Now more than ever: A week to honor VA nurses

National Nurses Week 2020


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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.

Birmingham

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.”

Oklahoma

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.

Trervor Pham

Charleston

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.

Buffalo

Learn about five great nurses from the VA Western New York Healthcare System in Buffalo who traveled to New York City to help Veterans.

Nashville

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.

Tuskegee, Alabama  

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

Lebanon, Pennsylvania

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

Baltimore

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.

Author

Hans Petersen

Hans Petersen is senior writer-editor for Digital Media, VHA Office of Communications. An Air Force Veteran, Hans also served two years in the Peace Corps and worked for 20 years in broadcasting before joining VA.

Comments

  1. Charles Steele    

    Dr. Deepika Sastry is the very best at what she does at the Cleveland Wade Park V A Hospital

    1. Rex Zickefoose    

      I have been using VAMC Clarksburg for all of my medical needs for many years. The nurses employed at this facility are the backbone of all services rendered. I have favorites of course but will not name them for fear of insulting others. Thank you nurses for putting up with this cantankerous old vet. Booyaw and Bravo Zulu.

  2. phillip hall    

    Nures are some of the greatest examples of the human potential to give and with open hearts. They often bring me to tears when they are honored in any way. They deserve the best love we can show them. Respect to you all.

  3. Kay A. Clark    

    The American Cancer Society would like to thank all the nurses who work so hard to help our Veterans through their cancer journeys. Thank you Va San Diego nurses for your compassion, your medical skills and your collaboration with the American Cancer Society to serve your patients. Kay Clark, Health System Mgr., San Diego, CA

  4. Cheryl Adams    

    I would like to thank all the Nurses at the VA’s that have put their lives on the line daily caring for the veteran’s as well as civilian personnel during COVID-19.
    Thank you so much for what your doing and continue to do.

  5. three    

    Thank you nurses for all

  6. Sharon M. Salmon Bachman    

    Thank you to all the nurses who will be looking out for my brother who will be arriving from the Sticht rehab center in Winston Salem.He will be arriving today about 1:30. He is a unique brother. I am sure he will improve by the outstanding staff at your facility.
    Thank You . I commend you all during these trying times we are in.

  7. Michael Mendoza    

    Thank you to all our VA nurses and a special shout-out to our Texas and Washington State VA nurses. So grateful for all you do. You have served me personally and I think you are all wonderful. Stay strong and safe and I look forward to seeing you on the other side of this craziness.

    US Army Retired SGM

  8. Peedee Wyre    

    I am in the NorCal/Bay Area VA system, sending respect, love and gratitude to ‘my angels,’ the Nurses who are always “with you,” caring, warm and good-humored. Fabulous people, great system, could not ask for better healthcare. PERIOD!!

  9. Lorinda Neary    

    Syracuse/Rome NY – VA Service area

    My family members & I want to salute & send our love and gratitude to the VA home visit & home care staff in memory of our father. All the visiting nurses & doctors & PA’s that assisted him allowing him to live at home.

    You are truly blessed, in our prayers, respected and loved.

    Thank You in my fathers memory

  10. Alvin Nickerson    

    Thank you nurses for all that you do for my veterans and I.

  11. Steve Fleck    

    Salute to you all, Salute

  12. Jennifer Dalton    

    I am so grateful for our nurses here in Northeast Ohio at all the VA clinics. They do there job along with being compassionate and making us veterans feel loved.

  13. Thomas Zamudio    

    In spite of the danger our nurses endure to sacrifice their health, I stand in awe as these brave individuals protect us and do so with no expectation of reward. I am humbled and proud to have the honor to witness what so few continue to protect so many from an unseen enemy. To all the healthcare professionals that are our beacon of hope in this time of national uncertainty, I kneel before you to convey my sincere gratitude. Rest assured, there is not a single veteran that would refuse to share their foxhole with you. God Bless You. Semper Fi!

  14. BRANCE MCCUNE    

    Thank you to the nurses at the Martinsburg, WV VA Medical Center. Great care and great service!

  15. GREG MOWAT    

    A Shout out to the incredible Primary Care folks at the VA Healthcare Center at American Lake in WA State! I have been fortunate to be in their care for the last 13 years! My primary Care Team is the Yellow Team and they make my day when ever I visit! The entire facility is super Veteran friendly – Every individual on the campus is dedicated to keeping us going! Keep On Keeping ON!

