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iCON | Intranet for the College of Nursing
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MSU alumnus honored with Nightingale Award


Michele Maloff, ’82, will be awarded the Oakland University Nightingale Awards for Nursing Excellence in the Excellence in Nursing Leadership category. A graduate of the College of Nursing’s BSN program, Maloff joins an elite group of Michigan nurses that went above and beyond for their communities. Award winners receive a $1,000 cash prize along with a bronze Florence Nightingale statue made by a Clarkston, MI artist.

Maloff was nominated for the award for her accomplishments increasing the Nurse Family Partnership’s (NFP) caseload. She oversaw NFP’s nurse home visitors as they developed trusting relationships with expecting mothers in Oakland County. Maloff manages NFP’s continuing quality improvement (CQI) program that allows healthcare professionals to examine data on visit consistency, appointment scheduling, what information was given to a patient at their visit, etc.

In this project, Maloff’s goal was to increase postpartum visits. Maloff’s team researched how physicians and other providers emphasized the importance of postpartum visits to their patients. With this information, the team successfully implemented a standardized postpartum visit tool, titled, Your Six Week Postpartum Checkup: A healthcare guide for new mothers.

“We found that it is of upmost importance start talking about these things early. Don’t wait until mom has the baby, then she is overwhelmed,” said Maloff discussing the benefits of the new standardized tool. “You want to start introducing these ideas throughout the time you’re visiting with the client.”

A large barrier to the project’s success was the high concern for health safety that the COVID-19 pandemic generated. Social distancing, decreased opportunities for appointments in physicians’ offices, and patients’ fear for their family’s health combined to form a sense of anxiety around postpartum care. “We had to do an intense outreach program as things became more normal,” Maloff said. Her team worked diligently in Oakland County and collaborated with other counties with public postpartum care. “We went into provider offices, beauty shops, barber shops, churches, libraries, all places where we could post information.”

Maloff engaged with patients in the community through print material, public advertising, and barcoded flyers for quick enrollment. NFP’s active outreach brought their caseload from a pandemic low 56% to 89% capacity as of March 2023. Enrollment continues to grow as engagement tactics expand to sharing impactful testimonials from former and current patients.

The first two years of Maloff’s nursing career took place in a postpartum nursery ward in a Detroit hospital. Maloff wanted to ensure both mom and baby could live a fulfilled, healthy life through the child’s early years. During her time at the hospital, nurses became short-staffed. The fast pace of hospitals reached near blinding speeds, explained Maloff. “I felt like it was just rushing. You were rushing through the patients, and I felt like I wasn’t able to do the teaching I wanted to do.”

Maloff emphasized the importance of teaching pre- and postpartum patients. “There’s so much to learn, especially for first time moms. Throughout the whole pregnancy and after, there’s a lot of information to make sense of.” The education aspect of maternal health drew Maloff to the public health field. It allowed her to incorporate teaching into her nursing career. “I get the best of both worlds. I get to interact moms and babies, and I get to teach.”