Milwaukee VA Nurse Recognized With National DAISY Award

Meghan Lorbiecki, an assistant nurse manager at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center’s acute mental health unit, received the HealthImpact’s DAISY Nurse Leader Award in Advancing Compassionate Care in Policy. This recognition was given on June 4 at the American Organization for Nursing Leadership National Advocacy Day Conference in Washington, D.C. Lorbiecki’s award was in acknowledgment of her leadership in revamping the Milwaukee VA’s alcohol withdrawal symptom management policy.

Lorbiecki began her role as the clinical nurse leader for acute mental health at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center in January 2020. Prior to her arrival, the nurses on the unit were questioning the testing and treatment policies based on the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment of Alcohol Scale Revised. Lorbiecki gathered a team to review and revise the policy, including a nurse scientist, pharmacy resident, psychiatrists, and mental health registered nurses. They collaborated with other VAs, local hospitals, and updated the policy based on current best practices and standards.

To educate and build confidence in the nurses involved in the treatment, Lorbiecki partnered with Tina Smith, the Milwaukee VA’s simulation center program manager, to create an interactive, simulation-based escape room to teach the treatment protocols. The escape room’s innovation and effectiveness led to it being submitted for the local HeRO award, and it was recognized as a national winner in the Clinical Team category in 2022. The escape room was also presented at multiple conferences and has since been adapted by the Veterans Health Administration’s Simulation Learning, Evaluation, Assessment and Research Network.

The revised policy was implemented without any adverse events documented at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center after it was in place. The mental health registered nurses bought into the policy changes since they were a part of the process early on. Lorbiecki is excited that the team’s work will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Addictions Nursing.

Lorbiecki emphasized the importance of networking and making connections to move projects forward and support future endeavors. Tandria Williams, the Milwaukee VA Medical Center’s associate director for patient care services, highlighted the extraordinary efforts of the Mental Health and Research Nursing Team in enhancing patient and staff safety and nursing practice through policy development in Lorbiecki’s nomination letter.

Lorbiecki expressed her gratitude for the opportunities for growth, advancement, and learning at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center, stating it is an exceptional place to work for those who are lifelong learners and want to make a difference in the lives of Veterans.

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