RWJBarnabas Health Nurses Honored with Global Nursing Recognition Award at United Nations Conference

International Nurse's DayWest Orange, NJ, May 15, 2018 – Two RWJBarnabas Health nurses were honored with the 2018 Inspiring Global Nurse Award. Kristina Barkey, RN, from Saint Barnabas Medical Center, and Elisa Martinez, RN, BSN, Nurse Care Advisor from Jersey City Medical Center were two of only 21 extraordinary nurses from organizations around the globe to receive this prestigious award during the second annual celebration of International Nurses Day, held at the United Nations on Friday, May 11. Barkey and Martinez were honored for their dedication and passion to nursing as well as their service to the profession and the community worldwide.

“At RWJBarnabas Health, we are not only committed to fostering an environment that encourages professional development and the pursuit of research and service among our nursing professionals, but we also aim to advance best nursing practices and health equity in the United States and around the world,” said Nancy E. Holecek, RN, BSN, MHA, MAS, Chief Nursing Officer for RWJBarnabas Health Northern Region. “Both Kristina and Elisa share this commitment and have played a central role in establishing this culture while helping our nurses thrive within it. We are thrilled and proud that they have received international recognition for their efforts.”

Kristina BarkeyNurse Barkey earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Bethel University in 1985 and is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Nursing from Capella University. Upon completing her Bachelor of Science, Barkey began her career with Saint Barnabas Medical Center and has spent 30 years in the labor and delivery unit. She currently serves as the Charge Nurse and her unit sees 6,000 deliveries per year.

In 2012, she was asked to travel with a medical mission team to Haiti to help care for those still affected by the 2010 earthquake. In Haiti, Barkey volunteered in the labor and delivery unit, in medical surgery as well as in the operating room. She has traveled to Haiti on medical missions twice now. Barkey also participated in a new medical mission trip to the Philippines as part of the Marion Rose World Mission and Life Is Great Global Foundation in 2012. As a part of the mission, she has traveled to the Philippines on four separate trips where she assisted in the operating room and with cervical cancer screenings and educated local high-school-aged girls in self-breast exams and sex education. While in the Philippines, Barkey also helped to train midwives in Neonatal Resuscitation Practices.

“I am honored to accept this prestigious award and to be recognized for not only my work at the hospital, but for my passion to make a positive change to the healthcare disparity in the world,” said Barkey. “I continue to look forward to new opportunities that will support my passion to work abroad and impact the next generation of nurses.”

Elisa MartinezNurse Martinez earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Bloomfield College in 2008. While earning her degree, she served as a Unit Clerk and Birth Certificate Clerk and fell in love with nursing and participating in the care of both mothers and babies. She has held numerous positions in the nursing field including pediatric home care where she assisted with ventilated and tracheostomy patients and as a pediatric ICU nurse at University Hospital in Newark. In her current position as Nurse Care Advisor at Jersey City Medical Center, she assists in preventing readmissions.

Martinez recently had the opportunity to volunteer in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Having family in Puerto Rico, Martinez began searching for opportunities to help those affected as soon as she heard of the damage done by the hurricane. Martinez volunteered in Puerto Rico for two weeks, where she cared for patients suffering from heat exhaustion and water contamination and later helped to provide clean water tablets and educated residents on how to prevent mold.

“It was immediately evident that the people needed more access to health care and health education,” said Martinez of her time in Puerto Rico. “Our role as medical professionals were not limited to blood pressure and wounds. We provided any and all care.”

Looking forward to the future of her nursing career, Martinez says her goal is, “To continue to expand my reach and provide the needed primary care based on research and evidence. My hope would be to become a nurse practitioner with a public health focus by obtaining a dual master’s in public health and nursing.”

Global Health is one of the primary areas of focus of the RWJBarnabas Health Social Impact and Community Investment (SICI) Practice, which is aimed at addressing the social, economic and environmental conditions that contribute to poor health outcomes, reduced life expectancy and higher costs. These “social determinants of health” include economic instability, lack of education, food insecurity, unaffordable housing and unsafe living environments. The Office of Global Health directs the system’s medical global affairs initiatives which aim to advance medical best practices and health equity in the United States and around the world.

RWJBarnabas Health’s global health outreach efforts include international disaster response, maternal and child health initiatives and global health research with domestic and international university partners, including Rutgers University. The office directs professional development for system physicians and clinicians interested in participating in global health initiatives and sets the system’s global health research agenda which is focused on understanding and solving pressing global health problems that transcend borders.

International Nurse's Day

About RWJBarnabas Health
RWJBarnabas Health is the most comprehensive health care delivery system in New Jersey, with a service area covering five million people. The system includes eleven acute care hospitals – Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, Community Medical Center in Toms River, Jersey City Medical Center in Jersey City, Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, RWJUH- New Brunswick, RWJUH- Somerset in Somerville, RWJUH- Hamilton, RWJUH- Rahway and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston; three acute care children’s hospitals and a leading pediatric rehabilitation hospital (Children’s Specialized Hospital), a freestanding 100-bed behavioral health center, trauma centers, a satellite emergency department, ambulatory care centers, geriatric centers, the state’s largest behavioral health network, comprehensive home care and hospice programs, fitness and wellness centers, retail pharmacy services, a medical group, multi-site imaging centers and an accountable care organization.

RWJBarnabas Health is New Jersey’s largest private employer – with more than 33,000 employees, 9,000 physicians and 1,000 residents and interns – and routinely captures national awards for outstanding quality and safety.

Media Contact:
Ellen Greene
(973) 322-4018
Ellen.Greene@rwjbh.org