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Our Nurse of the Week is Joan Riggs, RN, who was recently awarded a Health Care Achievement Award for her advocacy and work in hospital-based quality and safety initiatives for elder patients. The award was granted by the Long Island Business News (LIBN) whose Healthcare Achievement Awards honor individuals and organizations in the healthcare industry for outstanding leadership, service, and innovation.

Riggs currently works as a Nurse Manager at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Long Island, NY, which has been designated as a NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Health System Elders) hospital as a direct result of Riggs’ work on caretaker education and healthcare center around elder patients. Following a NICHE conference in 2015, Riggs developed and spearheaded a hospital-wide initiative to advance care for elder patients at South Nassau. Since the program began, over 20 registered nurses have completed geriatric certification or become geriatric resource nurses.

NICHE is an international program based out of the NYU College of Nursing that provides principles and tools to stimulate a change in the culture of healthcare facilities to achieve patient-centered care for elder patients. The NICHE network includes over 680 hospitals and healthcare organizations in the US, Canada, Bermuda, and Singapore.

Riggs joined South Nassau in 2010 as the Nurse Manager of the Medical Surgical Telemetry Unit. With 31 professional years in healthcare, Riggs has spent her career working in surgical intensive care and trauma units. Now she’s using her expertise to improve elder care for hospital patients at South Nassau.

To learn more about Joan Riggs and her Healthcare Achievement Award for her efforts to improve elder care, visit here.

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