In every hospital, nurses are vital members of a team that keeps beloved family and friends safe, healthy, and comfortable during difficult times. So to show their appreciation for all that nurses do, Porter Regional Hospital held its first Nursing Awards Ceremony Thursday afternoon.
The awards ceremony was a perfect way to celebrate National Nurses Week, a national holiday celebrating nurses around the country and thanking them for all that they do for their hospitals, their patients, physicians, and fellow nurses.
“This is our first Nurses Week Awards and Recognition Ceremony,” said Stacey Kellogg, Regional Manager Community Relations for Porter Regional Hospital. “The ceremony is really just a way to help recognize the professionalism nurses bring to our hospital and their commitment to patient care.”
In the first of what will hopefully become an annual celebration, 97 hardworking and dedicated nurses who work throughout the Porter Health Care System were nominated for the five awards given out Thursday afternoon.
“What’s nice about the awards is that many of the nominees were nominated by their fellow nurses, patients, or family members,” Kellogg explained. “So it really is a comprehensive recognition from just about everybody involved.”
Nurses from every department made their way to the hospital’s Community Room where they were greeted by coworkers, family, and friends. Everyone was treated with refreshments and bite-sized desserts to satisfy that mid-afternoon sweet tooth. When the ceremony started, a prayer was led by Mike Porter of the Spiritual Care Department and opening remarks were given by Terrie Fontenot, Chief Nursing Officer and Steve Lunn, CEO of Porter Regional Hospital.
“Today is one opportunity to show our appreciation and recognize the folks who go above and beyond each and every day,” Lunn said. “The nursing staff does a wonderful job for our patients and they are always setting the bar pretty high.”
Five awards were given out Thursday afternoon: the Daisy Award for Outstanding Nurse, the Pay-It-Forward Award for Nurses Recognition for Team Support, Nursing Leadership Award for Excellence in Nursing Leadership, the Spirit Award for Rookie of the Year, and the Educator Award for Excellence in Nursing Education.
When awards were presented, the nominees were asked to come to the front of the room to be recognized for their excellent service. Presenters of the awards then read the nomination letters written by the people who nominated their fellow nurses for all they do. Tears were shed when the emotional and heartfelt letters were read as everyone was reminded of a time when a fellow nurse went above and beyond for the hospital, their patients, and other nurses they have the privilege to call friends.
“We went into this profession not because it’s an easy one, but because we are drawn to care for others,” Fontenot said. “I think there comes a time when you have to pause and recognize how much, as a nurse, you have given and be able to recognize yourself for the kind of care you’ve provided.”
One of those nurses who has always gone above and beyond for her patients and fellow nurses was Maryann Mihalik, who was awarded the Daisy Award for her compassion she shows to everyone she meets.
As her nomination letter was read, moments of her compassion were recognized, from handing out American flags to patients and staff who are veterans, to being at her friends side as she went in for surgery, to even stepping up to care for the young daughters of a co-worker who had recently passed away. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as Mihalik’s name was called and everyone cheered and clapped as they gave her a standing ovation to thank her for everything she has done in her long career.
“It’s really an honor,” Mihalik said. “I love my job and sometimes you get discouraged, but the key is to always have a good attitude.”
Other winners included Mary Baird for the Educator Award, Leighanne Bolinger for the Pay-It-Forward Award, Beverly Scaife for the Spirit Award, and Stephanie Didion for the Nursing Leadership Award.
These five women, just like every nurse nominated for an award at the Nursing Awards Ceremony Thursday afternoon, have shown their dedication and their love for this profession. It takes a certain kind of person to be in a profession as taxing as nursing, so it’s important to thank each and every nurse who continues to excel in compassion and care.
For more information about Porter Regional Hospital, go to http://www.porterhealth.com/porter-health-care-system/default.aspx.