During National Nurses Week, we recognize the significant contributions that nurses make to keep America healthy. National Nurses Week is held annually May 6 through 12. May 12 is Florence Nightingale’s birthday.
VA’s nurses are a dynamic, diverse group of respected, compassionate professionals. VA is the national leader in creating an organizational culture where excellence in nursing is highly valued and considered essential for delivering quality health care to those who served America.
Click here to learn the: Reasons nurses love to work at VA
VHA employs over 100,000 nurses to provide care to Veterans. Nursing includes certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and nursing assistants (NAs).
Here are just a few of those compassionate professionals.
Ashley Harrell is pictured above receiving a DAISY Award. Birmingham VA physicians previously presented the RN with the first ever Excellence in Nursing Award.
Harrell was a volunteer at VA before attending Jacksonville State University and the University of Alabama-Birmingham to study psychology and nursing.
“As a little girl, I grew up coming to this hospital with my grandfather, Paw Paw. I built this love and compassion for nurses because of the nurses I saw in this hospital. This is not just a job. We are changing lives.
“This isn’t about me. I don’t need a reward. I have the best reward ever, and that is just being at the VA.”
Mary Ballard, home-based primary care (HBPC) RN and certified midwife, was selected as The American Legion’s 2019 VHA Healthcare Provider of the Year. The American Legion recognized Ballard for the amazing care she provides Oklahoma Veterans and their caregivers through HBPC. Mary takes great pride in serving America’s heroes. She is a Veteran as well.
For Trervor Pham, working for the Veterans Health Administration is more than a career. It is a way to give back to America’s Veterans. His parents are Vietnamese. Pham feels a special connection to Veterans and credits them for his success.
Learn about five great nurses from the VA Western New York Healthcare System in Buffalo who traveled to New York City to help Veterans.
Sandra Hendricks, an LPN at the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (TVHS), is passionate about providing care to women Veterans. She also is passionate about crafting wreaths for women Veterans and TVHS staff.
No matter the occasion, Hendricks always has a wreath displayed and creates a warm and welcoming environment.
As a young girl growing up in Auburn, Margaret Ewell had a passion for taking care of others. This passion set her on the path to become a nurse. At a very early age, she assisted in the care of her sick grandmother and wanted to do anything possible to save her. Since then, Ewell has received the DAISY Award, a national program to recognize the exceptional performances of nurses from around the country.
Michael Byrd and Beverly Miller
Beverly Miller saved a Veteran’s life on her way to work, using her skills as a nurse. Miller saved Michael Byrd, an Army Veteran, by performing CPR when he collapsed during a run last year.
Sandra Beam wanted to be a nurse since she was four years old. She can usually be found in the U.S. Maryland Health Care System’s Dermatology Service helping Veterans manage skin-related issues and cancers.
Beam wants Veterans to know their health and welfare is of utmost importance. Through the Telephone Care Line, nursing staff are available 24/7. They have excellent triage skills and are front line contacts for our Veterans.
“This group of nurses provides advice to keep our Veterans safe at home to care for themselves. They can direct Veterans to seek additional medical care if needed, or, if appropriate, can call emergency responders to perform a wellness check.”
VA salutes all our nurses this National Nurses Week.
Thank you to all the VA medical center public affairs officers who contributed to this story.