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Local Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurse Practioner Receives Distinguished Honor From Nassau/Suffolk Hospital Council

Local Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurse Practioner Receives Distinguished Honor From Nassau/Suffolk Hospital Council

Debra Giugliano RN, MS, PNP, named Nurse of Excellence

STONY BROOK, NY, May 28, 2010 – Nesconset resident, Debra Giugliano RN, MS, PNP, a pediatric nurse practitioner specializing in caring for children with hematologic and oncologic illnesses at Stony Brook University Medical Center, received the top honor of Long Island’s “Nurse of Excellence” from the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council (NSHC). This hardworking, innovative professional was selected from a field of more than 500 nurses at hospitals all across Long Island.

“I am truly honored to receive the Nurse Excellence Award. I have spent the past 20 years caring for children and their families,” said Giugliano. “They inspire me and make me proud to be a nurse practitioner.”

Giugliano’s commitment to healing expands far beyond the walls of the hospital. One way she has done this is by spreading awareness at local schools, PTAs, Rotary Clubs, etc. through a unique program she developed called “Children Helping Children.” The program uses school sponsored activities such as walk-a-thons and presentations to raise awareness and funds. Another is “Play It Forward” A C T S (Athletes, Courage, Teamwork & Support), a program set up to connect local university and high school student athletes with pediatric oncology patients. The student athletes visit the clinic and dedicate their time to mentoring pediatric patients. The idea of “teaming up” student athletes with children diagnosed with cancer or blood disorders helps to increase social support and gives the students an opportunity to serve their community.

“Debbie has changed the world,” said Dr. Steven L. Strongwater, CEO of Stony Brook University Hospital. “She personally commits her own time to the many projects she has started and is extraordinarily creative.” 

[img_assist|nid=6301|title=Debbie and her colleagues|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=300|height=225]Among the most unique and life changing innovation that Debbie is involved with is the “School Re-Entry program,” according to Jeannie Gaspard, RN, MSN, who, along with Patricia Bockino, RN, MSN, nominated Giugliano for the award. After being in treatment for up to a year in some cases, returning to school is an overwhelming challenge. Giugliano and the School Re-Entry team, prepares presentations related to the child’s diagnosis for his/her classmates and the school’s staff.  She even visits individual schools to clarify misconceptions and to make sure that the transition from home/hospital to school is comfortable for the patient, family, staff members and classmates.  This program has received world wide recognition.  Recently, Japanese nursing professors came to learn about the School Re-Entry Program to implement it in their own hospitals; they learned about it from a website developed as a resource for patients, families, teachers, and school nurses ( 

“The medical community’s astounding advances save lives daily and prevent illnesses that would have once been fatal,” said Dr. Lee Anne Xippolitos, Chief Nursing Officer of Stony Brook University Hospital. “Children who are facing cancer are still waiting for the world to develop their miracle cure. Imagine trying to come to terms with such a bleak diagnosis, especially as a child; Debbie has the power to create hope where there was once only fear. We are all so proud of her.”

In addition , Giugliano finds the time to deliver lectures to undergraduate students, is on the Executive Board of Directors for the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Educational Specialists (APHOES), is actively involved in numerous fundraising and scholarship programs and is the co-author of several journal articles, author of Jessie Bounces Back to School, co-author of a poster presentation on Fertility Issues in Pediatric Cancer, and is co-author of a pending publication of a Pediatric Oncology Resource Handbook. She is tireless in her efforts and yet when asked what motivates her, she replied “The children inspire me and motivate me every day, I am grateful to the patients, families, and children that we care for.”

“On a daily basis Giugliano thinks about different ways to enhance our patients’ lives. Whether it’s sending a patient and their family to a university football game or lending an ear to a frustrated parent, she does it with a heart of gold. Not only is she an excellent nurse, but she possesses the skills of understanding and relating to children of all ages and developmental abilities,” Gaspard said, “Deb’s friendly, enthusiastic and reliable presence makes children and families feel at ease when they come to the clinic for treatments. She is a valuable asset to our institution and most deserving of this special award.”

The Hospital Council’s annual salute to nurses is fashioned after the New York State Legislature’s Nurse of Distinction Program that ended in 1995. NSHC is one of the few hospital associations in the state to continue this program voluntarily. It is now in its 15th year. The NSHC represents Long Island’s not-for-profit hospitals. For more information about this program and a full listing of nominees, visit

Giugliano has been with Stony Brook for nearly 20 years, 12 of which have been as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) in the department of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. She lives in Nesconset with her husband Robert Trezza, daughter Jessica, 14, and son James, 11.

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