Clinical Team Lead Receives Friends of Nursing Award

November 5, 2014
By: Karen E. Butler, Director of Communications, DCI

Deborah Russell, RN, OCN, poses with Elizabeth ‘Liz” Sito, BSN, RN, OCN, who she nominated for a 2014 Friends of Nursing award. The pair care for patients on DN 9200, Adult Blood & Marrow Transplant Program.Since 1998 Friends of Nursing has championed the careers and professional development of more than 1,000 Duke University Health System nurses. Each year Friends of Nursing hosts an annual gala in which “extraordinary” nurses from throughout the health system are recognized and awarded educational scholarships.

On Saturday, Nov. 1, Elizabeth ‘Liz” Sito, BSN, RN, OCN, clinical team lead, Adult Blood and Marrow Transplant Unit 9200, Duke University Hospital, received the 2014 Evelyn Morgan Award for Excellence in Oncology Nursing Practice.

“As an innovator Liz has had to think outside the box to provide the Clinical Nurse I (CN I) group with a way to excel in their development as professional nurses,” said Deborah Russell, RN, OCN, DN 9200/Adult Blood & Marrow Transplant Program. “Liz recognized that new graduates come to this unit with minimal oncology and minimal basic nursing skills. Because this unit had so many new graduate staff at one time, Liz organized a CN I Basic Skills Day.“

Nurse Liz Sito, 2014 Friends of Nursing award winner, assists Kathryn Wallace, a patient on DN 9200.As a result of establishing the quarterly sessions for new oncology nurses, Sito was invited to present her concept at the 2014 American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplant (ASBMT) Tandem Conference in Grapevine, Texas. She presented a poster, “The Importance of Skill Simulation and Its Role in the Clinical Performance of the New Graduate BMT Nurse.” Sito also facilitated a round table discussion at the conference, which is attended by nursing, physicians and pharmacists.

“Liz is the first one staff members turn to for assistance, guidance in understanding of our patient population,” Russell said. “She works hard in making sure staff has a true grasp of the knowledge needed to care for our patients. It is not uncommon to find Liz taking a new nurse under her wing, finding opportunities for him or her to observe seasoned nurses applying oncology-specific nursing techniques and procedures.”

A resident of Raleigh, Sito received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She first joined the Duke oncology eight years ago as a travel nurse.

"Liz has created an exceptional program to support the transition of our new nurses into practice," said Tracy Gosselin, PhD, RN, AOCN, associate chief nursing officer for Ambulatory Care and assistant vice president of the Duke Cancer Institute. "We are fortunate to have someone of her caliber on our DCI Nursing Leadership Team."

Sito has been on staff full-time for the past six years. She received her Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN) certification in 2011. Sito is a member of the Oncology Nursing Society and the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplant (ASBMT).

“Winning the Friends of Nursing award has been a very humbling experience,” said Sito. “I am very appreciated and valued by my colleagues and their nominations. It makes me feel good about the work that I do. I never underestimate the value and reward of patient care, but I have to say that working with the new graduate RNs in our department is fabulous. They re-energize and rejuvenate me with their enthusiasm about what we do here on 9200.”

The 2014 Friends of Nursing Gala was held Saturday, Nov. 1, at the Durham Convention Center. For more information about the Evelyn Morgan award, the gala or the Friends of Nursing Program, visit Friends of Nursing.