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Marc Fliegelman Named Nursing Excellence Finalist

April 22, 2014

"To keep patients comfortable is my primary concern," said Marc Fliegelman, a nurse at the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services Center. Fliegelman has been working as a community public health nurse since graduating from nursing school in the 1970s. He has just been named a 2014 Philadelphia/Tri-State Nursing Excellence GEM Award regional finalist in the Home, Community & Ambulatory Care category. 

"It's really a privilege to be a part of the team at 11th Street," Fliegelman said.  "I'm excited to be named a finalist for this award."

Fliegelman spent the majority of his career in hospice care helping patients feel comfortable during the final days of their lives. He uses his experiences to teach Drexel nursing students during their community public health (CPH) clinical rotations. He said that, in addition to the medical knowledge a nurse needs to have, being a nurse also means being a social worker, a therapist, and a support person for patients and families. 

"A great transformation happens with the students, even within a ten-week term," Fliegelman elaborated. “They see the reality in peoples’ homes with their families.”  Students on CPH rotation learn that people live in an infinite number of situations and have many family constellations. Some of the families they visit are a lot like their own families, with many problems and barriers to good health. They also learn that a lot of the problems patients face are psychosocial.  It may be hard for a patient to be healthy due to the environment they live in or because of financial challenges they face.  Students on CPH rotation have gotten the opportunity to make house visits to patients in diverse living situations around North Philadelphia, including patients residing in homeless shelters.

Fliegelman continues to make house visits as part of his work at 11th Street. "People call me for anything they need," he said.  He helps patients access transportation to care, build family relationships, find food, and pay for utilities. A lot of the time he visits patients and just sits and listens. Some patients don't have anyone they can talk to and they are thrilled to have someone listen to them, he said. 

"Compassion for other people is the key ingredient to being a great nurse," Fliegelman finished.

Fliegelman will be honored at the Nursing Excellence GEM Awards program on May 13 at the Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue. At the event, one finalist in each category will be named a regional winner, and those six will then move on to the national program representing this region. The six national winners, who will be selected from among all of our regional winners from coast to coast, will then be announced in the fall.