Debra Giugliano, a pediatric nurse practitioner specializing in caring for children with hematologic and oncologic illnesses at Stony Brook University Medical Center, received the Nurse of Excellence Award from the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council. 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. They inspire me and make me proud to be a nurse practitioner,” said Giugliano.
Giugliano’s commitment to healing expands far beyond the walls of the hospital. She spreads awareness at local schools, PTAs, and Rotary Clubs 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 ACTS (Athletes, Courage, Teamwork, and 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.
“Debbie has changed the world,” said SBUMC CEO Steven L. Strongwater. “She personally commits her own time to the many projects she has started and is extraordinarily creative.”
Among the most unique and life changing innovation that Debbie is involved in is the School Re-Entry program, according to Jeannie Gaspard, who, along with Patricia Bockino, 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 prepare 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 worldwide recognition. Japanese nursing professors came to learn about the School Re-Entry Program to implement it in their own hospitals after learning about it at www.schoolreentry.com.
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, is actively involved in numerous fundraising and scholarship programs, and is the co-author of several journal articles and books.
Giugliano has been with Stony Brook for nearly 20 years, 12 of which have been as a pediatric nurse practitioner in the department of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.