Patient Care

URMC Nurse Honored for Clinical Excellence

Aug. 19, 2010

Mary Beth Earley, C.C.R.N., M.S.N., N.P.-C., nurse practitioner and heart transplant coordinator in the Program in Heart Failure and Transplantation at the University of Rochester Medical Center, has been named the recipient of the Heart Failure Society of America’s 2010 Clinical Excellence in Nursing Award. It will be presented to her Sept. 14 at the Society’s annual meeting in San Diego, Calif.

The award recognizes and supports clinical nursing excellence by a registered nurse who works directly with heart failure patients, their families and other nurses. Candidates were evaluated for special achievements in practice and contributions to the field of heart failure as well as demonstrated clinical excellence.

Earley, who is also an assistant professor of clinical nursing at the University of Rochester School of Nursing, more than met the criteria. Her dedication to the care of end-stage heart failure and cardiac transplant patients has been cited by her colleagues as a factor in the success of the Program in Heart Failure and Transplantation.

“Mary Beth’s rapport with our patients has been key in keeping them involved in their care, which in these complex patients, translates into clinical success,” said John D. Bisognano, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Medicine and director of Outpatient Cardiology at the Medical Center. “She is an exceptional nurse practitioner with a keen academic interest. She truly epitomizes all of the best characteristics of a nurse educator.”

Since 1994, Earley has worked with cardiac patients. She joined the Medical Center’s Program in Heart Failure and Transplantation in 2002. In her current position, she treats those with heart failure, guides patients through the transplant process, and manages chronic and acute illnesses in the advanced heart failure and pre-transplant populations. She also teaches within the cardiology unit, instructing nurses on procedures and protocols related to the management of end-stage heart failure patients, including appropriate medical therapy, Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs) and heart transplantation.

“Mary Beth has superb clinical skills and judgment and has proven to be an excellent teacher to other nurses,” said Jeffrey Alexis, M.D., an associate professor of Medicine and a transplant cardiologist who has worked with Earley since 2003. “She is truly outstanding.”

Pursuing her interest in research while at the Medical Center, Earley has recruited and managed patients in several VAD trials, heart failure palliative care trials, and other trials in the areas of heart failure and hypertension. She has co-authored several articles in the area of heart failure and was co-editor of a book published in 2009 for health care providers titled “Manual of Heart Failure Management.” A group of 38 Medical Center faculty and staff members collaborated on the text.

Earley said both her colleagues at the Medical Center and her patients should be credited for giving her the opportunity to succeed. “We are allowed to take extra time with our patients here at Strong Memorial Hospital and that does make a difference,” she said. “The more I can listen and I can connect, the more they participate in their care and the better the outcomes. The patients make me look good when they take care of themselves. They are all extraordinary people who inspire me each day with their courage and tenacity for life.”

Earley is a resident of Chili.