Your support helps nurses ‘dream bigger’ to better care for patients

Tina Banialis is Advocate Children’s Hospital’s 2020 Nurse of the Year.

Nursing excellence has always been a key part of the culture at Advocate Children’s Hospital. And now it’s being officially recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

“We’re thrilled to announce, that for the first time, Advocate Children’s Hospital has been granted Magnet® status, one of the highest honors a hospital can receive,” said Wendy Micek, Director of Nursing Excellence and Innovation. “It recognizes the best in nursing care, an engaging work environment and a culture of excellence and innovation.”

Philanthropy has played a critical role in achieving the designation through the Nursing Research and Education fund.

“The fund has allowed our nurses many opportunities that contributed to achieving Magnet® designation,” explained Wendy. “It has allowed clinicians to do evidence-based practice, research and innovative projects that are essential elements to creating and maintaining a Magnet® culture. This work, in turn, helps us to establish an environment of wonder where clinicians are supported to question practice in an effort to constantly improve and provide the best care for our patients.”

In fact, the evidence-based practice and innovations at Advocate Children’s Hospital were both recognized as Magnet exemplars, which means the hospital is especially exceling in those areas.

Continuing education and professional growth

The Nursing Research and Education fund provides opportunities for nurses like Tina Banialis to continue their education and grow professionally. Tina, a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the Oak Lawn campus, was recently named Nurse of the Year for her leadership, community involvement and innovative spirit.

“I want our fragile NICU patients and their families to have the best experience with the most supportive environment possible,” Tina shared. “That’s the passion I carry into the hospital every day.”

Tina is especially passionate about mental health, creating a therapeutic listening program for staff and patients to improve daily stress levels and organizing the unit’s first Mental Health Awareness Week in May 2019.

“After I started the program, I was interested in obtaining more specialized education as well as a certification in perinatal mental health. As a BSN nurse, I’m not on the usual list of approved trainees, but the work I was doing was acknowledged as some of the most innovative programing seen in a NICU setting.”

After a rigorous course load and a difficult exam, Tina earned her perinatal mental health certification (PMH-C) last year, becoming the first BSN-NICU nurse to do so in Illinois. Next year, she’ll present at the Magnet® conference in Atlanta, GA. The Nursing Research and Education fund will support her travel.

“It’s such an honor to be able to present our program on this amazing platform. The donors who give to this fund are enabling our nurses to dream big for best practice changes and improving our families’ hospital experience,” she said. “I am so grateful to have the opportunity to also learn from this conference and bring back more exciting ideas to continue to improve our patient care.”

You can support nurses like Tina and their patients

With the support of generous donors like you, the Nursing Research and Education fund will continue to help nurses advance their education and participate in important research, which ultimately impacts our patients and their families.

“Because of this fund, we plan to expand our program to more parents,” explained Tina. “We’ve seen improvements in our NICU that have long-standing effects on families even after they’re discharged. Mothers have written incredible letters of gratitude for this program, which got them through the stress and anxiety of having a critically ill baby. My hope is that we can provide this support to all families in our NICU in the future.”

Please consider making a gift today. Contact Amy Valenzio at to learn more.