Melissa Raptoulis, RN
Hudson Valley Magazine's Excellence in Nursing Award - 2011
Technology is an essential partner to healthcare today, but not always a welcome change. Along with many large healthcare institutions, Westchester Medical Center has embarked on the journey to transition to an electronic medical record. As we begin this journey, we and many of our peers in healthcare face challenges and obstacles in implementing this new technology.
Obstacles to an electronic medical record include building programs, the interface and synchronizing of new and existing software systems, software systems completed concurrently with paper systems and not least of all the challenges presented by that of an older experienced nursing workforce.
The majority of our nursing staff did not learn to text before we were in middle school or Skype before we drove. Most began our careers with voluminous patient charts and paper orders. It is in this regard that Westchester Medical Center finds our organization most thankful for Melissa Raptoulis, RN.
Melissa is the team leader for a nursing team affectionately referred to as the CPOE nurses, short for computerized physician order entry. Melissa’s role spans facilitating the education and training of the bedside nurse to partnering with Nursing Department leadership to develop the programs utilized by staff. Education, training and program development is no easy task in an institution the size of Westchester Medical Center. It takes a gentle, patient individual to assist an entire department on this journey.
Over the last 2 years I have had numerous opportunities to observe Melissa in this role. Whether it is patiently working with the wound clinicians to develop a daily Braden screen and subsequent reports or laboriously developing logs for the Infection Prevention and Control nursing team, it is no easy assignment.
One particular success that exemplifies Melissa’s brilliance was Westchester Medical Center’s performance improvement committee to improve compliance with immunization screening. The Nursing Department struggled with how to screen all appropriate patients for influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations. Under Melissa’s guidance the committee was able to develop and implement an electronic screening that easily guided the nurse through the process. Compliance with the screening has significantly improved. As an administrator I applaud these results, but what I find truly amazing is that many of the staff nurses comment that “for once, technology actually made something easier”. I credit Melissa with this. Her appreciation and sensitivity to what the bedside nurse does every day allows her to work diligently to meet the needs of Westchester Medical Center nurses and facilitate quality patient outcomes.