Alumna named one of Houston's top 10 nurses
Ann Kubanda. Contributed photo by John Lynch, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System.
(May 16, 2011)
A Texas neonatal intensive care nurse and East Carolina University alumna has been named one of Houston’s Top 10 nurses.
Ann Gray Kubanda (BSN ’81) is a nurse and physician liaison at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, where she has worked almost 25 years. She was honored in 2002 and 2008 as the hospital’s employee of the year.
In 2008, she started and still maintains a line team in the neonatal intensive care unit that has been instrumental in significantly reducing catheter-related blood stream infections in babies.
Among her contributions, Kubanda has been making bereavement gowns for premature infants since she became a nurse.
“Many times, the deaths of these infants are unexpected, and often the parents don’t have time or resources to buy clothing,” she said.
Kubanda has two sons, Michael, 23, and Matthew, 22, and she has been married 28 years to George Kubanda, who is an alumnus of ECU and Warren Wilson College. They attend as many ECU football games held in the Houston area as possible. Her mother, Mary Ann Gray, still lives in Greenville. One of six children, Kubanda has a brother and two sisters who also graduated from ECU.
While she never thought of doing anything else, Kubanda believes her and her twin sister’s premature birth probably motivated her work in neonatal nursing. Her nursing career began 31 years ago at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville.
The Houston Chronicle each year recognizes 10 outstanding nurses from Greater Houston’s health care community during National Nurses Week, celebrated each year May 6-12. More than 700 nominations were received and the newspaper featured the winners in its May 8 issue.
“This award took me totally by surprise,” Kubanda said. “I am honored to work in an environment where colleagues and management encourage growth and autonomy. Their support strengthens my passion to give back, and I do this through the outlet that prompted my nomination and subsequent award.”
Nursing colleague Gina Leigh Jones submitted the nomination describing Kubanda’s role at the hospital and her commitment to the neonatal intensive care unit’s End of Life/Bereavement Team.
“When infants die, their parents are left with often so little of their precious baby. Memory making is so important, as it give parents something tangible of their child. Families have not had the time to create memories as their baby has never left the hospital. Therefore, it is up to us to provide everything we can for parents, a record of their child and their story,” Jones said, noting that Kubanda purchases fabric and makes keepsake gowns in many different sizes for parents. “Infants are placed in the gowns, and the last images of their baby are often in one of her gowns, as their son or daughter, and not of a dying baby in a bed.”
Kubanda also created a pattern and buys fabrics to make memory envelopes for parents to take home keepsakes of their children.
“Ann does all of this in addition to her responsibilities as physician liaison, staff nurse and member of multiple working committees,” Jones said. “Ann Kubanda exemplifies all of the qualities and more of what a caregiver should and can be. She is a role model for me and all who work with her as she profoundly touches lives and families never forget her kindness.”
Ann Kubanda shows some of the bereavement gowns and a memory envelope she has made for her patients and parents. Contributed photo by John Lynch, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System.