children’s Health, with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford at its core, is an internationally recognized leader in world-class, nurturing care and extraordinary outcomes in every pediatric and obstetric specialty from the routine to rare, for every child and pregnant woman. Together with our physicians, nurses, and staff, we deliver this innovative care and research through partnerships, collaborations, outreach, specialty clinics and primary care practices at more than 100 locations in the U.S. western region. As a non-profit, we are committed to supporting our community – from caring for uninsured or underinsured kids, homeless teens and pregnant moms, to helping re-establish school nurse positions in local schools. Learn more about our full range of preeminent programs and network of care at , and on our . Join us on , , , and .

is the heart of Stanford Children’s Health, and is one of the nation’s top hospitals for the care of children and expectant mothers. For a decade, we have received the highest specialty rankings of any Northern California children’s hospital, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2014-15 survey, and are the only hospital in Northern California to receive the national 2013 Leapfrog Group for quality and patient care safety. Discover more at .