Penn Medicine strives to celebrate and showcase the crucial clinical, research, and service contributions of the health system’s nurses every day — and the 366 days that the World Health Organization have designated the “International Year of the Nurse and Midwife” are no exception.
One of the programs that recognizes Penn’s most exceptional nurses is the Distinguished Nurse Clinician Academy (DNCA). In February, this highly selective academy welcomed its newest cohort, bringing its membership up to 41 with the addition of nine new frontline nurses. The DNCA aims to spread clinical excellence by recognizing those who consistently demonstrate superb technical skills, are eager to pursue new knowledge, go above and beyond in their care for patients and their families, and establish themselves as role models for their colleagues. The DNCA is made up of the nurses their peers aspire to be — which makes it no surprise that Penn Presbyterian Medical Center’s Jennifer Marcellus, BSN, RN, PCCN, was inducted this year.
Marcellus has been a nurse for more than 26 years, nearly five of which have been spent in PPMC’s Perioperative Care Unit. Over the years, she has forged collaborative relationships with colleagues across all of the hospital’s surgical services. Whether she is helping a patient relax before they undergo a cardiac procedure or monitoring someone immediately following their reconstructive surgery, she has earned a reputation for providing outstanding patient care and ensuring a positive, safe perioperative experience. A tireless patient advocate, Marcellus’ compassion and warmth also extend far past the day of surgery; she spent several years leading a successful Joint Commission Certified Ventricular Assist Device Program and still remains in contact with the program’s patients and families.
She brings this same level of enthusiasm and commitment to her professional relationships. As a mentor and leader for her peers, she is always on the lookout for ways to improve best practices, celebrate her colleagues’ achievements, and share her wealth of experience. Marcellus consistently takes the lead of competency education and is a positive voice for change when she spots opportunities for growth. For example, she proposed the creation of a standardized tool to facilitate clear, effective communication between residents and nurses in order to more safely transition patients from the operating room to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit.
“Jennifer doesn’t just identify needs on her unit; she ensures she’s part of the solution and encourages her colleagues to do the same,” said Jim Ballinghoff, RN, MSN, MBA, NEA-BC, chief nursing officer and associate executive director. Whether identifying opportunities to improve workplace safety or encouraging her team to boost their communication skills, “She sets a high bar of professionalism and fosters a culture of collegiality, teamwork, and problem solving.”
In her nomination letter for Marcellus, clinical nurse educator Julie Thomas, MSN, RN, CPAN, described her longtime colleague as a self-motivated role model and a champion of patient safety. “Jennifer’s leadership extends beyond clinical work,” she added. “She eagerly serves as a member of the Ethics Committee and also participates in community outreach. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed, as she has also received nominations for the Daisy Awards and the Dianne Lanham Award for Leadership. Her professional repertoire, and personal motivation make her an ideal candidate for the DNCA.”
Congratulations to all of PPMC’s DNCA nominees! Thank you for constantly taking Presby’s nursing practice to new heights and using your knowledge and compassion to create a healthier community.