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February 24, 2014 - USA Medical Center’s Salas Receives Excellence in Nursing Award

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University of South Alabama Medical Center’s Sheri Salas recently received the Excellence in Nursing Practice Award by the Zeta Gamma Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau.

Salas, who serves as clinical nurse leader for the post-surgical trauma unit, received the award for her work in developing an early warning system to promote timely intervention in patients with a declining health status, resulting in improved patient care. The award honors a nurse who, among other criteria, “advances the scope and practice of nursing.”

While she was a graduate student at USA’s College of Nursing in the clinical nurse leader (CNL) program, Salas developed a tool to evaluate a patient’s readiness to be transferred from the Surgical Trauma ICU to the post-surgical trauma floor. The process has dramatically reduced the amount of transfers back to the unit or “bounce backs.”

Her study was published as an exemplar in a recent CNL textbook and she presented her work at the National CNL Conference of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing last year. She received the Clinical Excellence Award from USA’s College of Nursing for the project and graduated in May with a Master of Science degree in Nursing.

A nurse at USA Medical Center for 17 years, Salas has served as the nurse educator for the post-surgical trauma unit, and the chair of the Evidence-Based Practice Committee. She is currently serving as chair of the Rapid Response Committee. She was instrumental in the Transforming Care at the Bedside (TCAB) research and innovations project on her unit. Salas was directly involved in the STAR-2 national research study, which identified interruptions that take nurses away from the bedside. She was also a unit mentor for the Frontline Innovations research study, a collaborative research project with the USA College of Nursing which focused on engagement of staff nurses in improving care at the bedside.

Sigma Theta Tau International is an international honor society for nursing. The local Zeta Gamma chapter covers the Alabama and Mississippi gulf coast.

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