Pine-Richland grad earns accolades in nursing
Having a smile on your face every day when your job entails caring for sick children can't be easy — but nurse Christina (Knapp) Jockel always has one.
That's what Diane Hupp, the chief nursing officer at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, said of Jockel's positive attitude. It's just part of what makes Jockel such an outstanding nurse, and others agree. Jockel, who graduated from Pine-Richland High School in 2008, received two prestigious awards last month given only to those at the top of her profession.
Out of more than 1,500 nurses at Children's Hospital, Jockel, who works in the pediatric intensive care unit, received the LeMoyne Award for Excellence in Nursing. Nurses are nominated by their colleagues, and she was the only one to be nominated more than once. Jockel also received the Daisy Award, a national award given to one nurse a month to recognize those who go above and beyond in providing extraordinary care for their patients.
“It was very, very overwhelming, in a good way,” said Jockel, who is 26 and has only worked in the field for five years. “It all happened so close together, so it was a whirlwind of excitement.”
The LeMoyne Award, named for the hospital's founder, is essentially the nurse of the year award. It is based on leadership, work on committees and projects that advance the practice of nursing, the quality of care the nurse provides and the use of evidence-based practice or research in the nurse's work.
Hupp said Jockel excels in all categories:
• she's a member of the Continuous Renal Replacement Team, in which she provides special treatment to children in organ failure or severe kidney disease.
• She often travels with a team of surgeons and anesthesiologists to the University of Virginia hospital to train their staff to perform liver transplants on children and provide proper nursing care in their recovery.
• As a member of a hospital advisory council, she's organized events to help staff members' families better understand what their loved one does at work.
• She volunteers at Camp Inspire, an overnight camp at The Woodlands in Wexford for children and teens who are dependent on ventilators.
The Daisy Award, an acronym for diseases attacking the immune system, was started by a family whose son died to honor the nurses who cared for him. A colleague nominated Jockel after she took it upon herself to make a cap and gown out of isolation unit supplies for a patient who was too sick to attend high school graduation. She even arranged for the student's principal to deliver the diploma.
“She's not the most tenured nurse, but she's been there long enough to make a significant contribution and impact a lot of people,” Hupp said. “Her dedication and commitment is really just beyond what we expect at the hospital.”
Jockel's grandmother was a nurse, and she said that ever since she was a little girl she wanted to follow in her footsteps. She also always wanted to care for children.
“The truth is, it is hard, but thankfully in this day and age there are more good outcomes than bad outcomes,” she said. “The people I work with, we do our best to make these kids comfortable in the most uncomfortable situations. Someone has to be there for these kids and their families. It's very rewarding when a kid leaves the ICU and it's also humbling when, unfortunately, they don't get to leave. But you get to be part of their journey and help their parents and siblings and loved ones be as accepting of the situation as possible and as comfortable in the situation as possible. I've never been in that situation myself, but I do my best to help them feel OK.”
Karen Price is a Tribune-Review contributor.