South Nassau Communities Hospital Endoscopy RN Named a Healthcare Hero

Oceanside, NY, March 09, 2016 --( The Long Island Business News (LIBN) recently awarded its “Health Care Heroes” Nurse Hero Award to Irene Ficaro, an endoscopy nurse at South Nassau Communities Hospital. LIBN’s “Health Care Heroes” awards honor individuals and organizations in the health care industry in Nassau and Suffolk counties for outstanding leadership and commitment.

“Irene’s roots are firmly planted in service to others,” said Sue Penque, PhD, RN, NP, South Nassau’s chief nursing officer and senior vice president of patient care services. “Her deep passion for caring for the health needs of the patients and communities we serve and global mission to serve as a volunteer for those in need are what drive her to work in wide and varied roles.”

In recent months, Ms. Ficaro has traveled to Bucharest, Romania, with several church volunteers from the Bethlehem Assembly of God in Valley Stream to provide temporary housing, training, counseling and support for impoverished young mothers. During the seven-day mission trip, she provided babysitting services for mothers who were being taught basic haircutting and jewelry making skills and also conducted blood pressure screenings outside of the city.

In 2011, Ms. Ficaro was informed by a colleague that volunteers were needed in Catanduanes. It wasn’t long before she purchased a plane ticket and joined a dozen or so nurses, doctors and dentists from throughout the U.S. to provide medical outreach to the poor. From dawn to dusk during the seven-day mission at Bicol Hospital, she dispensed medications to pediatric patients and instructed parents in the administration of medication to their children.

Closer to home, each year for the past four years Ms. Ficaro has volunteered with the international humanitarian-relief organization Convoy of Hope. Armed with anatomical diagrams of the gastrointestinal tract and pamphlets, she educates Nassau’s underserved families about the importance of early detection of colorectal cancer and refers them to low-cost screening centers in the county. In June, she organized more than a half-dozen nurses on South Nassau’s Endoscopy Unit to join her at the Convoy of Hope.

The sense of fulfillment and compassion that Ms. Ficaro receives from nursing is what drives her to be a paragon of high-quality patient care. During her 12-year tenure at South Nassau, Ms. Ficaro, who is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, the largest nursing honor society, has inspired seven nurses on the Endoscopy Unit to achieve certification in gastroenterology nursing.

She is one of the hospital’s original members of the Nurse Practice Council, a nursing group that reviews, updates and writes nursing policies for the hospital, and has recently completed a nursing research fellowship program.

Currently, she is a principal investigator in a study investigating the impact of interpersonal dynamics on women who have undergone weight-loss surgery. Additionally, she is recognized for her commitment to mentoring, having provided education services for Endoscopy nurses in preparation for the Joint Commission survey for the hospital’s surgical weight-loss program.
South Nassau Communities Hospital
Damian J. Becker