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UHS recognizes nurses, the lifeblood of care

May 10, 2024

Healthcare in the U.S. has changed dramatically over the past 50 years and the profession of nursing has evolved with it, becoming more indispensable than ever in creating a great patient experience. Nursing today is often called the “lifeblood of healthcare organizations.”

This evolution has resulted in nurses being trained to a higher level of professional practice than ever before and, with their extensive education and hands-on skills, being acknowledged as highly respected members of the health care team.

“At UHS, nurses are the heart of the caregiving experience, providing direct bedside care, promoting health, fostering ongoing education and preventing disease,” said Kay Boland, RN, senior vice president, chief nursing officer and chief operating officer of UHS. “They work with patients, families and our community to bring forward information about important health topics. They play a key role in improving healthcare access and quality and can influence whether a patient feels respected and cared for during treatment.”

There is no better time to recognize and honor a nurse than during National Nurses Week, observed May 6 to 12. The celebration begins with National Nurses Day on May 6 and ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), the founder of modern nursing. The year 2024 is the 70th year of a nationally recognized Nurses Week celebration.

PHOTOS: Employees across the UHS System thank all of our nursing staff for their commitment to care in our communities.

Thank you Nurses!

Partners in every care setting

Nurses today are partners with all the other members of the patient care team in every clinical setting, from the operating room to home care. Nursing skill sets are exceptional and comparable to those of the most demanding professional disciplines. 

“In a complex organization like a health system, it is impossible for one person or profession to have all the expertise. That’s why provider and nurse relationships are not only important but resonate with all of us at UHS,” said Jeffrey Gray, MD, vice president of Hospital-Based Services at UHS and UHS Hospitals. “This partnership for care delivery is what allows us to provide the care we do and the strong practice environment.”

Nurses possess extensive knowledge and expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of disease while at the same time being advocates for the Culture of Safety in patient care and serving as the compassionate, calming presence during the healing process. Sometimes referred to as the “chameleons of healthcare,” with the ability to adapt to various situations and manage the realities of modern healthcare, they are known for showing empathy toward the most vulnerable in our society.

The primary role of a nurse is to be a caregiver for patients by managing physical needs, preventing illness and treating health conditions. However, nurses must often pay close attention to every detail of the patient's treatment and responsiveness. If a problem arises, nurses will often be the first to notice. That is why UHS nurses are directly involved in the decision-making process of treating patients, playing a huge role at every level and stage of care.

In addition to their role as clinicians, nurses often provide emotional support for their patients and patients’ families. This can include ensuring that the patient understands and is prepared for their treatment, listening to patients, and assessing their physical, emotional, cultural, mental and spiritual needs.

“Nurses really are the backbone of our delivery of care at UHS as patient advocates and skilled providers,” said Peggy Thomas, RN, vice president for Nursing at UHS Hospitals. “As an organization, we are grateful to our nurses for what they do every day to help us meet the needs of our community.”

Empowered leaders

Our nurses do much more than just care for our patients; they are empowered leaders.

Because of nurses’ constant involvement, they are essential to the partnership that includes physicians, therapists, technicians and other allied health professionals. 

Our clinical practitioners form multi-disciplinary teams that continually improve the day-to-day care experiences of patients. Nurses make each other’s capabilities in the practice of their profession richer and more effective by sharing knowledge and expertise.

This is accomplished through “Shared Governance,” where registered nurses actively participate in unit and specialty nursing councils throughout the UHS System. These staff-led councils work closely with leadership to make improvements and changes that align with evidence-based practice and improved patient care experiences.

Recognized for excellence

UHS understands the dedication of our nurses and has put in place a number of measures to recognize and reward outstanding nursing care. One of the highest profiles of these is the DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Award.

The DAISY Award is an international recognition program that honors and celebrates the skillful, compassionate care nurses provide every day. The UHS edition of this program to honor extraordinary nurses started in April 2021. Nurses are nominated by anyone in the organization — patients, family members, other nurses, physicians, other clinicians and staff — who experience or observe extraordinary care being provided by a nurse.

“This award is the highest recognition that any nurse at UHS can receive,” said Toni Nash, RN, Director of Nursing Education and Professional Practice. “It is a reflection of the high quality of nursing care offered to UHS patients and of the tremendous contributions to care that are made every day by individual nurses on our team.”

Each month, one nominee is selected and celebrated at an organizational and national level. Our 2023 recipients include: Julie Kotasek, Deborah Bell, Kailey Huff, Kaitlyn Koban, Gwen Wheeler, Julia Amell, Casey Joy, Stephie Safari, Margaret Heath, Jola Scheepsma and Michelle Cerutti.

In 2022, UHS added a DAISY Team Award, bestowed once a year during Nurses’ Week. Congratulations to the North Tower 4 nursing team at UHS Wilson Medical Center, and the UHS Labor & Delivery team, also at UHS Wilson Medical Center, who were recognized in 2022 and 2023.

This year, the Nurse Practitioners in the UHS Palliative Medicine Department are being honored. Nurses on the exceptional team include Rebekah Dickman, NP; Alyssa Cox, NP; Jennifer Whelan, NP; and Madison Stelmach, NP.

If you have been touched by the hard work of a nurse or nursing team at UHS and would like to provide a nomination for a DAISY Award, please complete a form by clicking here.

Growing a passionate team

As demands increase for the provision of quality healthcare services, UHS continues to invest in our nursing team. We may be the region’s largest healthcare system, but we’re also known for our small-town, family-oriented atmosphere and the friendly way employees support one another: we lift each other up and work together to put our patients first. Kindness is the norm.

Nurses joining UHS could have the opportunity to work in the new state-of-the-art Wilson Main Tower that is opening in May. New technologies like pCare, a digital display system that will occupy every room, is just one of the many modern technologies being adopted as part of the Wilson Main Tower.

Our nurses are key participants in our culture, recognized by the community and their colleagues for their commitment to our Values, provision of helpful service and devotion to supporting colleagues no matter the challenges that present themselves.

Whether you are an experienced nurse or just launching your career, you can find a home at UHS.  Here, you’ll be positioned to succeed so you can do what you do best:  listen to, respect, care for and give hope to our patients. Learn more about our many exciting nursing opportunities by clicking here.