Renee M. Smith, RN MSN and executive director of Day Kimball Healthcare (DKH) at Home, was honored with the 2019 Judith Hriceniak Award for Excellence in Nursing Leadership by the CT Association for Healthcare at Home at their annual conference held on October 25.
The Hriceniak Award is presented to a registered nurse who has demonstrated excellence in nursing leadership.
To receive the prestigious award, a nursing supervisor or CEO must serve as a visionary role model in the development and implementation of innovative projects that positively affect the ever-changing home care and hospice environment.
The recipient also must show creativity, high energy and inspire others by creating an environment that fosters staff development and life-long learning. Award recipients must achieve a high level of clinical expertise and collaborate with groups or individuals within the community.
Smith, who has led DKH at Home for the last five years, has guided the home care agency into a culture of sustainability. As a seasoned nurse and patient advocate, upon stepping into the leadership role, she recognized the need to respond to the rapidly changing healthcare landscape and through her vision and innovative spirit, has motivated the agency’s staff to change with it, leading them into the future with confidence.
Smith’s presence not just within DKH, but within the local community and in the home care and hospice community along with her clinical expertise and knowledge earned her the distinguished Judith Hriceniak Award. She was nominated for the award by Jennifer LeDuc, RN MSN and quality and reimbursement manager at DKH at Home.
“When I read the award criteria, it was obvious to me that Renee should be nominated,” LeDuc said. “Renee has always been the greatest champion for home health, hospice, and nursing that I know. She truly cares about her work, the agency, and each of us. She is constantly pushing herself, and our team, to perform to the highest of our abilities. As a result of her encouragement and guidance, our team achieved things some did not think were possible. And when we reach our goals, she loves to celebrate us.”
“This recognition is a testament to the excellent leadership Renee exemplifies, her contributions to home care services in Northeast Connecticut, and her commitment to her staff and the community,” said John O’Keefe, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient services, DKH. “Due to Renee’s strong leadership and guidance, the staff and agency are making a positive difference in the community by ensuring that individuals receive the best care possible in the comfort of their own homes.”
In response to having been selected as the award recipient, Smith said, "I am honored to have been chosen and truly blessed to lead a team whose commitment to our agency and passion for the work we do is second to none. Without their ongoing support, dedication, and trust in my leadership, the accomplishments that earned me this award would have never been possible, and I couldn't be more proud to work alongside each and every one of them."
In her role as Executive Director of DKH at Home, Smith oversees the non-profit health system’s HomeCare, HomeMakers and Hospice and Palliative Care divisions, which provide both medically and non-medically based home care services for the residents of Northeastern Connecticut.
The HomeCare program offers nursing, therapy, and home health aide services for patients with both acute and chronic health conditions; Hospice and Palliative Care provides care for individuals and families coping with terminal and life-limiting illnesses; and Day Kimball HomeMakers provides personal care, homemaking, companionship, 24-hour care, live-in caregivers, and a day program for individuals with dementia. Working together, the three in-home service lines collaborate to ensure safe and seamless transitions of care, both within and outside the Day Kimball Healthcare system.