  16. Dave Spurlock    

    My apologies to the nurses at the LaJolla VA Medical Center who took fabulous care of me during a surgical procedure I received in March, right as everything started getting restricted for the pandemic.

    The first Nurse I encountered was Mary Anne in the surgery preparation area. Not only were her professional activities outstanding but she also gauged any nervousness I had and calmed me and interjected humor to keep me in a happy mood (before the Anesthesia shots started).

    Then in the OR, Nicole C (unfortunately the anesthesia was starting to work so I don’t remember if she was the Dr or the Nurse) continued with the extraordinary professionalism I was experiencing as well as furthering my happy mood.

    Then in the PACU, the amazing Team of Anne L, Jamie L, John F, and Deanna T. were beyond fantastic. In addition to taking care of me post-surgery, they were making everything ready for the onslaught of COVID-19 cases. They never once failed to ensure that I was pain free and steadily recovering enough to go home and continue convalescing.

    I consider myself to be incredibly fortunate to have been taken care of by such a spectacular Team of Nurses. My Father who was a Navy Flight Surgeon, used to say the Nurses were the ones who really took care of patients — the Doctors were in their “Practice”. God Bless all Nurses who have also ‘written a check to serve, guaranteed with their lives’!!!! They are the Heroines and Heroes doing God’s work taking care of everyone!!!!!!!

  17. Robert W.Hergert    

    Thanx to all the VA Nurses and Nurses everywhere for all you do!!! So much Appreciated!!! Hugs to you all!!!

  18. Gary Melvin Bickel    

    Thank You to the great nurses at the Boise VA Hospital in Idaho and the great nurses at the Boise Community Care enter in Boise, ID for all the great care during and after my back surgery. Without you I might not have lived. Thank you, Gary Bickel

  19. Anthony Simpson    

    The nurses at the Primary Care Team E-5 at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis are the best. I’ve been assisted by RN Florinda and LPN Mary Martinez when I go there for my appointments with Dr. Henderson all of them are really great as are the rest of the staff. You couldn’t get better care anywhere

  20. Cleveland Natola    

    Really want to give a huge shout out to Honor two nurses that have been taking care of me for a few years now at the Community Based Outpatient Clinic, CBOC, in Mount Vernon, Washington. Latrina Yarbrough, ARNP has been my primary care doctor for a few years now and I couldn’t be more pleased with her in this capacity, Elizabeth Noble, RN, BSN, CDE has also been exceptional as part of my primary care team at this clinic. They are truly compassionate and caring individuals that are easy to communicate with and very thorough in my care. So much so after each visit I’ve had, I personally thank them for what they do for veterans and for being there for me! This Mount Vernon, Washington CBOC has an outstanding reputation and has become inundated with veterans because of this reputation. These two nurses are exceptional!! Thank you to all of the great nurses that continue to work for the VA.

  21. Chriss Dickman    

    Thanks to the NPAs , RNs and LPNs at VA Outpatient Clinic in Cape Girardeau and Poplar Bluff, MO. Hardly any mention of the Heartland in the military blogs or magazines. Good work! Bravo Zulu

    The math problem is not addition. From a teacher, look at the sign!

  22. WALTER LUCOVITZ    

    I THANK ALL OF THE NURSES FOR THE GREAT WORK THEY DO FOR ALL OF OUR GREAT VETERANS ,BUT THE BEST NURSES COME FROM THE VA IN PISCATAWAY N.J.
    THANK YOU, ALL BE SAFE,GOD BLESS YOU ALL.
    PROUD OLD ARMY VET,WALT.

  23. Michael Houck    

    Give them all a Silver Star. ❤️❤️❤️

  24. Barry Garbrick    

    Thank you nurses for all you do for the veterans you serve!

  25. David Copley    

    Thanks to the great nurses at Hershel Woody Williams VA hospital

  26. Gary Wyman    

    Thanks to all the crazy nurses in the infusion clinic at the togus me a center in Chelsea Maine. They are right crazy bunch that do a great job every 8 weeks giving me infusions to help with the psoriasis I brought back from Vietnam. And thank you so much for what you do for me and the rest of the VA patients you serve. Thank you so much. Christine and the rest of the nurses. And
    Dr. Talmage.

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