News Release

June 17, 2008

Contact: Chris DeFrancesco, 860-679-3914

Nursing Honor for Health Center’s Donna Buchanan

Direct Care State Nurse of the Year Has Devoted Career to Helping Newborns

FARMINGTON, CONN. – Donna Buchanan, A.P.R.N., M.S., of Avon has been named the 2008 Direct Care State Nurse of the Year by the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services.

Buchanan has a dual role at the University of Connecticut Health Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). As neonatal transport coordinator, she is responsible for the oversight of safety and performance of the neonatal transport system. In this role she also is a transport team leader, responding to calls from other hospitals in the region to stabilize and transport infants who require transfer to a NICU. As neonatal nursing outreach coordinator, she provides multidisciplinary training and education to healthcare providers throughout the state.

“She lives and breathes the operational success of the transport program,” says nurse manager Maureen Guzzi, R.N., M.S.N., Buchanan’s supervisor. “She works closely with community hospitals, nurses, physicians and all other disciplines to assure best practice in stabilization of sick infants in the community until our team can get there.”

Over her 26 years of service at the UConn Health Center, Buchanan has earned a reputation of doing whatever it takes to ensure the health of a newborn. On Dec. 13, when a winter storm prevented the neonatal transport team from responding to Bristol Hospital, Buchanan enlisted the help of Health Center Fire Lt. Wendell Cote, who drove her there in a four-wheel drive vehicle so she could stabilize a distressed infant until the rest of the team could arrive. Staff members say Buchanan is the nurse they would want taking care of their infant.

“I am still very much in awe that I was nominated, because I don’t consider myself terribly out of the norm of what I envision a professional nurse to be,” Buchanan says. “I feel very strongly that the success of the transport system lies not with me but with the dedication of the entire team: attending neonatologists, neonatal fellows, midlevel practitioners, nurses, respiratory therapists, firefighters, and referring physicians. They are all vital to the team and I have never known them to waiver in their commitment. In a way I feel like I am accepting this award on their behalf.”

Buchanan has been with the Health Center since 1982, when she started as a neonatal nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist. She’s a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Nursing and started her career in neonatology in the U.S. Army.

Caption: Donna Buchanan, the 2008 Direct Care State Nurse of the Year.

Caption: (From left) Direct Care State Nurse of the Year Donna Buchanan and fellow neonatal transport team members Wendell Cote, Mardi Hayden and Michelle Tardif ready a neonatal transport van for a call at the UConn Health Center.

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