Radford D.N.P. alum Ellen Harvey named a 2021 Magnet Nurse of the Year
Ellen Harvey, D.N.P. ’12, was named the 2021 Magnet Nurse of the Year for Empirical Outcomes during the 2021 ANCC National Magnet Conference and the ANCC Pathway to Excellence Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, in November.
The awards are given annually by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to recognize the outstanding contributions of clinical nurses in each of the five magnet model components: transformational leadership; structural empowerment; exemplary professional practice; new knowledge, innovations and improvements; and empirical outcomes.
“Receiving the award is the highest honor of my nursing career,” Harvey said. “There simply is no greater honor than being recognized by your peer group, personally and professionally.”
Harvey, who is a clinical nurse specialist in the Department of Surgery at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, was nominated for her work on infection prevention for patients with external ventricular drains (EVDs) by Pamela Lindsey, Carilion Clinic director of magnet programs/magnet strategy and professional practice director.
“I am honored to lead an outstanding interprofessional team who established an evidence-based EVD bundle of care to eliminate EVD-related ventriculitis at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital,” Harvey said. “The result was an immediate and sustained drop in monthly EVD-related ventriculitis rates from 24.7 per 1,000 EVD device days to zero, and following the practice, changes have been sustained at zero for 17 months. The magnet recognition is truly a team award, and I share this recognition with my entire team.”
This nurse-led, infection-free culture of safety is projected to result in more than $700,000 in cost avoidance in the first year alone.
Harvey marks her 40th year as a nurse this year. She has worked in clinical settings across the country, including Colorado, California, Georgia, Arizona, and Virginia, with experience in acute, critical care, surgical, medical, cardiac, emergency department and rehabilitation settings, as well as adult and pediatric care in private and government sectors.
“It’s hard to believe it has been four decades,” she said. “It has been a rich, diverse and rewarding career.”
When Harvey decided to pursue her Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) degree, she researched several programs but decided the one at Radford University fit her goals most closely and was “top-notch” based on Radford’s history of excellence in education. She entered the Radford D.N.P. program with the inaugural class, earning her degree in 2012.
“As an advanced practice registered nurse, or APRN, pursuit of the clinical nursing doctorate was the right choice for me,” Harvey recalled. “The D.N.P. essentials prepare the advanced practice nurse at the doctoral level with the foundational science-based competencies needed for evidence-based practice within complex health systems. These skills are critical to optimizing clinical outcomes.”
Harvey said she specifically wanted a convenient, local online program that offered opportunities for in-person mentoring. Plus, as a Salem, Virginia, resident, Harvey said she had access to numerous resources at the Roanoke Higher Education Center.
“I learned a great deal in the Radford D.N.P. program, and attending was one of the best professional decisions I have made,” Harvey said. “I entered the doctoral nursing program after almost 30 years of nursing practice, and I received my D.N.P. degree at age 52.”
Harvey cited former D.N.P. program director Ginger Burggraf, D.N.P., and Associate Professor of Nursing Eunyoung Lee, D.N.P., as faculty members who helped her excel and complete her degree.
“Dr. Burggraff has the ability to bring out the best in others and exemplifies incorporation of visionary thinking and leadership into advanced practice registered nursing,” Harvey said. “Dr. Lee taught me the nuances of excellence in research and evidence-based practice.”
For the last 25 years, Harvey has been with Carilion Clinic in a variety of roles, including staff nurse, clinical administrator, nursing quality improvement specialist, nursing and paramedic faculty member and clinical nurse specialist. Her advice to aspiring nurses and practicing nurses is to always continue learning and evolving their careers.
“There are always new opportunities to learn and grow professionally,” Harvey said. “As with most endeavors, the more you put into your educational journey, the more you will achieve. I’m honored to be recognized with the magnet award, but my real reward comes from caring for my patients every day.”