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Heart Transplant Specialist Recognized in St. Louis Magazine’s Annual Excellence in Nursing Awards 

For fifteen years St. Louis Magazine has published a list recognizing nursing specialists throughout the area, highlighting the service they provide to their community.

This year, the Department of Surgery’s Lynelle Jolliff, RN, MSN, APRN-BC, was selected by St. Louis Magazine for the 2024 Excellence in Nursing Award for the category of Advanced Practice. As a member of the cardiac surgery team at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University’s Section of Cardiac Surgery, her expertise is integral to maintaining one of the highest performing cardiac centers in the nation, recognized for offering a wide variety of care.

A panel of representatives from professional medical organizations and medical centers selected finalists across many specializations. The winners represent professionals providing care at the highest standard in specializations such as intensive care, behavioral health, educators and school nurses. This year’s winners appeared in the magazine’s May issue and were honored at a ticketed reception at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center on May 16. Kelly Bochicchio, RN, was also among the finalists selected by the panelists for the category of nursing research.

As part of her regular duties, Jolliff attends patients in the office setting, providing pre-surgery education to patients and their loved ones. She also supports the three heart failure surgeons, also attending their general cardiac surgery patients, providing extra corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and post-ECMO follow-up services. 

“Part of the educational service I offer LVAD patients and families relates to managing equipment, as well as some complications and risks associated,” says Jolliff.

Living with left ventricular assist device (LVAD) can be a challenge, but Jolliff helped update patient education so that families and patients can live more comfortably.

Apart from LVAD patients, Jolliff also provides care for patients suffering from congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, valve disease and patients with reduced ejection fraction—an indicator of a heart’s inability to pump blood out to the body efficiently.

Jolliff works closely with heart failure specialists including Amit Pawale, MD, M. Faraz Masood, MD, and Kunal Kotkar, MD, primarily on life-saving cardiac operations. Jolliff is a nurse practitioner, offering the team mechanical support in the LVAD and heart transplant program.

“I am immensely humbled by this recognition,” says Jolliff. “This is as much for our multidisciplinary surgical team and the coordinators who collaborate to attend patients.”

In 2022, Pawale was named surgical director of the Heart Transplant, VAD and ECMO program at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Since he began leading the program and performing these highly specialized surgical procedures, Pawale’s recruiting efforts have focused on nurturing cohesive teamwork along each component to cater to patients.

“Our team’s successes require a collaborative effort to achieve,” says Pawale. “Without excellent nurse practitioners such as Lynelle, our team would be incomplete. Her input in preoperative patient assessment and postoperative follow up, crafting and updating patient education with expert knowledge has been indispensable.”

Having developed and applied several process-improvement initiatives currently in use at the cardiac center, her contributions to patient education literature outlining the criteria for patient selection for LVAD implementation helps patients understand what to expect and if they qualify for the procedure. In her interview for St. Louis Magazine, she cites her strong desire to provide excellent care as the driving force behind her continuing commitment to her practice.

Congratulations to all those who were recognized in the annual list for providing expert care in their respective fields.