Congratulations to Debbie Hawk, RN, ONC, CNOR, RNFA, clinical coordinator and lead nurse clinician for orthopedics, for being named Akron Children’s nominee for the 2019 American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) National Magnet Nurse of the Year award.
Debbie has worked as a registered nurse in the peri-operative area at Akron Children’s since 1977. Marilyn Frazier, clinical coordinator in the operating room and Debbie’s nominator, describes her as knowledgeable, skillful and proficient in multiple areas of the structural empowerment Magnet model element for her dedication to perioperative education, and her commitment to professional development and community involvement.
The Magnet awards recognize clinical nurses for their outstanding contributions in one of 5 of the Magnet model components:
- transformational leadership
- structural empowerment
- exemplary professional practice
- new knowledge, innovations and improvements
- empirical outcomes
“Debbie is committed to professional development,” said Marilyn. “She has presented on multiple occasions, sharing her knowledge related to orthopedics, and in particular, her passion and skillful abilities related to spinal surgery. She shares her knowledge and skills daily with nurses, surgical scrub technicians, residents and students. She is involved in research, collaborating with interdisciplinary teams throughout the enterprise. She has been involved from the start of the initiative to prevent surgical site infections (SSI), and serves on the hospital and state committee.”
Debbie cites her godmother as the person who inspired her to become a nurse.
“My godmother was a Navy nurse during the Korean War and always served as an inspiration, along with an older cousin who attended the same nursing school,” said Debbie. “I have 12 cousins on my dad’s side of the family, and 6 of us are in the medical field. We have 3 nurses, 2 physicians and a respiratory therapist.”
Nursing school is where she says her passion for orthopedic nursing began.
“The orthopedic floor at my home hospital was my favorite patient care unit,” she said. “I enjoyed taking care of patients with fractures and total joints – that was in the ‘old days’ when patients were treated with traction and hospitalized in ‘reverse isolation’ before their total joint procedure.
“I have been very blessed to work with some very wonderful and talented surgeons and nurses here at Children’s,” she added. “In the early days, Dr. Dennis Weiner and Bonnie Leighley, RN, helped me foster that love of orthopedics and encouraged me to get my first specialty nursing certification.”
In 1988, Debbie was one of the first 583 nurses to pass the Orthopedic Nursing Certification exam – out of the 900 nurses who took the exam in Phoenix that year. She has maintained that certification ever since, along with her CNOR (Certified Nurse Operating Room) certification for perioperative nursing.
Debbie has been actively involved in the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses (NAON) since 1983. She has served on the Orthopedic Nurses Certification Board (ONCB) in multiple roles including Test Committee and Item Writing for the ONC exam. She is the secretary for the local chapter of NAON, and is on the planning committee for education and community functions. On a national level, Debbie is the NAON Foundation webmaster and a trustee.
“Debbie has been an information technology expert in the operating room long before the electronic health record was instituted,” said Marilyn. “She exhibits nursing autonomy and authority as a positive role model in a myriad of activities. She communicates and collaborates with multi-disciplinary teams to build pathways and bundles to prevent SSI, and to provide the safest quality care for positive outcomes ensuring nurse, patient and family satisfaction.”
“I view this award as something that belongs to the entire operating room staff,” said Debbie. “Being an operating room nurse is never an easy job, and OR nurses are seldom recognized for the important role they perform under very stressful conditions. This award is a reflection of the wonderful team I work with including the nurses, techs, SPD staff, aids, secretaries, anesthesia staff and the surgeons.”