The image of the nurse is synonymous with hospitals and doctors’ offices. But in 2015, that sure is one old school point of view. Today’s nurses defy old stereotypes. Both male and female, many earn multiple advanced degrees, working out of uniform and beyond the bedside to all areas of health care.
Meet Debi Page Ferrarello, MSN, MS, IBCLC, RLC, director of Family Education and Lactation at Pennsylvania Hospital, whose tireless efforts recently earned the 20-plus years maternal/child health care veteran the 25th annual Nightingale Award of Pennsylvania for Community Nursing.
Like the 19th century pioneering nurse and social reformer Florence Nightingale for which the award is named after, Ferrarello helps her patients way outside of hospital walls.
Ferrarello is responsible for program development, implementation and evaluation of the hospital’s Lactation Program and Childbirth Education. She oversees Solutions for Women, the PAH’s specialty boutique located in the community, which caters to new moms and cancer survivors. She creates and facilitates interdepartmental taskforces to tackle problems and directs and innovative lactation consultation internship program. A published researcher and author, she is also the team leader for the hospital’s Baby-Friendly journey to create an optimal environment for infant feeding and mother-baby bonding.
“Frankly, I was very surprised to learn that I was even considered for the position because, like all of us, I was just plugging along, doing my job and doing what I care about,” said Ferrarello. “In health care, we are honored to do work that matters…work that is meaningful and that has an impact on people’s lives for the long run. The fact that the award was for nursing care at the community level, means a lot to me because the community is where people live their lives. They come to the hospital for one just small slice of their lives. Making a difference in the community means that we make a difference in real life.”
Pamela Power, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, CENP, clinical director of Women’s Health at PAH, and the one who nominated Ferrarello for the award, wasn’t at all surprised that she received it.
“Debi is both a clinical expert in her area of practice, lactation, and an expert educator of her community,” said Power.