PENNSYLVANIA NURSE AUTUMN FERRINGER WINS CHEROKEE INSPIRED COMFORT AWARD
When Autumn Ferringer, a nurse at Wesbury Methodist Retirement Community, in Meadville, Penn., found her niche, it wouldn’t be long before others would notice. Her licensure is LPN – licensed practical nurse – but her specialty and passion is represented in the letters that follow, WCC – wound care certified. Her dedicated work in wound care has attracted national recognition. Ferringer is a winner of the prestigious 2005 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award, an honor given to only 14 healthcare professionals nationwide.
“Autumn is a skilled, determined and compassionate nurse who has made a profound difference in the health and quality of life for her institution’s patients,” said Wendell Mobley, who directs the national awards for Cherokee. “We are proud to honor someone of her caliber. She represents to us the heart and soul of the nursing profession.”
The award is granted annually by Cherokee Uniforms – a leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel – to recognize nurses and other non-physician healthcare professionals who demonstrate exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation and have a positive impact on others’ lives.
As a seasoned LPN, Ferringer was appointed in 2004 to wound care coordinator at Wesbury’s skilled nursing facility. In the following nine months, she established a team that included dedicated LPNs from each of the nursing units to perform in-depth skin assessments and treatments. Her efforts dramatically improved residents’ skin and their wounds.
An estimated $25 billion is spent annually on wound care in the United States. Chronic, non-healing wounds can lead to infection, amputation and death, especially among diabetics, the elderly and disabled.
Ferringer’s efforts helped ensure consistent assessments and treatments for each resident.
“I’m always educating our residents, families, staff and physicians on prevention, healing and new advancements in wound care,” explained Ferringer who studies the patients’ lab values, body systems, extrinsic factors, desires and behaviors that could affect their plan of care.
“I am a strong advocate from the resident to the physician to ensure that the plan of care best fits the residents’ needs,” said Ferringer. “I feel that this is important because of the ever changing advancements being made.”
Ferringer was nominated for the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award by her colleague, Sue Smith, who worked with Ferringer to develop Wesbury’s wound care program. “Skin breakdown among skilled nursing facility patients is a significant challenge nationally,” Smith explained in the nomination . “Autumn is always educating herself in the latest research and often devotes hours to healthcare journals to expand her knowledge, which she then shares with her team.”
Ferringer was delighted, and stunned, to receive national recognition for her wound care program. “Everyday is a new challenge, and I’ve learned there is always room for improvement. I am blessed with a supportive family…and I work with an amazing team of nurses,” Ferringer said. “They have helped me to grow as a leader…I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of them.”
As a Top National Winner in the award’s LPN/LVN category, Ferringer receives an all-expense-paid trip to a 2006 U.S. medical conference of her choice, an annual membership to a clinical organization, a $500 donation to the nonprofit organization of her choice, a wardrobe featuring the best of Cherokee Uniforms and Rockers Footwear worth more than $1,000, a 2005 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award trophy, and placement in Cherokee’s 2006 Inspired Comfort Award calendar.
Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, more than 3,400healthcare professionals have been nominated in the Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse, Student Nurse and Non-Physician Healthcare Professional categories. A panel of nursing professionals and Cherokee representatives evaluates nominations and grants awards.
For every nomination in 2005, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 to Nurses House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing serious hardship. Cherokee donated $1,300 to Nurses House in 2005.
|Nominated by: Sue Smith (Wesbury United Methodist Community, Meadville, PA)|
|Autumn is one of the most compassionate and dedicated nurses I have worked with. She consistently functions at a higher professional level than what her licensure is. One would think she is a master's prepared nurse by the way she thinks and acts. Her personal integrity and demeanor is one that everyone should strive for. If they did, the whole world would definitely be a better place to live.|
| When I joined the Wesbury organization in September of 2004, Autumn had just been appointed as the wound nurse. She was directed to look at the overall skin/wound care within the SNF and improve it only about 6 weeks prior to my arrival. Skin breakdown among SNF residents is a problem nationally, and Autumn was appointed to address it at Wesbury. After attending several skin programs with her we brainstormed and came up with a team approach. She selected 2 full-time LPNs that had an interest in skin/wound care and trained them in performing in-depth skin assessments and treatments. Over the next 9 months the team has grown and developed to a point where there is a dedicated LPN on each nursing unit 7 days a week. This ensures consistent assessments and treatments are provided to each resident. In-house wounds have greatly diminished. She has great interpersonal skills, and all the physicians have come to trust her. Autumn is always educating herself in the latest research and results available. She often reads journals several hours a night to expand her knowledge which she then shares with her team. She works closely with our purchasing director and pharmacy, looking at product results, ease of use, and costs to always provide the best quality of care to our residents. She also leads an interdisciplinary team comprised of nurses, dietician, and therapists to take our facility's wound healing efforts to the next highest level of care.
|Besides her clinical skills, Autumn is one of the nicest and most kind persons I have known. She always has a smile on her face. She always speaks in a calm and non-threatening manner. She educates and does not lecture. She is sensitive and guiding. She is just one of the kindest and most deserving persons I have known. I am extremely glad to have her on my team because she makes my job easier.|