2020 LeAP Award Winner
At a recent virtual staff meeting, Transitions LifeCare’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Laura Patel announced the winner of the LeAP Award. This award was developed following the death of a beloved TL nurse practitioner LeeAnne Poole, who died in early 2020.
Dr. Patel notes, “January of 2020 feels like a lifetime ago, and yet I remember the moment I learned of LeeAnne’s death like it was yesterday. The grief that followed was felt as a ripple across the organization as she had touched so many in her 7+ years [at Transitions LifeCare].
“As we approached the end of 2020, I wanted to gather some of the folks that I spoke with in those early days of 2020, before the world turned upside down, to see how we might honor LeeAnne in a way that not only celebrates who she was, but also celebrates those qualities she held that we see in ourselves and each other. LeeAnne Poole was a strong patient advocate, always working to try to find innovative and creative solutions. She was an artist and nature lover and she created beauty in the environments she inhabited, even if her stay was mere moments.
“LeeAnne had a thirst for knowledge, becoming one of the first nurse practitioners in the organization to be certified in hospice and palliative care, and she was always striving to improve her practice. She had a quiet generosity, frequently helping her team members out even when they remained unaware and not expecting anything in return. She was incredibly resilient and, even while dealing with a multitude of personal health challenges, she returned eager to be helpful wherever she could. There were very few people who did not feel LeeAnne’s impact over the 7 years she was in the Transitions LifeCare community.”
Under Dr. Patel’s direction, a committee formed to create the LeAP Award. Colleagues submitted names of those who exemplified LeeAnne’s character and who possess the following attributes:
- Helping others with humbleness and humility
- Demonstration of kindness, generosity, and compassion
- Lifelong learning
- Innovation in daily work
- Creativity and beauty in everyday life
- Effect on those with whom they work
This year’s LeAP Award was presented to Jane Owen, a nurse practitioner who works primarily with Transitions PalliativeCare patients at WakeMed Cary Hospital. Jane ensures nurses “feel supported, seen, and appreciated for their unique gifts and contributions to patient care,” notes fellow nurse Amy Lovato in her award nomination. Amy continues, “[M]y favorite thing about Jane: she is JOYFUL. She has a song for every topic and isn’t afraid to sing it in front of everyone. She dances in the hall, she sings in Rounds, she laughs often. She relishes the simple pleasure of good food. She basks in the sunlight when we have a chance to eat lunch outside. She remarks on the changing foliage and seasons, pointing out the beauty in nature, people, and our collective work. Jane is joyful and brings joy, even in sad situations where it seems no joy can be found.”
Each nominee receives a bee lapel pin to recognize their nomination and contributions to Transitions LifeCare. LeeAnn loved nature and kept honeybees; she often brought honey to her colleagues and spread her good works and care to those around her. In addition to the pin, Jane receives a cash honorarium.
During the presentation, Jane was volunteering to administer COVID-19 vaccines on her day off. She stepped out to share with her colleagues, “When I think about LeeAnne and all she was and all she did for those around her — to be given this in her honor is just about as good as it can get…I am awed by your care.”