Georganne Trandum, director of Gig Harbor-based Improving Care Through the End of Life program, was recognized in December with the Nurse of the Year award by the Washington Chapter of the March of Dimes. Trandum, a Key Peninsula resident, was recognized for her leadership, one of several categories. The award was in recognition of “a nurse who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in nursing or patient care services in any setting.” About 200 nominations were received.

Georganne Trandum

Trandum was nominated by several members of her staff, who wrote in the nomination letter, “From pediatrics to end-of-life care, Georganne Trandum, RN, has pioneered advocacy, innovation and leadership in promoting excellence in nursing and within her community.”

Trandum helped found the End of Life program, part of Franciscan Health Systems, about 10 years ago with the goal of providing support to patients with life-threatening illnesses and their families. The program is based in Gig Harbor, and has nearly 800 patients in 10 clinics.

Trandum said she was “shocked” to receive the award. “It’s a recognition of the work I’ve done. It holds nurses up as an example in all those categories,” she said.

Trandum’s healthcare background includes oncology and bone marrow transplant nursing. She has received various other awards, including the Circle of Life Award from the American Hospital Association in 2000 and the FHS Strategy Pillar Award for the Best Place to Work.

She has served on the Franciscan Regional Ethics Committee for 14 years, and co-founded the End of Life program as part of her ethics work, realizing a new standard of care was needed for those facing terminal illnesses.

“The tasks before her were daunting: creating the EOL mission statement, writing policies/procedures and operating manuals, developing data collection software, recruiting and training staff as well as extensive education for healthcare providers and the community at large,” the nomination letter said. “The results? Significant improvement in patient satisfaction for medical care, reduced emergency room and hospitalization utilization, increased hospice utilization (81 percent) and patient-centered/directed end-of-life care.”

Trandum travels around the country to speak at conferences and educate healthcare professionals and students. She authored a training manual and helped hospital systems in three other states to replicate the FHS End of Life program. Recently, she added on additional duties, managing Franciscan’s hospital-based palliative care consultation services.