Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Health Care Hero: Tamika Gladney, Northwest

The Maryland Daily Record's Health Care Heroes awards ceremony honors special caregivers who exemplify extraordinary commitment to their profession. The breakfast to honor the 2011 finalists, which includes Northwest's Tamika Gladney, is on Wednesday, March 23.

Tamika Gladney, B.S.N., R.N., B.C., is an acute care clinical specialist and an energetic advocate for implementing evidence-based practices into the nursing care delivered at Northwest Hospital. Since May 2006, she has been instrumental in the hospital’s adoption and success of several evidence-based programs. Gladney has a forte for solving problems, and though they may not know it, patients have benefited because of her work to improve the safety conditions surrounding their hospital stays.

Those who know Gladney are quick to say that she possesses self-initiative and is passionate about improving the quality of patient care through applied research. She worked with Johns Hopkins Hospital to share best practices to prevent patient falls and developed a falls risk assessment protocol customized for Northwest Hospital. Thanks to her efforts, all LifeBridge Health hospitals now have implemented the STOP Falls Program, which has dramatically reduced the number of patient falls.

Through her work alongside endocrinologist Bruce Sindler, M.D., Gladney became aware of an issue affecting diabetic patients: while nurses were taking great care to make sure patients’ blood pressures were regulated, the same level of concern was not being applied to the blood sugar levels of diabetic patients. Tamika consulted American Diabetic Association research and assembled an interdisciplinary workgroup that performed a comprehensive literature review and lent their insights to determine the best practices for insulin management. She then helped instruct her fellow nurses about how to implement this protocol.

In 2009, Gladney spearheaded and became the chairwoman of a Practice Board that introduces and maintains evidence-based medicine practices throughout the hospital. She made sure that one of the board’s goals would be to give bedside nurses a greater opportunity to recognize and promote improved practices.

Gladney has been inspirational to her colleagues by being an excellent clinical resource and getting other nurses at Northwest similarly engaged about research and best practices. During the past five years, despite a challenging workload and becoming a mother, Tamika has earned her bachelor's degree in nursing and has nearly completed her Master’s degree in nursing, with an acute care emphasis. She teaches other registered nurses how to conduct literature reviews, and leads new groups on how to structure and execute evidence-based projects. Gladney's presence has made Northwest Hospital a catalyst for nursing innovations, ultimately improving the care and comfort of Northwest’s patients.

-Holly Hosler

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