By Leah Gilchrist

Phoenix Children’s Hospital nurse and Gilbert resident Jessica Smith, an Aerodigestive Program coordinator, was awarded the Advanced Practice Nurse Award.

The program offers coordinated care between specializations in ear, nose and throat, gastrointestinal and pulmonology.

The hospital celebrated National Nurses Week with a full calendar of events for its nursing staff. The events seek to recognize the instrumental value of the 1,470 nurses who work there. Nurses and staff who demonstrate excellence in practice were given Nursing Excellence awards.

“I was very grateful I was nominated, but I wasn’t expecting to win.” Smith said.

She added that the award was made possible because of her supporters, including her medical assistant, Annette Martinez.

The Advanced Practice Nurse Award honors nurses who demonstrate excellence in a number of areas, including clinical practice, leadership, and mentoring and educating staff, community, patients and families. It is one of five awards Phoenix Children’s Hospital gives to recognize its nurses. Smith was nominated for the award by a group of her colleagues at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Smith has been with the hospital for two years, following five years of work in the children’s intensive care unit at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

She works with four subspecialists: pulmonology, speech, gastrointestinal, and ear, nose and throat. The Aerodigestive Clinic at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, the only hospital in the Southwest to offer the coordinated care, specializes in family-based care for children with respiratory and digestive complications.

Smith has facilitated and improved several of the patient-flow processes in a clinic that treats a medically and surgically complex population.

“It does make me feel the care coordination is valued with the patients and families,” Smith said, “And it does definitely make me feel that what I’m doing is appreciated.”