Jefferson Surgical Solutions


Eleanor “Elly” Fitzpatrick joined Jefferson in 1987 as a clinical nurse specialist. Initially serving in the Intermediate Surgical Intensive Care Unit (ISICU), she soon became clinical nurse specialist for the Surgical ICU (SICU), as well. While her title has stayed the same, over the past 26 years Fitzpatrick has embraced and championed significant changes in nursing care – most recently, the growing emphasis on evidence-based initiatives.

With primary responsibility for staff education, Fitzpatrick trains and supports new nurses coming into the units. The two critical-care units are staffed by more than 80 nurses; at one time or another, Fitzpatrick has worked closely with every one of them. Fitzpatrick also develops and communicates policies and procedures for new equipment, tools and techniques. She serves as co-chair of the central venous catheter safety committee and represents her units as part of the ongoing Magnet re-designation process. The Magnet Recognition Program® recognizes health care organizations for quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice.

Fitzpatrick takes a highly collaborative approach to her multi-faceted role. She is quick to praise the intelligence and dedication of Jefferson’s nursing professionals: “Our staff nurses know what it’s like to do the work, and they’re unbelievably smart. I welcome their insights and talents in helping educate other nurses and in developing procedures.”

Fitzpatrick also remains an active clinician with a strong commitment to patientcentric care. When working directly with patients, she strives to provide the level of care she would want for her own loved ones. And she enjoys not only the human connection of patient care, but also the direct experience with ever-evolving nursing tools and procedures.

Finally, Fitzpatrick appreciates the chance to participate in nursing research projects, including a study of early and progressive mobility after surgery (which resulted in a reduction in ventilator days and a slight reduction in SICU length of stay) and another focused on limiting sedation on ventilated patients to support early breathing tube removal. “Nursing research is driving the evidence-based approach, and the way we do things is changing rapidly,” Fitzpatrick concludes. “Keeping nurses aware of best practices is more important than ever.”