Pediatric Oncology Nurse Rich Ramos Wins Prestigious Magnet Nurse of the Year AwardHealthier, Happy Lives Blog
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford Nurse Rich Ramos Wins Nurse of the Year Award in Palo Alto, California, Friday, May 14, 2021. Photo by Paul Sakuma Photography
Nurse leaders at Stanford Children’s Health had a big secret that was hard to keep: exciting news about one of their longtime nurses.
Rich Ramos, RN, MS, CNS, PNP, CPON, a bedside nurse who works overnight on pediatric oncology, won an outstanding honor that only five nurses in the entire country receive annually – the Magnet Nurse of the Year Award from the Magnet Recognition Program of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
“It was incredibly hard to keep it a secret! We had to wait until we could have a joint conversation with the ANCC and Rich,” said Sarah Ferrari, DNP, CNS, LBBP, SSCC, DFSSC, CPHON, who initiated the nomination along with Kristine Taylor, DNP, MPH, RN, CENP. has brought. , both nursing directors at the Center of Professional Excellence & Inquiry.
“In 2019 we received Magnet recognition. This was our first Nurse of the Year nomination and we won!” says Taylor.
Ferrari and Taylor tricked Ramos into taking part in a virtual meeting that was supposedly about the benefits of hiring army nurses — something he knew firsthand, after serving nearly four years as an infantry officer in the U.S. army spent.
“No one was more surprised than me. It took me a few minutes to realize what was happening during the conversation. When someone mentioned Magnet, I got a little dizzy,” says Ramos. “There are a lot of nurses at Stanford Children’s who deserve this award — seriously, I can think of several in my ward alone. That said, there aren’t enough words. to express the gratitude I feel for this recognition.”
Getting the award boosted his morale after a difficult year with COVID-19, having lost loved ones to the virus. Also, his travels around the world to train nurses in core skills in pediatric oncology came to a halt. Ramos normally makes three to four international trips a year as an instructor for the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON), and he can’t wait to get back to work. He has served in Guatemala, Argentina, Paraguay, India, Ethiopia and more.
“A lot of countries have a fraction of the resources we have, and they’re doing a lot more with it,” he says. “And you become a better nurse as you educate others because you are constantly reminded of best practices. It is a constant exercise in humility.”
Besides going abroad with APHON, Ramos is working as a volunteer. He co-directs a national chemotherapy certification course, taught in Spanish. For his efforts, he was awarded APHON’s Instructor of the Year award.
“Rich’s job does not begin and end here. He is very passionate. It’s all about evidence-based practice and delivering better care,” said Kimberly Williams, director of the Bass Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders. “If I could clone him ten times, I would.”
The ANCC Magnet program recognizes healthcare organizations for quality patient care, excellent nursing and innovations in professional nursing practice. The magnet model has five pillars of performance. Ramos won for the Structural Empowerment category.
“To me, structural empowerment is about how an institution provides a framework that empowers its workforce to grow inside and outside of their jobs,” he says. “Stanford Children’s does this for me.”
Sharing experiences and resources outside the hospital walls is commonplace at Stanford Children’s Health. And Ramos’ volunteer efforts are diverse and far-reaching.
“Structural empowerment focuses on outreach and professional development, which Rich has done phenomenally, both in our community and internationally,” says Taylor.
In addition to his international and national work for APHON, Ramos leads a monthly community support group for Latino families of children with cancer – the only one in San Jose. He and Jenn Romero, RN, MSN, PHN, CNS, another nurse at the hospital, answer clinical questions from parents and provide support.
“I am so proud of the caliber of nurses we have at Stanford Children’s. Many are reaching beyond Stanford’s footprint to improve community health,” Taylor added.
Closer to home, Ramos is a member of several committees at the hospital. He is a workhorse who not only leads, but also takes the time to achieve set goals.
“Rich is very involved and highly respected by everyone. The providers come to him to collaborate on special projects,” Williams said. “He has helped develop much of our pediatric cancer clinical practice over the years.”
Ramos received his master’s degree in nursing while working at Stanford Children’s Health, and he has been employed for 27 years. Time and again he was offered promotions to nursing leadership positions, but he always declined, wanting to stay at the bedside and work directly with patients and families.
“For me, being a nurse at the bedside is more meaningful work. I love it when I walk into a room at night and feel that silence. It feels sacred,” Ramos says. “I feel so lucky to be able to entrust the care of children with cancer and their families.”
Ramos attended a virtual Magnet awards ceremony this spring and was invited to the Fall 2021 Magnet conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Everyone in the hospital is keeping their fingers crossed that, despite COVID-19, it still happens, so that he can be properly celebrated with a walk across the stage.