BY AMANDA ANDERSON, RN, BSN, CCRN
A blog about the Mount Sinai Beth Israel Awards Campaign through the eyes of November Daisy winner, Jennifer Sarfo.
Last month, I had the privilege of interviewing Jennifer Sarfo, the MSBI November Daisy Award winner, about her recent victory. As she told me her nursing story, I was impressed at how strongly her nursing path was shaped and molded by the nurse leaders that came into her life during the varying points of her journey.
When she first began working at MSBI as a patient care associate (PCA) over five years ago while she was fulfilling requirements of a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, it was her first nurse manager at MSBI who pushed her to set her sights on enrolling in nursing school to eventually become a nurse practitioner. After some time at the bedside, and with this manager’s encouragement, she realized she wanted more input and control in her patient’s care, and enrolled in an accelerated BSN program; “I knew I could give better care to my patients if I understood why I was doing what I was doing, and had more education,” Jennifer said.
Jennifer, who never stopped smiling the entire time we talked, explained her reliance on nursing leadership: “I see my managers as mentors,” Jennifer told me, “Not just bosses over me,” explaining that she has always gone to them for advice and direction on how to improve her practice. But when she returned to MSBI after finishing her accelerated bachelor’s program, Jennifer couldn’t find a nursing job. She liked MSBI, and stuck around at the advice of a handful of nurse managers who were interested in hiring her as a bedside nurse.
And so, Jennifer waited, working as a PCA until she was hired by Roxanna Badiu, who was then serving as the interim manager of the 4 Linsky Neurological unit. When I asked her how she managed the wait, and about the lessons she learned while working as a PCA even though she had what it took to work as a nurse, she told me that she learned a lot about patience. “But I also learned more from nurses, because I knew what they were doing,” she said, likening the time to an advanced observation period. When she started as a nurse on 4 Linsky in 2012, she felt fully ready to excel at her new career, and she did. With encouragement from her new manager, Toana Gordon-Belnavis , and the support of the Awards and Recognition Team at MSBI, Jennifer was named the November 2015 Daisy winner.
Although Toana was the person who put the Daisy application into the hands of the daughter of Jennifer’s patient during her leadership rounds, it was this family member who wrote so eloquently about Jennifer’s kindness and care, saying, “…this whole experience has been very frightening for me, but thanks to Jennifer, who has treated my mother with so much love and care and comes over and gives me a hug whenever she sees the tears in my eyes and assures me she will be fine.” When I asked Jennifer how she felt about the words of tribute from those she had cared for, Jennifer shied at the praise; “I saw her stressed for her mother [the patient] every day, so I just cared for her, too.”
At MSBI, we’re beginning to redesign our awards and recognition campaign with increased staff input, and a team vision. Jennifer’s unique transition story –full of collaboration between management and the bedside – is especially relevant as we shape our process: “Why not have awards for everyone? We all want to feel like we’re part of the team; an award only makes me want to work harder!”
MSBI Daisy awards can currently be submitted via the MSBI Patient Care Services intranet website, and are due by the third Wednesday of every month.
Amanda Anderson, RN, BSN, CCRN is an ICU nurse who currently works in nursing administration at Mount Sinai Beth Israel.