Show your pride and passion
Nursing excellence award winners explain how National Nurses Week inspires them
By Janice Petrella Lynch, MSN, RN
EDITOR'S NOTE: Quotes compiled by Janice Petrella Lynch, MSN, RN, former nurse editor/nurse executive for OnCourse Learning.
Five remarkable nurses won the coveted national nursing excellence awards in the 2016 GEM program.
Their colleagues and co-workers describe them as inspirational and most deserving of the recognition they received. reached out to them to find out what National Nurses Week means to them, how they recognize others at their own facilities and their reflections on the importance of nurse appreciation.
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Tamre Del Valle, MSN, RN
Director of ED and Cardiac Cath Lab Valley Presbyterian Hospital Van Nuys, Calif.
"Nurses Week offers us a nursing timeout to acknowledge one another and the role our profession plays in healthcare. In some settings, nursing celebrates the history of nursing while others celebrate the profession by acknowledging mentors, peers and those who consistently go above and beyond.
"However you choose to observe Nurses Week, may it inspire you to acknowledge the gratitude that surrounds you, practice as a role model for our future nurses and serve as an advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. Be sure to appreciate the boundless energy of your new graduates as well as the amazing experiences your mentors, educators and leaders offer.
"We recently placed a Four Stars board at our nurses station, which represent the four disciplines of our healthcare team — RNs, EMTs, physicians and nurse practitioners/physician assistants . Nurses and our interprofessional colleagues leave 'star notes' in recognition of others, and they are posted in the department for everyone to see and hear about at staff meetings. We are strengthened by the support we give one another, both in our individual roles and in our team collaboration."
Lauren Micale, BSN, RN, CPHON
Clinical Nurse, Bone Marrow Transplant/Hematology Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children Wilmington, Del.
"Nurses Week is a wonderful time to acclaim nurses and the incredible work they do. Our nursing shared governance councils support various activities and events, and my local chapter of the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses holds a raffle to support a new member in joining the organization and a current member in renewing their membership. We also hold a breakfast and awards ceremony, in which nurses, nominated by their peers, are recognized. There’s tremendous multidisciplinary support, which highlights the importance of our professional work and the collaboration with our interprofessional partners.
"Show others their good work is appreciated by, for example, giving praise in the moment, talking to a colleague’s manager, writing a complimentary note or nominating colleagues for nursing awards. Nurses Week gives us a chance to honor nurses who practice in all specialties and settings and who make a difference in the lives of their patients and families.
"Let’s celebrate and enjoy one another during Nurses Week and continue it throughout the year."
Kimberly Pearson, MHA, MBA, RN, CCHP
Deputy Agency Director, Correctional Health Services County of Orange, Health Care Agency Santa Ana, Calif.
"It’s been said that saving a life makes someone a hero. Nurses save hundreds of lives over their careers, and that’s certainly something to applaud.
"Giving out pens or lanyards during Nurses Week is thoughtful, but I believe what nurses really want is sincere appreciation and true respect for the strengths, skills and services they provide every day. Nursing plays a significant role in most healthcare delivery models, and the most effective collaborations begin with mutual respect.
"We recognize nurses all year long for doing great work through letters of appreciation, highlighting them in our agency blog and congratulating them on their achievements at award presentations. Ongoing recognition is key because nurses are doing wonderful things every day on behalf of our patients and families.
"One of our most successful award programs is modeled after the starfish story (aka "The Star Thrower" story by Loren Eisley, a popular essay about making a difference one person at a time), and we call it the “The Starfish Award.” Receiving this peer-nominated award means you made a difference, and that is what nursing is all about."
Michele Rubin, MSN, APN, CNS-BC, CGRN
Clinical Nurse Specialist, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Colorectal Surgery University of Chicago Medicine
"Nurses Week is a special time to recognize nurses for delivering evidenced-based, safe, high-quality and compassionate patient care. We can stand proud and recognize our colleagues who perform acts of kindness, go above and beyond to help others, listen with a compassionate heart and offer a healing touch.
"We have celebrated Nurses Week by hosting lectures on career advancement and education, an awards ceremony for nurses who have been nominated by colleagues for excellence in care delivery and professionalism and a breakfast for tenured nurses, as well as offering body massages and blessing of the hands.
"We recognize our colleagues throughout the year by saying, "Thank you for what you do" or "Hey, you did a good job today." Nurses need to know what they do every day does not go unnoticed and does make a difference in other people’s lives. It is amazing how a simple greeting, humor and a smile can brighten someone’s day. Be proud to be a nurse and be sure to celebrate your professional accomplishments."
Cedar Wang, MSN, RN, APN, GNP-BC, CHSE
Director of Simulation Education Holy Name Medical Center Teaneck, N.J.
"Nurses Week is a special time for nurses to pat each other on the back and to celebrate the important contributions we make not only within our organizations, but also with those in our communities.
"Nursing’s strong and quiet presence is celebrated quite loudly at Holy Name Medical Center each year. Nurses are recognized throughout the organization with daily events such as massages, wellness classes and special giveaways including gift baskets, uniform raffles and gym memberships. A celebratory meal hosted by our CNO is a highlight of the week.
"Nurses serve alongside every other healthcare-related discipline, and our unity and collaboration with these interprofessional providers make their professions even more effective. Without nurses’ collective intervention, the surgeon’s incision may not heal properly, the social worker’s recommendation may not be carried through, or the medication may not be taken correctly at home.
"Nurses are the face of healthcare to patients and their families."
Lynch's defining moment in nursing
"When I decided to accept a grant to pursue my graduate studies in nursing education, I knew it would influence my career path. And it certainly did. After graduation, I served in nursing faculty positions, while practicing at local facilities. It was wonderful to make a difference in the lives of patients and families as well as nursing students. I learned so much along the way from all of them, and I am proud to say I have remained in nursing education. Sometimes we make choices without even realizing how they will impact our career. Be sure to pause during this National Nurses Week to celebrate your accomplishments and think about where you are heading in your professional journey."
Janice Petrella Lynch, MSN, BSN, RN
Director, Help and Resource Center
Marfan Foundation
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