Nursing Professor, Doctoral Student Christiam Fajardo ’09, MS ’17, DNP ’22 Honored by March of Dimes as Nurse Manager of the Year

Fajardo (front center) with some of the nurses on his team

William Paterson University doctoral student and adjunct professor of nursing Christiam Fajardo ’09, MS ’17, who has received many recognitions during his career in the healthcare field, can now add March of Dime Nurse Manager of the Year to his list of achievements. Since 2008, Fajardo has worked for the St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, currently serving in the role of Critical Care Nurse Manager where he oversees a fulltime staff of 113.

The award recognizes nursing excellence and achievements in research, education, quality patient care innovation, and leadership. With frontline health systems being on the forefront of the coronavirus pandemic for the better part of a year, the accolade feels a bit more special.

“With all healthcare managers doing their best around the country, to be singled out took my breath away,” says Fajardo. “I could not have been more honored.”

In the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fajardo had to balance his internal fears and anxieties and put on a good face for his staff. With so many people looking for guidance, Fajardo implemented morale-boosting exercises and activities. Among them was a recognition wall, where staff family members could post pictures and notes to encourage their loved ones on the frontline. Huddles and debriefings began every shift, and when a patient did pass, Fajardo led pauses for dignity, which acknowledged not only the patient but also the collective efforts of the entire unit.

Upon learning that he won the award, Fajardo was humbled, but also validated for the work he put into guiding the staff and getting their goals accomplished.

“My passion is mentoring and I put a lot of work into that,” adds Fajardo. “I had support in my past and I want to pass that leadership and coaching on to my peers and students.”