Menorah Medical Center
May 17, 2012

Gina Shay-Zapien

Kathy Jackson, right, RN, director of The Family Birthing Center at Menorah Medical Center, nominated Gina Shay-Zapien, APRN, RNC, MSN, CNS-BC, perinatal clinical nurse specialist in The Family Birthing Center for HCA Midwest Healthcare�۪s 2012 Frist Humanitarian Award.

by Linda Friedel | Reprinted courtesy of KC Nursing News

Nurse Gina Shay-Zapien joins nominees across the nation for HCA Healthcare’s 2012 Frist Humanitarian Award. The award recognizes one employee, one volunteer and one physician at each of its 165 hospitals nationwide each year.

“It’s a great honor,” said Shay-Zapien APRN, RNC, MSN, CNS-BC and perinatal clinical nurse specialist in The Family Birthing Center at Menorah Medical Center. “I wouldn’t be able to do it without the staff here.”

Shay-Zapien was nominated by Kathy Jackson, RN and director of The Family Birthing Center. Jackson said staff members rallied behind the nomination.

“She is the champion,” Jackson said. “Her dedication to this is 24/7. She has sacrificed for this program sometimes to the detriment of her family. She goes above and beyond. She is dedicated to helping families who have experienced a perinatal loss.”

Shay-Zapien said she experienced the pain of perinatal loss 20 years ago with the loss of a niece. Remembering the loss motivates her to help others, she said. Labor and delivery is not always the joyful place nurses expect, she said.

“This is the place where things can go very wrong very quickly,” Shay-Zapien said. “We can have babies die.”

Shay-Zapien has worked at Menorah for 15 years. She was an educator and OB educator before becoming director of The Family Birthing Center, where she has been for the past two years. In her new role, Shay-Zapien expanded the department’s bereavement program to include mementos for grieving families such as a memory box with photos, stuffed animals, hand-knit blankets, hats and layettes, and follow-up care.

“It’s the only visual reminder they have of their baby,” Shay-Zapien said.

Staff members in the bereavement program send Submitted photo cards to parents, and Shay-Zapien stays in touch with parents, sometimes up to one year after the date of their loss. 

“Those moms that lose babies are just devastated,” . she said. “Losing an unborn baby or any baby is a tough death to deal with.”

Jackson said Shay-Zapien has impacted the quality of care in the specialty of perinatal care. She helped to improve fetal monitoring, expanded nursing education and improved the perinatal computer system, developing a new program in the process, Jackson said.

“She’s a national expert in the perinatal computer system,” Jackson said.

Shay-Zapien supported staff members as they transitioned into new computer technology, Jackson said, and offers ongoing competency programs ranging from neonatal resuscitation, congenital critical heart screening, operating room competency to breast-feeding.

“It’s not just bereavement,” Jackson said. “It’s all aspects of nursing care. She’s looked at as a leader.”

Shay-Zapien recently co-authored the third edition of “Templates for Protocols and Procedures for Maternal Services” in conjunction with the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), which is scheduled to publish this summer. She is a Certified Child Passenger Safety technician and active in her church and community. She works with the homeless, provides funeral dinners and volunteers with the Children’s Liturgy Program at St. Matthew’s Parish.

by Linda Friedel | <em>Reprinted courtesy of KC Nursing News</em>

“She has a commitment to holistic care to patients and the community.” Jackson said.

“I think the success of this unit is due to Gina. We’re a great team and I couldn’t do with out her.”

Shay-Zapien said a large part of her role at The Family Birthing Center is supporting nurses, making sure they are competent and confident in all of their skills. She said every nurse wants to provide excellent care to their patients.

“The nurse has so much on her plate,” Shay-Zapien said. “We’ve made it almost impossible to give the kind of care nurses want to give.”

The specialty is constantly evolving with new products, resources and technology, Shay-Zapien said. “I’m always being that nurse advocate,” she said. “It’s a high energy unit to work in.”

Steven D. Wilkinson, president and CEO of Menorah Medical Center, said Shay-Zapien demonstrates the spiritual aspects of nursing care, helping create space for patients to experience the joy of parenthood and others to express sadness with their reality.

“It is an honor to nominate Gina Shay-Zapien for the Frist Humanitarian Award,” he said. “She personifies what it stands for, and more than that, believes in the sanctity of the human spirit in health care.”

tags: leadership