The first three recipients of the Nancy Falchuk Nursing Scholarship Award——Mina Rowe, Dafna Lavian, and Maayan Bocvalter——are using their awards to make a difference, each through her unique brand of innovative nursing. Established in tribute to Hadassah International’s Immediate Past President, with donations from units around the world, the award recognizes the contribution of top nurses at the Hadassah Medical Organization.

Mina Rowe, RN:

“Knowing the difficult process that organ transplant recipients and their families face,” notes Mina Rowe, “I always get excited when I see them come back ‘healthy’. That is when I know that everything I do is worth it.”

A 1975 graduate of Hadassah’s School of Nursing, Mina is head nurse of the Liver Clinic as well as the Liver Transplant Coordinator. It is her responsibility to prepare patients for liver transplant surgery.

Since Israel faces a severe shortage of organs for transplantation, in the last couple of years it has become a necessity for the Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) to send many of its patients in need of a liver transplant to other countries. It is very stressful for both patient and family to deal not only with the surgery but also with foreign languages and customs while waiting for an organ and during recovery from surgery. Mina co-developed a program to ease their way, together with the Liver Unit social worker. This program prepares the patients and their families both socially and psychologically for potentially long stays (typically three to six months) in a foreign country.

In recent years, Hadassah has sent most of its liver transplant patients to Colombia for the surgery, where there are many organs available. Mina educates the patient and family as to what to expect while in Columbia. In Columbia there are groups who meet the patients and their family when they arrive, take them to a hotel, and help them navigate the necessary clinical tests. Mina will have the opportunity to present her program at the 12th congress of the European Society for Organ Transplantation meeting in Geneva. The Nancy Falchuk Nursing Scholarship will make this financially possible.

Dafna Lavian, RN:

“Dafna is special; her soul is gentle and soft, and she gives her energy to support the family and the patients,” comments Zila Ben Zaken, Head Nurse in HMO’s Internal Intensive Care Unit. She adds: “Dafna always thinks of ways to improve the care given to our patients; alleviating their pain is a primary concern for her.”

Dafna has worked in the Internal Intensive Care unit at HMO for 11 years. As a nurse in daily contact with patients, she has become very aware of the issue of unnecessary pain her patients experience. The problem, she says, is that the doctors, who see the patients once a day, often do not have the same level of awareness about patient pain as nurses do. As a result, she decided to adapt and test a protocol to measure the level of pain her patients were experiencing, especially those who were not able to communicate because they were sedated or ventilated. Her goal was to make doctors and other medical staff aware of the problem. To that end, Dafna has been giving lectures at medical conferences, both at HMO and other Israeli medical institutions, on the need for more consistent pain relief.

Dafna plans to use her grant to help defray the cost of attending a conference of the International Society for the Study of Pain in Sydney, Australia.

Maayan Bocvalter, RN:

“I am so concerned about children’s safety,” says Maayan Bocvalter, “that I wrote an instructional program for the parents of the patients who pass through my Pediatric Department at HMO, Mount Scopus.”

Maayan has worked as a nurse in the Pediatric Department for the past three years. An innovator, she is concerned with improving the quality of care and nursing services. Through her efforts, children’s safety has become a central priority for the department. First, Maayan surveyed both parents and medical staff to determine their knowledge about domestic and hospital accidents. Then she created an instructional program based on the results. In addition, classes on children’s safety are now given twice a week in the Pediatrics Department in Hebrew, with translation into Arabic. Maayan also provides safety tips through a newsletter she writes. It, too, is translated into Arabic.

Maayan’s children’s safety project won first prize in a 2003 “quality day” competition at Hadassah Mount Scopus. She is now studying toward a bachelor’s degree and will use her grant to help pay the tuition.

— Patricia Levinson, Hadassah International Communications Team