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LIBN Names Senior Nurse Practitioner A Health Care Hero

Posted: Dec. 8, 2014

The Long Island Business News (LIBN) recently awarded its “Health Care Heroes” Nurse Hero Award to Margaret (Peg) O’Donnell, DNPs, FNP, ANP, B-C, FAANP, senior nurse practitioner (NP) at South Nassau Communities Hospital. LIBN’s “Health Care Heroes” awards honor individuals and organizations in the health care industry in Nassau and Suffolk counties for outstanding leadership and commitment.

A Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), Ms. O’Donnell is a primary care provider and preceptor, providing comprehensive health care at South Nassau. One of the first NPs named to its medical staff, Ms. O’Donnell organized the hospital’s Advanced Practice Nurses Innovative Care Committee, which engages in peer review, case presentations, strategic planning, and coordinating efforts between inpatient and outpatient services.

Ms. O’Donnell was one of a strong group of NP leaders in the state to launch a grassroots effort in 2008 to pass legislation in New York that would permit nurse practitioners, after 3,600 hours of practice, to open their own medical practices and provide patient care without a written practice agreement with a physician. Nurse Practitioners, instead, will maintain a “collaborative relationship”, which means that the NP will communicate with a licensed physician(s) or hospital as needed to consult and make referrals. This relationship will be outlined in an attestation form that the NP will keep in his/her office.

In addition, she raised funds for the Nurse Practitioners Association of New York’s (NPANY) Political Action Committee, coordinated a consumer and physician petition drive collecting hundreds of signatures, and updated nurses and nursing students at colleges and universities about legislative changes in advanced nursing practice.

As the New York State representative to the AANP and a member of the government affairs and legislative committees of the NPANYS, she took the campaign a step further, sitting down with key legislators from the state senate and assembly to raise awareness of the contributions of nurse practitioners. When she wasn’t lobbying lawmakers on Long Island or in Albany, she was spreading the word about policy initiatives to members of the AANP at their annual conferences and regional meetings up and down the East Coast. Her efforts paid off when the New York State Legislature announced in March 2014 that the legislation had become law. The Modernization Act will become effective Jan. 1, 2015.

Ms. O’Donnell has been a healthcare provider for more than 30 years. She started her career as an RN in 1981, and has served at some of the Northeast’s most prestigious hospitals including the Hospital for Joint Diseases in Manhattan; Long Island Jewish-North Shore University Healthcare System; and University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Ms. O’Donnell has extensive experience in many disciplines including emergency services, intensive care, stem cell transplantation, and electrophysiology. She was also involved in clinical research trials at South Nassau. She is currently a doctoral student at SUNY Stony Brook.

Ms. O’Donnell has served in numerous leadership roles for the AANP, NPANYS and Nurse Practitioners Association of Long Island (NPALI), most notably as the New York State representative of the AANP and in grassroots efforts to effect policy changes affecting NP practice. As a result of her steadfast leadership, she is a recipient of the NPALI NP of the Year Award and AANP New York State NP Advocate Award.

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who are prepared, through advanced education and clinical training, to provide a wide range of preventive and acute health care services to individuals of all ages. NPs complete graduate-level education preparation that leads to a master’s degree/and are often Doctoral-trained. NPs take health histories and provide complete physical examinations; diagnose and treat most common acute and chronic problems; interpret laboratory results and X-rays; prescribe and manage medications and other therapies; provide health teaching and supportive counseling with an emphasis on prevention of illness and health maintenance; and refer patients to other health professionals as needed.