Cleveland, OH,
13:51 PM

MetroHealth celebrates its 2019 Nursing Excellence Award winners

The MetroHealth System has over 2,000 nurses. During this year's Nursing Excellence Awards Ceremony, several were celebrated for their outstanding contributions in helping patients and colleagues.

Over 200 nominations were submitted for categories that honored career excellence, collaborative nursing leadership, and more. Melissa Kline, DNP, RN, Senior Vice President, Patient Care Service and Chief Nursing Officer, and Theresa Hannu, MSN, RN, Associate Chief Nursing Officer, Inpatient Nursing, congratulated the winners as nominators read excerpts from their nominations.

Outstanding Achievement in Career Excellence

Karen Sopko, ADN, RN Clinical Nurse - Inpatient Pediatrics

 "Karen (pictured holding certificate) has taken care of many children facing acute life-threatening illness or injury, as well as those with chronic debilitating disease. It is a joy to observe her interacting with her patients and or families. Unfortunately, we do encounter children whose injuries are fatal. Some families are faced with making the decision of whether they should give the gift of life to others by permitting their child to be an organ, eye and/or tissue donor while enduring their own sorrow. In the recent past Karen has had an opportunity to work with a couple of families in this very situation and the care that she gave was second to none."



Outstanding Achievement in Interprofessional Collaborative Care

MOHS Surgical Team

"This team represents multidisciplinary collaborative teamwork at the highest level. Their mission is to provide the highest skin cancer care to the patients and community of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, creating a foundation of trust, agreed upon principles or expectations, and shared goals. The strength of the collaborative team comes from differing skillsets aligned to serve one goal – the highest patient care. Thanks to collaboration and communication, this team has been able to improve access, decreasing surgical wait times by 58.3% since they started working together."


Outstanding Achievement in Nursing Education & Professional Practice

Lisa Vibbert, BSN, RN Clinical Nurse – Cancer Care

 "Lisa (pictured holding certificate) does so many things that are beyond her obligations. The biggest example of this is when she created the Preparing For Surgery Handbook that is passed out to patients prior to their surgeries. Prior to this handbook, we used to have to go over surgery teaching with the patients and would give copies of instructions that were photocopied. We would have to write in by hand all the important additional information for the patients to know. This was often time consuming for the nurse and for the patient. These handbooks have improved our patient education and the experience of educating the patient. This has saved us time, and it is easy for patients to follow along."



Outstanding Achievement in Nursing Leadership

Kelley Gallagher, MSN, RN Nurse Manager - Labor & Delivery

 "When I was doing my first clinical rotation, Kelley (pictured wearing white coat) was the nurse who was caring for the patient I was assigned to. I will never forget this patient, as it was my first experience in this specialty and I was fascinated by the entire process. The patient was very scared, and Kelley remained confident, calm, professional and above all so supportive during this difficult time. I knew after watching her that I wanted to be her when I 'grew up.' In addition, Kelley took it upon herself to contact the National Certification Corporation. She knew how much MetroHealth valued the professional growth of its nurses and wanted to help our staff be better for their patients … and knew it would provide an amazing opportunity to so many nurses, as well as improve patient outcomes. This past December, we had 42 employees sit for the exam. We were notified within the week that 34 people passed the exam!"

Outstanding Achievement in Nursing Quality

Kathleen Glaser, BSN, RN Staff Nurse Educator - Perioperative Services

 "Kathy (pictured holding flowers) is the nursing educator for the OR. She works tirelessly to assist staff in multiple departments to understand Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) standards and consistency in practices. She has developed and assisted with educational opportunities for Labor and Delivery and the Cath Lab. She has been instrumental in the development and continued success for the decrease in surgical site infections and Foley reduction in the perioperative area. She educates medical students and residents on the importance of Sharps safety, and has assisted in the development of online educational programs to move the metric on improving needle sticks for the institution."


Outstanding Achievement in Nursing Research & Innovation

Wendy Sarver, PhD, RN Senior Nurse Researcher & Interim Director of Nursing Research

 "Entering the system as a Nursing Research Coordinator, Wendy (pictured holding certificate) has worked tirelessly to mentor staff nurses through all aspects of nursing research studies, from study design and proposal through manuscript writing and dissemination. In 2015, she assumed the role of Senior Nurse Researcher, and on May 6, she defended her dissertation to obtain her PhD in Nursing from Kent State University. Wendy has contributed immensely to the success of nursing research within the organization, including acting as the primary investigator or co-investigator on a multitude of nurse-led research studies, and supporting structures and processes within the department to ensure the ongoing success of the program. This has resulted in nursing research practice exemplars identified by ANCC's Magnet Recognition Program upon each of the organization's 3 designations."

Outstanding Friend of Nursing

Charles Hopko Assistant Director - Clinical Engineering

 "Charlie embodies the definition of Outstanding Friend of Nursing through his exemplary teamwork and collaboration with us. When I first met Charlie three years ago, he worked in Information Services. He helped install and open the new Brecksville Health and Surgery Center. During that project, we experienced many challenges that required him to be creative and jump in and complete tasks that were not directly related to IS, but were related to a timely opening of the facility. Charlie has transitioned to his current job as the Assistant Director of Clinical Engineering. We can call him anytime of the day with a question or a critical need for an equipment repair and his answer is always "Yes," or "I will look into it and get right back to you with an answer." His follow through is exemplary."


About the MetroHealth System

Founded in 1837, MetroHealth is leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Cuyahoga County’s public, safety-net hospital system, MetroHealth meets people where they are, providing care through five hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers. Each day, our nearly 9,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable healthcare — through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services — that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit