Celebrating Nurses Week: Advocating, Leading and Caring! - Atlanta VA Health Care System
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Celebrating Nurses Week: Advocating, Leading and Caring!

Nurses Week
Thursday, May 31, 2012

By Aimee Manion, DNP, RN-BC, CMSRN and Jeanne L. Overby, MSN, RN, CMSRN

Always a time for celebration, recognition and reflection, Nurses Week begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. The Atlanta VAMC Nursing Education department organized the activities for the 2012 celebration and focused on promoting this year’s theme, Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring.

We kicked off the week-long event on Monday when three Atlanta VAMC Caritas Coaches - Cheryl T. Handy, MN, RN, NE-BC; Chanda Harrison, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC; and Cynthia Rucker, MSN, RN-BC,NE-BC - facilitated a moving Centering session based on Caritas Process #1"Cultivating the practice of loving, kindness and equanimity toward self and others as a foundation to Caritas consciousness." The event continued with a special presentation sponsored by the Atlanta VA Nurses Chapter of Georgia Nurses Association (GNA). Ms. Kim Richards, RN Integrative Nurse Coach and founder/owner of the Self-Care Academy, presented an energizing and inspiring presentation. Ms Richards had everyone on their feet for a short Zumba session and then shared the signs and symptoms of Compassion Fatigue and how to build a self care tool kit.

To honor the role of nurses in providing compassionate care to others, Chaplain Services conducted its annual Blessing of the Hands ceremony which symbolizes the commitment of nurses to heal and minister to the sick. Tuesday featured Showtime at the Atlanta VAMC. The event showcased nursing staff members from various inpatient units, outpatient clinics and CBOCs. Samuel Strothers, MSN, RN, staff nurse in SICU, served as the Master of Ceremonies. His humor and unique charm had the audience laughing throughout the show. Playing the role of on-the-scene reporter, Damon Ingram, surgical technician assigned to Surgical Services, provided entertaining commentary between acts. Jesse Hall, LPN in the Purple Clinic, performed a rendition of R&B singer Kem’s When Love Calls Your Name that brought the audience to its feet. Deniece Anderson, RN in Ambulatory Surgery, sang a heartfelt rendition of Show Me How to Love.

Lamarr Jeffries, NA/PSA, Nursing recruitment and retention, performed a stirring version of In the Midst of the Rain. Janice Ivery, MSN, RN-BC, Decatur Clinic, provided a moving vocal interpretation of Wind Beneath My Wings.

A creative group of nurses assigned to the Palliative Care Unit - LaRita Whidby, BSN, RN; Willis Mark, LPN; Felicia Wright, LPN; Saunique Bucknor, BSN, RN, CMSRN; LaToya Ortiz, RN; Edith Ezeigbo, RN and Tiffany Slater from Canteen Services - presented a heart wrenching skit about death and dying entitled A Journey Thru Palliative Care. This awe-inspiring performance evoked emotion throughout the audience. Joy Higgins, MSN, RN, CPN, displayed poise and talent during her piano performance of J.S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Prelude No. 1. Dorothy House, MSN, RN, Quality Management and Michael Foles, BSN, RN, SICU, provided comic relief with side-splitting jokes and commentary. Nursing Leadership got into the spirit of fun and excitement by participating in an impromptu flash mob. The flash mob routine, choreographed by Nivia Crawford, MBA, BSN,RN, CHCR, centered around the Nurses Week Theme of Caring, Advocating and Leading. The flash mob had the audience on their feet dancing, laughing and actively participating. No doubt, the talent show scored high marks with those who attended. Wednesday, the theme of Advocating took center stage when the Nursing Shared Governance Council sponsored and participated in a Patient Family Centered Care Nursing module held in the Chapel. Joy Higgins, MSN, RN, CPN, Patient Safety Chief, facilitated the session. The theme of Leading highlighted activities held on Thursday, featuring The Nurse Excellence Awards. The annual ceremony recognized the accomplishments of registered, licensed practical nurses as well as advanced practice nurses and nursing assistants during the previous year.

Nurses received awards in several categories including: Fall Fest Awards, Perfect Attendance, Completion of Degree Requirements, Special Accomplishment Awards and the prestigious VA Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Nursing. The four winners were Cynthia Thomas, BSN, RN-BC, (RN Staff Nurse Award); Katurah Windham, MSN, RN, CEN, (RN Expanded Role Award); Talmara Stanley, LPN, (LPN Staff Award); and Teresa Halladay, HCT (NA/HCT Award). Ms. Windham and Ms. Halladay were also the VISN level winners in their categories.

Nursing Education would like to acknowledge members of the 2012 Nurses Week committee for their enthusiasm and hard work. Their devotion to recognizing their profession and their colleagues made Nursing Week 2012 a great success and a reflection of the dedication and excellence displayed everyday by our inspiring VA Nursing Staff.


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