When someone wins an award, it’s usually to recognize a personal achievement. However, for Geline Buenconsejo, MSN, the award she received was in recognition for her outstanding and enduring professional achievements in developing treatments, systems and protocols that benefit many people.
Geline is a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) in acute care services at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. She recently was awarded the CNS Evidence-Based Practice/Quality Improvement (EBP/QI) of the Year Award from the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists. The award recognizes outstanding professional achievement by a CNS who has significantly impacted nursing practice, patient and family outcomes, as well as health care systems, including reducing cost.
“Geline’s commitment to the profession is laudable,” says Gabriella Malagon-Maldonado, PhD, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at Sharp Chula Vista. “Because of her clinical expertise and commitment to advancing nursing, she conducted multiple evidence-based practice and process improvement projects.”
From programs to reduce pressure injuries and decrease patient falls, to improving discharge times and decreasing bloodstream infections, Geline’s efforts to improve the care she and colleagues provide and to improve systems within Sharp are exemplary, especially during a pandemic.
“Recently, Geline was instrumental in training volunteer nurse extenders to assist primary care registered nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic surge,” says Malagon-Maldonado. “She was also responsible for creating COVID-19 patient care guidelines focused on both patient and staff safety.”
Geline was born and raised in the Philippines, where she completed her Bachelor of Science in nursing. She is the mother of three children, ages 3, 6 and 9; and she is currently continuing her notable academic endeavors at the University of San Diego Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, where she is pursuing a doctorate of philosophy in nursing research.
“My aunt inspired me to become a nurse,” Geline says. “I used to see her in her white uniform and cap, and I told myself that someday, I will be like her. It wasn’t really until I became a nurse that I realized that there is more to the white uniform and cap – it was my calling and my passion to help the sick that brought me into this profession.”
Most days, Geline spends her time working with staff and other multidisciplinary team members. She starts each morning rounding on three units of the hospital to check in with unit managers and charge nurses. She also represents Sharp Chula Vista on several Sharp HealthCare system committees.
“My favorite part of my job is the opportunity to create structures and processes that can make our patients and staff safe, while also delivering positive organizational outcomes,” she says.
At home, Geline’s focus is on her family as well as self-care. From playing board games and baking with her children to carving out time each day to “escape” on her indoor exercise bike, she has found ways to thrive throughout the pandemic while always working to ensure her colleagues are doing equally well.
“We are a year into this pandemic now, and the staff are emotionally, physically and mentally exhausted,” she says. “I need to take this into consideration when I am creating and implementing changes. I need to be someone they can turn to.”
By receiving this award, it is evident Geline is just that. Noting that such recognition is motivating and humbling, she, of course, is quick to share the achievement with her colleagues.
“Receiving this prestigious award is both a personal and professional milestone,” she says. “This award is not only for me, but also for my whole Sharp Chula Vista team who have worked so hard to achieve our cumulative goals.”