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YNHH nurse named a National Magnet Nurse of the Year 

nurse of the year

On Oct. 14, Michele Santoro, RN, Yale New Haven Hospital Heart and Vascular Center, North Haven Cardiology, received a 2022 Magnet Nurse of the Year® Award for Exemplary Professional Practice. 

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), which developed the Magnet Recognition Program, presented the award at its national conference in Philadelphia. Santoro was recognized for innovations that have improved outcomes for cardiac patients around the world.

The Nurse of the Year awards recognize outstanding contributions in the five Magnet Model components: Transformational Leadership; Structural Empowerment; Exemplary Professional Practice; New Knowledge, Innovations, and Improvements; and Empirical Outcomes. Santoro was honored for her contributions to nursing practice and patient outcomes, including:

  • Pioneering an evidence-based process for skin preparation and surgical site management for patients. 
  • Developing a cardiac monitoring database that found potentially life-threatening arrhythmias in 47 percent of enrolled patients. In 45 percent of these patients, medical and surgical treatments were needed. 
  • Identifying a gap in follow-up among patients with remote cardiac monitoring devices. Santoro collaborated with the interprofessional team and vendors to implement a multi-faceted monitoring, scheduling and tracking system. 
  • Identifying a dangerous issue with an external monitoring device platform. Santoro discovered that patients worldwide had been disconnected from the platform after the external vendor conducted a software update. The vendor recognized her for exceptional collegial collaboration and partnership. 

“We are so proud of Michele for earning this incredibly prestigious and well-deserved award,” said Ena Williams, RN, PhD, YNHH chief nursing officer. “Her unwavering commitment to patients has inspired her to conduct research and pioneer changes in nursing practice that are transforming patient care at Yale New Haven Hospital and beyond.”

At the conference, Santoro told more than 11,500 attendees about how her grandmother’s struggle with “countless” strokes ignited a passion to help others. When her father suffered a heart attack while Santoro was in nursing school, “the heart and vascular specialty chose me,” she said.

“I am truly honored and humbled to receive this amazing award,” Santoro said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to pursue my passion for heart and vascular nursing for the past decade at Yale New Haven, and I am blessed to have an exceptional and supportive team, from senior leadership to the people I work with every day. I am also thankful for my family’s endless support.” 

The Magnet Recognition Program honors healthcare organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice. YNHH earned its third Magnet recognition in 2021. The National Magnet Nurse of the Year Awards recognize the outstanding contributions of clinical nurses in Magnet-designated organizations. Santoro was named Yale New Haven Hospital’s 2022 Magnet® Nurse of the Year earlier this year.