The 2018, regional Nightingale Luminary and Star Nursing awards ceremony on March 15 brought more than 120 people to the Henry Strater Theatre to celebrate the area nurses who displayed excellence in their practices over the last year.
The Nightingale Awards event, founded in 1985, honors nurses who best exemplify the philosophy and practice of 19th-century nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale. Awards recognize registered nurses who were nominated through solicitation by the Area Health Education Centers system, and finalists – the luminaries – who are selected from each region have a chance to receive state awards, determined by the State Selection Committee.
Four Southwest Colorado Nightingale Luminary nominees received regional recognition during the March 15 event at the Strater, and will attend the statewide ceremony May 12 in Denver.
Winners for clinical practice included: Nancy Cole, of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, for advocacy; and Michelle Hayo, of Mercy Regional Medical Center, for leadership.Winners for administration, education, research or nontraditional practice included: Mary Shry, of Mercy Regional Medical Center, for advocacy; and Linda Young, of Mercy Regional Medical Center, for leadership.The Star Awards, founded in 2014, were also announced during the event, and honored a “rising star” novice nurse and “shining star” expert nurse. Kim Ackles, of Pueblo Community College, received the Shining Star Award and Paul Geslao, of Mercy Regional Medical Center, received the Rising Star Award.
Emergency Medical Technion and nursing student at Southwest Colorado Community College, Jeff Sederlin, was awarded a nursing scholarship and gave a speech to audience members.
“I’m so honored to be here. If you look around this room, we are the people that this community calls upon when they hurt, when they are sick and when they need some place to go,” Sederlin said. “Our patients may never remember our names, but they will remember how we made them feel.”
The event at the Strater is an annual fundraiser for Southwest Colorado Area Health Education Center, which provides support and coordinates programs for communities, health professionals and students in Archuleta, Dolores, Hinsdale, La Plata, Montezuma, Ouray, San Juan and San Miguel counties.
Ticket sales and a silent art auction raised more than $1,000 for the organization this year.
From those who made speeches during the event, Dr. Jean Watson, a nursing pioneer and founder of the Watson Caring Institute, inspired a crowd of health care professionals with some motivating words.
“When Dr. Watson shared how nurses positively impact the community and radiate caring and healing around the world, it felt as though we were in a room full of greatness and that’s exactly the message we hope will inspire more young people to get into the healthcare professions,” said Kathleen McInnis, executive director at SWCAHEC.
Sponsors included Pueblo Community College; Mercy Regional Medical Center; Southwest Women’s Health Associates; Rocky Mountain Health Plans; District 7 Nurses Association; Watson Caring Institute; Colorado Nurses Foundation; SWCAHEC; Lynne Murison; Mary Jo Seiter; and an anonymous donor.
For more information, visit www.swcahec.org/programs/nightingale-and-luminary.