Kathleen Attonito has provided me consistent support through a difficult time of family illness since this past summer. There has never been a question as to whether I could be there for my family when they needed me.
During this time, Kathleen also supported her supervisor, who was experiencing the illness and loss of a family member. She was a pillar of support during this very difficult time for her team. She was always there, whether it was picking up additional Magnet writing assignments to ease the professional burden for her team or simply as a therapeutic ear for her colleagues who were struggling with grief and loss. This was all done during a time of very tight Magnet deadlines and Kathleen was a model of grace and professionalism.
Having entered a role and position truly different from anything I had done before, Kathleen encouraged me to break out of my comfort zone and helped me to see what I was capable of. Working with such a small, close-knit group, trust and respect are key to fostering positive relationships, and she has led by example. As a leader, she empowers her team with the freedom to accomplish what they want to get done. She finds opportunities to advise as a mentor and to advocate as a sponsor. She stands behind her team 100% of the time. She understands and empathizes with work-related and personal life issues. She always accommodates and supports the needs of others, is flexible in her approach to ensure that colleagues are cared for while still being effective in their work.
Kathleen has the opportunity to work directly with many team members through forums to which she provides leadership support. Just one example is the Central Collaborative Care Council where she continually fosters growth and development. Through these forums, Kathleen provides mentorship and guidance to colleagues across the organization and they have the opportunity to work with her directly every month.
In February 2017, the timeline for submission of NSUH’s Magnet document was expedited to August 1, 2017. This gave the magnet team, approximately five months to assemble and write all the information required for Magnet submission. Given a shortened writing period than expected, she took the mission, rallied the troops and prepared everyone for a journey of a lifetime. To accomplish what this team has accomplished in such a short amount of time, and with such precision, is truly a feat. Without Kathleen’s exquisite project management skills and vision, shared throughout the process, we would not have been able to accomplish what we have. During preparation for the site visit, she spent hours upon hours meeting with staff, going to staff meetings, and sitting with councils answering all their questions and preparing them for their sessions with the appraisers.
Not wanting the night shift to feel left out, Kathleen spent weeks rounding until late at night making sure they were confident. Her ability to motivate the entire organization in this high-level shared project led to the successful document submission and site survey in January 2018. Kathleen is always a true professional. She has a clear understanding of the excellence that exists within the nursing community and is one of nursing’s biggest cheerleaders. Under her leadership, the Magnet team was able to beautifully showcase and bring to light the nursing excellence that exists throughout our organization.
Kathleen is always willing to lend a helping hand, whether meeting with an individual or group for guidance or providing assistance through email or telephone explanation. She truly goes above and beyond to ensure that others have the tools that they need to be successful, and to ensure that they know how to use those tools. Kathleen is truly made for nursing, truly made for NSUH and truly made for the DAISY Nurse Leader Award.