Friday, 24 September 2010 00:00
Nancy Kostel-Donlon, 52, a lifelong Queens and Long Island native, passed away on Sept. 17, 2010 from a ruptured brain aneurysm. Born on July 10, 1958, she had just celebrated her 30th anniversary as a nurse, educator and mentor. She spent her entire professional life helping to save countless lives and her last official act was to donate her organs so that others may live, see and fight diseases like cancer and diabetes. Her most recent accomplishment was helping to a establish a stroke treatment center at the world renowned St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn.
In addition to the countless hours spent at St. Francis, she and her family are tireless fundraisers for NSSA – Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism. They have two children, Alex 16 and Brianna 13. Her son Alex was diagnosed with autism when he was 18 months old. She has made his treatment a very personal cause.
She is survived by her husband, Bill Donlon, a retired NYC transit policeman. He spent countless hours at Ground Zero immediately after the attack on 9/11 aiding in the search and recovery. Today he works for EDEN II and runs two group homes on Long Island for young adults with Autism. He is also the president of the Holy Family CYO and coaches several teams. She is also survived by her brothers, Andy and Mike, and her sister Faith, all lifelong New Yorkers.
There are so many more personal details about her life to add. Here is just one anecdote about her career. Our family was visiting my mother in St. Francis Hospital being treated for emphysema. All of a sudden a patient in an adjoining room went into cardiac arrest. She calmly left the room, grabbed a crash cart and brought him back to life. She came back into my mother’s room as if nothing had happened. She had saved another life and she wasn’t even on a shift.
Nancy began her nursing career at Hunter College-Bellevue School of Nursing (Class of 1980). She immediately focused her professional goals in the field of critical care nursing. She promoted quality patient care and improvements in the practice environment before the Magnet Recognition Program identified “innovation” as nursing excellence. In 1984-1998 Mary Immaculate Hospital (Trauma I) afforded her the experience to advance as a critical care nurse and trauma nurse specialist for Catholic Medical Center at Brooklyn and Queens.
Nancy joined the nursing department at St. Francis Hospital in 1998. Her professional background and her enthusiasm for nursing was impressive and shine Nancy did. She played a role in interdisciplinary committee work, advanced evidence-based practice and became the founding member of the Nursing Research Committee. Nancy offered her expertise beyond the walls of St. Francis Hospital by mentoring the students of clinical nurse specialists programs.
In 2006, Nancy was named the Stroke Coordinator of St. Francis Hospital. Through her tenacity and vision, a hospital-wide Neurological Rapid Response Team was developed. In 2010 St. Francis Hospital was awarded the Silver Plus Award for stroke care as result of her efforts.
Nancy, who already held a master’s degree in nursing, was in her final phase of completing her master’s degree in business administration. She represented St. Francis Hospital at numerous national conferences, including presentations at the ANCC Magnet and American Heart Association. Nancy willingly mentored and precepted nurses in graduate education.
Nancy’s ability to lead was based on the mission and vision of the hospital. Her leadership style was fostered in her commitment to excellence regarding the care of body, mind and spirit. Nancy effected many positive outcomes. She facilitated the patient safety initiative in the crew resource management program with Team Performance Plus for the Emergency Department. As a nursing leader in the Emergency Department, she led the First Impressions Program with staff education, including the security department.
Nancy’s ability to succeed is directly related to her stakeholder interaction within the institutions, organizations, communities and professions. This has resulted in: Nomination as the St. Francis Hospital Nurse of Distinction Award for the Nassau Suffolk Hospital Association in 2008. Elected as the educational chairperson for the Greater NY Metropolitan Stroke Coordinators Consortium and passionately assisted St. Francis Hospital in achieving Magnet Designation.
The wake for Nancy Kostel-Donlon was held at Dalton Funeral Home, Hicksville, on Sept. 20 and 21. Funeral services were held at Holy Family RC Church Sept. 22. A private cremation followed. In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate donations to Alex and Brianna’s education fund. Donations should be made out to Brianna Donlan. Contact Dalton Funeral home for details 931-0262.
(Submitted by the family of Nancy Kostel – Donlon)