A Houston VA nurse’s extraordinary commitment to advocating for her Veteran patients recently brought her international recognition. Melissa Fadipe, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, a nurse practitioner at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, is the recipient of the American Nurse Credential Center’s (ANCC) 2019 Magnet Nurse of the Year Award for Transformational Leadership. The award recognizes outstanding contributions of clinical nurses to innovation, consultation, leadership and professional risk taking.
The Houston VA is VA’s first four-time winner of the ANCC’s Magnet recognition for nursing excellence four times.
Fadipe has been a NP in the Houston VA’s Epilepsy Center of Excellence (ECoE) since 2016. She leads multiple initiatives to improve care for Veterans living with epilepsy and psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES). Her innovative “You Are Not Alone” program has helped remove the stigma associated with epilepsy, reduced emergency visits, and improved Veterans’ quality of life. The initiative includes videos, classes, handouts, and support groups aimed at educating Veterans with epilepsy.
“I like working in the VA system because the advances that we make can be spread nationwide and I truly enjoy advocating for our nation’s heroes,” Fadipe said. “I choose nursing because it allows me to make a difference in the lives of my Veteran patients and the community, and I care to evolve as a leader.”
Standardizing care, nationwide
As a nurse practitioner in the ECoE, Fadipe spends her days improving care for Veterans living with epilepsy and PNES. She’s working to standardize care at all VA Epilepsy Centers of excellence nationwide. She collaborates with specialists at the Epilepsy Foundation Texas on the “You Are Not Alone” initiative. Further, she has also developed evidence-based care modules to guide her fellow nurses and routinely shares her expertise with VA colleagues around the country.
“It is so important to me that nurses are able to provide our Veterans with education that is comprehensive, easy to understand and helpful,” Fadipe said. “Helping Veterans find coping mechanisms and solutions is how we can improve the quality of their lives.”
Fadipe’s commitment to her Veteran patients and to making a positive impact on those around her is inspiring to her co-workers, said Kelly Irving, associate director for patient care services at the Houston VA. “Melissa’s unique, hardworking and compassionate approach to nursing makes her stand out from the crowd and elevates us as an organization,” said Irving. “We are so proud of her accomplishments!”
Fadipe and the Houston VA team were honored at the ANCC’s National Magnet Conference earlier this month.
Maureen Dyman is the communications director for the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.