A New York Times Tribute to Nurse Sylvie Jacobs

Sylvie Jacobs, BSN, RN, CPAN, a post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) nurse at The Mount Sinai Hospital, recently was honored with the prestigious New York Times Tribute to Nurses Award for her leadership and commitment to excellence in clinical care.

Ms. Jacobs, who has been a Mount Sinai nurse for 34 years, and has worked in the PACU since 1987, serves as a Magnet Champion, co-chair of the Perioperative Professional Practice Committee Council, and editor of The Mount Sinai Hospital Magnet Newsletter for nurses.

Recently, Ms. Jacobs participated in a Qualitative Research Project to help PACU nurses improve their skills in conflict resolution. She also was instrumental in developing an educational tool that helps novice nurses determine if patients are ready for discharge.

In nominating Ms. Jacobs for The New York Times Tribute to Nurses Award, Geralyn McDonough, MA, RN, Director of PACU Services, called her, “one of the most extraordinary clinical nurses I have ever met. Her sense of humor, kindness, and can-do nature motivate all the nurses who come in contact with her to do more. The other nurses look to her as a role model.”

On one occasion, Ms. McDonough recalled that Ms. Jacobs was the first to arrive at the bedside of a patient who was experiencing acute respiratory depression shortly after being transferred from the operating room. The patient was not Ms. Jacobs’s, but Ms. McDonough says she orchestrated what needed to be done, “kindly telling the other nurses what was required for the patient. She inserted a nasopharyngeal airway to stabilize the patient until anesthesia arrived. Providing this level of expert care in a calm manner demonstrates how a leader performs in times of crisis.”

Ms. Jacobs says she had no idea that she had been nominated for the award. “It is a huge honor,” she says. “I learned leadership skills through my nursing leaders at Mount Sinai.”

Carol Porter, DNP, RN, The Edgar M. Cullman, Sr. Chair of the Department of Nursing at The Mount Sinai Hospital, Chief Nursing Officer, and Senior Vice President for Nursing, along with Maria Vezina, EdD, RN, NEA-Bc, Senior Director of Nursing, were the first to notify Ms. Jacobs that she had received the award, surprising her with the news while she was on duty in the PACU.

“Nurses lead at all levels. Sylvie leads from the bedside, and she’s outstanding,” says Dr. Porter. “She pulls together a professionally written and relevant newsletter that communicates our high level of care throughout Mount Sinai’s nursing department.”

Says Dr. Vezina, “Instead of promoting herself, she promotes others.”

This article was first published in Inside Mount Sinai.

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