Nurses Honor Four Physicians of the Year

Before an audience of colleagues, family, and friends, four physicians received the 26th Annual Physician of the Year Award for providing excellence in patient care and fostering strong collaborative relationships with nurses. The physicians, nominated and selected by nurses and Nursing leadership, were honored through testimonials, photographs, and videos, which served as a display of collegial gratitude, during a ceremony held at Hatch Auditorium on Thursday, June 27.

The 2013 recipients were:

Stelian Serban, MD, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, and Neurology, who received the Special Recognition Award;

Leona Kim-Schluger, MD, Associate Director of the Recanati/Miller Transplantation Institute and Sydney J. Zweig Professor of Medicine, who received the Attending Award;

Joanne Lai, MD, Fellow, Department of Pediatrics, who received the Fellow Award;

Wamda Ahmed, MD, Neurology Chief Resident, who received the House Officer Award.

“Every Physician of the Year nominee and winner is a partner in care, and has earned the respect and appreciation of the Mount Sinai community of nurses,” said Carol Porter, DNP, RN, Edgar M. Cullman, Sr. Chair of the Department of Nursing, Chief Nursing Officer/Senior Vice President and Associate Dean of Nursing Research and Education.

“This is a significant award that reinforces the fundamental idea that Nursing and physician collaboration helps us all to achieve the highest quality care for our patients,” said David L. Reich, MD, Interim President and Chief Operating Officer, The Mount Sinai Hospital, and Horace W. Goldsmith Professor and Chair, Department of Anesthesiology. Dr. Reich was a recipient of the Physician of the Year Award in 2011.

The Special Recognition Award was presented to Dr. Serban for “partnering with Nursing to optimize pain management for our patients,” said Dr. Porter. “Through his unwavering and tireless commitment as a physician and educator, we have exceeded national benchmarks for pain management.”

Dr. Serban said he was humbled by the award: “To help our patients have the best experience possible is a shared goal, one that could only be achieved with strong relationships between nurses and doctors.”

Dr. Kim-Schluger was saluted in a testimonial as an extraordinary team player “who meets with staff regularly, listens to their concerns, and integrates their contributions to the patient’s plan of care. She loves her patients and the people she works with, has bonded with Nursing, and she helps us provide excellent care.”

Upon receiving the award, Dr. Kim-Schluger noted: “I come from a family of nurses, and I learned from my mother, a former nurse, ‘that you always have to listen to the nurses.’ I am a better physician surrounded by, and working with, this exceptional team of nurses at Mount Sinai.”

Dr. Lai received the Fellow Award for outstanding contributions to pediatric gastroenterology care. During the ceremony, nurses recalled that she “is always calm, empathetic, and decisive, and will answer questions, teach, and mentor. She values what nurses say, and is appreciative of the experience and opinions of nurses.”

Said Dr. Lai: “I am blown away by the quality of the Mount Sinai Nursing staff. It is such a privilege to work with our nurses. I really am so honored.”

Dr. Ahmed, Neurology Chief Resident, was recognized by Nursing staff for her “extraordinary support and empathy for patients,” as well as being “an advocate for the most difficult patients. With Dr. Ahmed, patients and families always knew they were in the hands of those who cared. She is an exceptional patient advocate, mentor, and colleague.”

Dr. Ahmed, now a Neurology Critical Care Fellow at Emory University Hospital, was not present at the ceremony and asked Michelle Kaku, MD, Neurology Resident, to read a statement on her behalf. “I learned early on that I am in the company of compassionate and dedicated health care providers at Mount Sinai who set the bar very high for patient care,” said Dr. Ahmed.

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