Children's Hospital Colorado

Two Children’s Hospital Colorado Nurses Win 2021 Nightingale Luminary Awards

Children's Hospital Colorado | October 25, 2021

The 2021 Nightingale Luminary Awards, Colorado's highest nursing honor, recognized nurses from across the state for their work in advocacy, innovation and leadership. Of the 12 Colorado Luminaries selected, two are Children's Colorado nurses: Dr. Jennifer Coffman and Dr. Cathy Kleiner. An additional seven Children's Colorado nurses were celebrated as regional finalists for this statewide award.

Leadership and Innovation Earn Recognition

Catherine Kleiner, PhD, MSN, the director of research, innovation and professional practice, was recognized for the depth and breadth of her long-standing leadership in the nursing profession, which includes serving as the principal investigator on a $1.4 million Health Resources and Services Administration grant leading to several practice changes in preparing patients for discharge and providing resources to nurses on day and night shifts.

Jennifer Coffman, JD, MSN, the clinical practice specialist for the Neuroscience Institute, was recognized for the development of a new clinical pathway to ensure consistent, evidence-based treatment for patients diagnosed with infantile spasms. Clinicians at Children's Hospital Colorado and across the country now rely on this pathway.

Transformational vision improves nursing practice

Dr. Kleiner, who has been with Children's Colorado for just 3 years, has initiated strategic projects and tactics to elevate nursing science and advance practices across the hospital. Kleiner's leadership has been pivotal during some of the most complex years in the hospital's history, with the conversion to a cloud-based policy/procedure tracking solution, followed by the successful launch of a nursing dashboard and project approval and tracking database. During this time, Children's Colorado also achieved its 4th Magnet® designation. Dr. Kleiner was also integral in securing research funding for a COVID-19 nursing study. With her unyielding support, a COVID-19 nursing literature repository was developed with approximately 2,000 publicly available articles. In addition to leading these efforts, Kleiner has earned leadership positions on several board and councils where she advocates for nursing practices. Inspired by Kleiner's leadership, nurses are seeking professional development opportunities and are participating in professional practice activities across the system. Her colleagues call Dr. Kleiner's leadership vision and strategic actions transformational.

Creating a pathway to better care and outcomes

While leading an interprofessional team, Dr. Jennifer Coffman found there was little-to-no supporting literature regarding diagnostic pathways or pharmacologic dosing and monitoring for patients with infantile spasm. She surveyed experts in fields like cardiology, endocrinology, nephrology and infectious diseases from across the U.S. to understand their diagnostic, treatment and monitoring practices only to learn that there was a wide variation in care approaches. Combining her experience with that of the experts she surveyed, Coffman developed a clinical pathway that has led to a decrease in the average inpatient length of stay for newly diagnosed patients with infantile spasms, a reduction in the length of time between presentation of symptoms and the start of therapies, and improved standardization in pharmacologic interventions. But most importantly, the new pathway has resulted in improved developmental outcomes for these patients. In addition to this work, Coffman has spearheaded an initiative to standardize the nursing neurologic assessment using a new tool – SNAP (Serial Neurological Assessment in Pediatrics). Children's Colorado was the first to implement this innovation tool across its Neuro unit and allows nurses to more easily identify and track changes over time.

Colorado Nurses Foundation Nightingale Luminary Award winners and finalists from Children's Colorado:

Nightingale Luminaries

  • Catherine Kleiner, PhD, RN, Director, Nursing Research, Innovation & Professional Practice
  • Jennifer Coffman, JD, DNP, APRN, CPNP-AC, CNRN, Clinical Practice Specialist, Neuroscience Institute

Nightingale Luminary Award Finalists

  • Catie Baessler, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse IV, NICU
  • Chelsea Hunter, BSN, RNC-NIC, Clinical Nurse IV, NICU
  • Mary Adamson, RN, BC, MS, CNS, Clinical Nurse IV, Inpatient Psychiatric Services
  • Nicki Shonka, MS, RN, NPD-BC, CPN, Professional Development Specialist, Professional Development
  • Cayla Callahan, BSN, RN, CCRN, Clinical Nurse IV, PICU
  • Pam Brunner Nii, BSN, RN, NCSN, AE-C, Nurse Consultant, School Health Program
  • Denise Abdoo, PhD, CPNP, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program Coordinator